Puerto Rican Architects to Redesign Collapsed Cathedral in Port-au-Prince

It has been almost three years since a catastrophic earthquake devastated much of southern Haiti. Since then, recovery has been slow, the initial outpouring of media attention and humanitarian aid quickly¬†enervating¬†as natural disasters and political events piled on elsewhere. A recent architecture competition, however, has renewed a bit of hope in Port-au-Prince: The University of Miami School of Architecture launched a design competition to source proposals for rebuilding the city’s Notre Dame de l’Assomption Cathedral. A total of 134 schemes were submitted from around the world, and yesterday, a panel of six judges led by Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, dean of the UM School of Architecture, chose a proposal by architect Segundo Cardona and a team of six other from Puerto Rico.

According to The Miami Herald, Cardona has a notable portfolio, which includes the Coliseum of San Juan and the Puerto Rico Pavilion for the 1992 World Expo in Seville, Spain. His design for the Port-au-Prince cathedral will integrate the unscathed section of the original facade into “a new, circular building that wraps around a central altar, accented by local art, with retractable walls that open to the garden for special occasions.” Fundraising for the project has been taken on in part by the Catholic Church in the United States, though finances have yet to be secured.

“I think there was an idea of making a space of remembrance,” Plater-Zyberk told the Miami Herald. “There is not a sense of dwelling on the misfortune or the tragedy as much as remembering, and that out of such tragedy something new and good arises.”


- Kelly Chan