A Vision for a New Cathedral in Port-au-Prince

Exhibition at School of Architecture features top designs for rebuilding the Notre Dame de l’Assomption Cathedral.

Coral Gables (January 29, 2013) — Beautifully illustrated in exacting detail, the renderings are a vision of what could one day rise from the ruins of a still quake-battered Haiti. Recently, about 75 academics, students, and community members gathered at the University of Miami’s School of Architecture to get a close-up view of those renderings—artistic portrayals that represent the winning designs in a competition that sought ideas for rebuilding the cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The massive earthquake that struck the country in 2010 destroyed the original Notre Dame de l’Assomption Cathedral.

More than 130 designs were submitted for the competition, which was organized by the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince and Faith and Form magazine. Judging took place last December at the School of Architecture.

Some 30 of the top designs are now on display through March 8 at UM’s Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center Irvin Korach Gallery, where a small group of people gathered January 17 for the exhibition’s opening.

During the event, School of Architecture Dean Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, who was the lead juror in the competition, welcomed attendees, who included guests from the Haitian community in Miami. Haitian businessman Yves Savain, another juror, spoke about the importance of rebuilding the cathedral as a symbol of hope for the Haitian people.

Noted Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, who served as a juror as well, said that she was touched by many of the entries and how they had built a connection between architecture and narrative. She said many of the architects and designers who submitted entries wrote about the fact that the new cathedral had to honor all those who died but also be a structure that “looked forward.”

Puerto Rican architect Segundo Cardona, who won first place in the competition for his design of a circular building that wraps around a central altar, attended the exhibition opening. Second-place winner Diego Ramos from Tacubaya, Mexico, third-place winner Steve Fritt of Miami, and fourth-place winner Christopher Glapinski of Coral Gables also were recognized at the event.

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Puerto Rican architect Segundo Cardona (in black coat) describes his winning design—a circular building that wraps around a central altar—for a group of people at the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center Irvin Korach Gallery, where the drawings are on display until March 8.

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