When New Story Charity traveled to Haiti to assist in the building effort after the 2010 earthquake, its volunteers planned to re-build the island’s housing with local input. It’s how each of the projects the non-profit undertakes approaches a building effort.
For the Haitian survivors, post-disaster life had meant living in tents for five years. For New Story Charity, it meant a new opportunity to innovate in building design.
In construction, building faster often means cutting corners, but not for New Story Charity. The non-profit, founded in 2014, innovate new construction techniques that speed up the building process and keep costs low. Its homes cost between $4,000 to $7,000 to build and include local input on the design. They also employ local construction companies and workers to build their homes.
In Haiti, it used concrete and cement to quickly construct masonry homes so families could move out of tents and into a safe structure. In Latin America, the non-profit and its partner, Fuse Project, have used 3-D printing to construct homes in about 24 hours.
The builders then add a roof and windows using traditional methods as well as details like air conditioning installation. The new method allows whole communities to quickly rebuild.
The test project will construct 200 homes to provide a new start for the community of farmers and artisans. The printing method also lets the non-profit address the need for a community center.
Printing a home lets the non-profit factor in climate, family growth, and the need to easily add-on to housing. Their current design lets them add a second story later when the family experiences growth.
In each building project, members of the local community assist with the design efforts and contribute feedback and input on what the community desires in its homes. In some areas, the designs account for annual heavy rains. In other areas, the designs integrate the locals’ love of outdoor cooking.
Providing safe, efficiently constructed housing does more than provide four walls and a roof. It puts the community back to work by employing its construction workers and engineers. Teaching these individuals, the new building techniques increases their skillset and adds to their knowledge. It makes the community more self-sufficient. Its local workforce can now undertake home updates and new construction using the most up-to-date methods.
While New Story Charity quietly goes about its work, entrepreneurial organizations began noticing. Fast Company recognized the non-profit in 2017 and 2019 as one of the top non-profits, then in 2020 for its architecture contributions.