The English in Mind Institute is a non-profit English language school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The institute was started by a non-governmental organization following the 2010 earthquake that crippled the most populous regions of the Haitian nation.  It is a now a community-taught and community-governed organization whose intention is to help Haitian professionals better their employment prospects by way of the English language. Demand for admittance into EIM’s program continues to grow by leaps and bounds. As such, the school is in need of a sizable expansion to accommodate this demand. Currently, the school rents classrooms from a primary school and the conditions are not conducive to group learning.

Structures is excited to have been given the opportunity to assist local Austin architect Jen Weaver through the programmatic and construction design for EIM’s new language school. In February, associate principal Dante Angelini accompanied Ms. Weaver to Haiti to meet with EIM’s program directors, meet the students, and tour similar projects in Port-au-Prince. The school’s directors aim to have the building be as self-sustaining as possible. Passive cooling, efficient solar arrangement, and on-site waste disposal are critical elements to consider in the program criteria. Unlike buildings in Central Texas, the site is located in an area of high seismic and high hurricane risk. The school’s structural design must take both these risks into consideration to ensure maximum safety for its students. It is a challenge we’re very excited to tackle!


From L to R: Architect Jen Weaver, Building Systems Designer Lorin Muirhead, and Project Engineer Tom Quintero participate in a design charrette for the new EIM school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti