by Krizia Medero and Hilyarit Santiago
With the passing of time, Puerto Rico has been affected by factors like a big economic crisis and an in-debt government. These circumstances have caused the paralyzing of construction projects that had been started. Aside from the economy, in Puerto Rico there is a lot of illegal construction which implies that proper construction processes have not been practiced, and therefore, these additions don’t comply with code. The hurricanes Irma and María brought to light issues that had been taken for granted in the past.
The Marvel Marchand architecture firm has been involved in the island’s uplifting after the disasters ever since these occurred. Their projects focus on achieving resiliency in the topics of energy, housing, and community. Taking into consideration that after the hurricanes, the main source of energy came from generators, an organization named Resilient Power Puerto Rico developed a sustainable alternative to replace these in the most affected communities.
The organization’s project involves the installation of solar panels in community centers which are strategically chosen around the island. Undergoing these installations is a long process since it not only involves building and installing the panels, but also educating the community about the equipment and their maintenance in the long term.
Marvel Marchand’s projects require an approximately $25,000 cost in which the bulk is incurred in the energy-storing batteries. These batteries can cost from $10,000 to $11,000 dollars. These installations are mainly financed by donations.
Aside from these installations, the firm has been involved in affordable housing projects, and in Puerto Rico this means that the final cost of the housing is often less than $120,000. The firm’s design involves having modular housing that can be arranged in many ways. These units can be placed together in order to achieve successful densification depending on where they are to be located. These houses include natural light, cross ventilation, and separation of the energy and water systems. This project proposal shows a sustainable and affordable solution for the islanders.