From HELP’s November 2009 newsletter: In October 2009, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) announced that the HELP-nominated Gingerbread houses of Port-au-Prince earned a spot on the group’s 2010 Watch List, a biennial compilation of the world’s most endangered architectural sites. The Financial Times featured an article on the houses, including an interview with HELP founder and Executive Director Conor Bohan about HELP’s role in the preservation effort.
The Gingerbread houses combine Caribbean and French influences to create a uniquely Haitian architecture featuring timber frames with brick infill, tall louvered windows and doors, and expansive verandas. Their most striking feature is the intricately patterned woodwork. The style was prominent from around 1880-1925. Unfortunately, there has been no concerted preservation movement, and these houses show the resulting decay and neglect.
A place on the WMF Watch Lust will bring exposure and support to these crumbling landmarks, and aid HELP’s campaign to purchase and renovate one of these historic houses to create the HELP Center of the future.