Leve Kanpe! Saving the Iron Market
Friday 24 June 2011
The Iron Market - Marche en Fer - in Port-au-Prince has been iconic symbol of Haitian community aspiration for over 120 years.
Prefabricated in France by engineers Baudet Donon & Cie, the iron structure was designed to serve as a railway station in Cairo (which explains its Islamic minarets), but for unknown reasons it ended up in Haiti where it was constructed in 1891.
Having suffered extensive fire damage in 2008 which destroyed the north hall and central section, it was also severely damaged in the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Working with the municipality of Port-au-Prince, its advisors and private sponsors, John McAslan + Partners led a team of local artisans and engineers to resurrect the Iron Market within a year of the earthquake, succeeding in January 2011.
They preserved and repaired down to the tiniest detail, using original materials wherever possible. Now fully back in use, the Iron Market is a cornerstone of the cultural restoration underway in the city.
A book called 'Leve Kanpe!' which means 'stand up' in the sense of standing proud in Haitian Creole has been published this week to chart the revival of the city's market.
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