Haiti, known for its French colonial houses, has been harboring an unusual architectural treasure, Gingerbread houses. A fusion of styles, derived from homes built in the American South and modified for climate conditions in Haiti, they have resisted hurricanes and tremblers. In 2010, Haiti's earthquake turned buildings in Port-au-Prince into masses of rubble. But a 125-year old Gingerbread house in the capital survived the quake virtually unharmed. Spearheading a project to restore Gingerbread houses, and make them into retail establishments, is the partnership of the French Institute in Haiti and the Knowledge and Freedom Foundation (FOKAL).
The Bois-Verna neighborhood in Port-au-Prince holds 200 Gingerbread houses. They are called such due to ornate latticework, winding around the circumference of the structures' features. Gingerbread houses can endure Haiti's torrid weather. Tall ceilings and turrets direct stagnant hot air upwards, and windows surrounding the house produce a cooling breeze.
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