The Gingerbread Heritage Fund
This architectural heritage of Haitian gingerbreads is now seriously threatened by the natural aging of the wood, the weather, termites and neglect. The high cost of restoration and repairs prevents many current residents from maintaining the houses in appropriate shape. In addition to historical and cultural values, gingerbread houses show remarkable resilience to natural disasters such as earthquakes and moderate hurricanes. Only 5% of gingerbread houses were structurally damaged during the 2010 earthquake compared to 40% of all other infrastructures. This architectural style can be a model for seismic-resistant construction in the future.
There are over 350+ gingerbread structures remaining in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti and many of them fall into disrepair. The gingerbread style has been nominated to the 2010 World Monuments Watch. However, many of them may not survive if they are not repaired and restored to their original condition. FOKAL Haiti has successfully piloted restoration of two houses and has developed a methodology for rescuing the houses from disrepair. A group of artisans have been trained in new and traditional restoration techniques. The restoration process is well documented and can be applied to other structures. The project is ready to take it to a larger scale.
The Gingerbread Heritage Fund is a blended finance vehicle that will fund the rehabilitation of select historic gingerbread houses in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As such, it will test the economic viability of restoring historic structures and turning them into national cultural assets, contributing to the improvements of the communities in the economically declining neighborhoods and creating positive impacts for civic and economic life. The vehicles will demonstrate that a social investment is a feasible path to salvage certain classes of assets that have historical value, and that restoring historical buildings creates larger spillover effects for economic and social well-being of urban communities and its citizens.
Contact: Piotr Korynski