A few weeks after arriving on Pohnpei I heard about the Kosrae Village Resort (KVR), a unique tourist facility on Kosrae that was built according to traditional construction techniques. I have a great deal of interest in learning how ecotourism can be utilized as a means to reinvigorate indigenous architecture and so I was anxious to visit Kosrae to take a firsthand look at this process. I was further intrigued to discover that one of the local builders of KVR, after his experience of building the resort, had constructed his own home using similar construction methods. I hoped to meet and interview this Kosraean who had built a "new" traditional home for himself.
In early August I spent four days on Kosrae. Though transportation was difficult, I toured several parts of the island and was surprised to find a general lack of indigenous architecture. The vast majority of the houses and other buildings were constructed with concrete and no evidence of insulation, and then roofed with galvanized steel.
The designs of these newer buildings were extremely repetitive. It was clear that stock plans were used. Later, I learned that these had been influenced by the design criteria from the Farmers Home Administration (FHA). (FHA has changed its name and is now known as the Rural Economic and Community Development Office (RECD)). This organization is under the US Department of Agriculture and is responsible for financing most of the new residential construction in Micronesia.
Included in this report are examples of house plans I collected from the Pohnpei Area RECD Office (see Appendix E). Although these plans are from the island of Pohnpei, they are identical to many of the houses I saw on Kosrae. Post construction modifications of the houses on Kosrae were also similar to what I found on Pohnpei. Windows that had been designed to optimize air circulation were being sealed and air conditioners were then installed. The energy consumption of these modified buildings was extremely high.