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Program Summary: A home that is elegant, contextual, efficient, demonstrates affordability, provides a high quality of life for its residents and community, and has minimal impact on the environment.

Building Type 2/2 Single Family

Program Statement: The devastation caused by Katrina calls for an opportunity and a demand for innovation. Our charge as socially conscience architects, designers and place makers is to design a home that is based on New Orleans rich cultural traditions, unique geographic location and strong architectural vernacular. A typology rich in New Orleans heritage is the “shotgun� single family home. Our design aspires to be green, affordable, and durable enough to weather future storms to come.

Location of Project: Broadmoor, New Orleans

The design criteria for the home include a small footprint not to exceed 880 square feet. Our material choices and systems are inspired by Cradle to Cradle TM thinking, an approach which seeks to maximize economic, ecological, and social value by following principles inspired by nature. The home must also demonstrate hurricane resistance, as well as incorporate principals of universal design and must meet the requirements of LEED for Homes Platinum certification. Finally, we embrace the opportunity to design a home that is aesthetically advanced within a given budget of $100,000 dollars. However, our ultimate responsibility is to respond to the needs of the people of New Orleans.

Building Area: (sf) 850

Type of Project: Competition Entry Estimated Cost: $96,000 Projected LEED Certification : Platinum


The house’s three tiered roof establishes an intimate scale and provides a pedestrian friendly facade. The main entry is configured right up to the sidewalk to take full advantage of the homes connectedness to the public life of the street. The homes entry celebrates the idea of the front porch, a component of the “shot gun” typology prevalent in New Orleans. This space acts as a comfortable bridge between our private lives and our public selves and by its very presence, conveys a sense of neighborliness as well as providing “eyes on the street,” aptly stated by Jane Jacobs. The home attempts to seamlessly integrate two means of accessibility one through a set of steps which also serves as a seating area and a ramp lined with a green screen providing beautiful local flora and fragrance.


This home is projected to obtain a LEED Home Platinum rating earning 100 points. It’s construction methodology is designed to minimize waste. Its concept is based on a 4’x4’ module. The foundation was inspired by the concept of longevity and strength to create a structure of stability and a feeling of security from Mother Nature’s destructiveness. The five monolithic concrete forms may be better understood as a structural bridge elevating the main living space above grade. Our intention is for these simple forms is to be reused over and over again to build a whole community of homes. This idea allows each home to vary, while recycling the forms keeps cost down, and speeds up productivity.


Our site, located on a typical narrow suburban plot located in the middle of a block, provides little area for landscaping and vegetation. This provided an opportunity for innovation and a chance to reevaluate the concept of green space. All paving on the site will be pervious to facilitate good storm water management. The metal roof is made from locally recycled materials. The material has a high SRI value contributing to a reduction in the “heat island effect� and minimizes energy loads. The trellis, cabinets, trim and baseboard will be made of composite recycled material.


The foundation design also reclaims the open space established by the structural bridge providing a mechanical room, a work station for gardening, public and private spaces with screens to help mitigate the potential for flooding. The open plan provides clear floor space and easy movement throughout the house. All fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms are accessible i.e. roll-in shower, grab bars and bathroom fixtures are ADA compliant. In society our elderly are one of our greatest assets. The provision of low sloped ramps, the use of natural low maintenance materials and finishes and the installation of lever handles and grab bars attempts to respond to this growing demographic.


The faรงade is designed to acknowledge the existing context. Attention to height, scale, and overall style was considered. Broadmoor, Louisiana is known for its shotgun style homes and in an attempt to respond to the surroundings, we created a hybrid version of the well recognized shotgun, with hints of the California bungalow style. We provided a wrap around porch that allows the user to enter through the front or side entrance. There is also effort to provide public and private spaces under the home, that can serve as an urban farming street vendor.


The exterior facade is comprised of fiber cement cladding sheets. Our color palette consists of earth tones, olive, bark, and dessert. Our home design utilizes energy efficient windows with a U-Factor <0.55 SHGC<0.33. The clearstories above the corridor are impact resistant while the rest of the windows and doors are to be installed with hurricane panels. These panels can be stored in the optional shed located in the rear of the house.


We designed a gutter system that will channel rainwater to the two trellis areas which will elegantly disperse the water down to a collection trough, which then will direct the water to an underground cistern. Our choice of geothermal heat and cooling is the most environmentally friendly way to cool and heat homes. The system has no carbon dioxide emissions or any other negative effects on the environment. SIP panels are used for the walls and roof. These panels provide a very tight envelope, which impacts energy savings. They are made with rapidly renewable materials and will contribute to 2/3's less jobsite waste, along with providing a very high R-value


Our limited budget allows us to use constraints to our advantage in terms of energy efficiency. By taking advantage of the summer breezes the design provides large openings allowing the building to passively capture the cool breezes and providing a clearstory located in the central corridor to vent the hot air thus creating a chimney effect.

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A unique aspect of our design considers a vertical garden privacy wall. The green/living wall and garden rails planted with indigenous plants provides much needed privacy while encouraging a pleasant experience for the participant as they move through the ramp.


Several sustainable features have been integrated and exposed in an effort to engage and educate the future occupants in a dual relationship between owner and structure and in principals of sustainability. The exposed gutter system provides a water feature showing how the water is taken from the roof to the cistern. The exposed OSB and concrete express the inherent beauty of natural materials. The foundation is exposed showing the structural integrity of the building. The cathedral ceiling expose the connection of the walls and roof. The Geothermal system has exposed monitoring devices for easy viewing by the occupant.


The home has been designed with modular construction in mind. Based on a 4’x4’ grid, all of the interior spaces can be built off site allowing for minimal site impact. Local materials as well as utilizing recycled materials in varying manners allowed for creativity as well as ingenuity. This can be seen in the case of the composite wood “air duct” rafters. These hollow rafters are retrofitted with a removable a/c sock which distributes cool/heat evenly throughout the home. Various openings were strategically places to promote cross ventilation and to maximize day lighting & views. The following exploded axonometric diagram provides an overview of these various elements.


The air ducts are integrated within the composite wood rafters in order to maintain the cathedral ceilings. All air filters used in the house are MERV 13 rated. All appliances are energy star rated. The lighting fixtures used throughout use low voltage florescent lighting and LED lights, which have reduced energy requirements.


This new home is designed to meet the energy star indoor air package. IAP addresses moisture control, pest management, HVAC systems, combustion-venting system, building materials, and radon control. The SIP panels in combination with the geothermal heating and cooling system which integrate well to satisfy many issues in these topics.

All paints, coatings, adhesives, carpets, etc. have no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are also inlaid metal grates at the entries to facilitate contaminant control.


With today’s rising cost of food and a need for locally grown produce we are providing a garden area located in the rear of the home. Not only can the owner grow his own fruit and vegetables, but he can be part of a food cooperative or “urban market” that contributes to the needs of the neighborhood while promoting good health and local commerce.


New Orleans Case Study House