In April this year six houses have been finished as part of the Make It Right Program in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, a district which has been almost completely distroyed by hurricane Katrina in autumn 2005. Another nine houses are still under construction. The architects of Graft designed two of the fifteen houses – prefabricated units which reveived the LEED platinum certification. Sustainable construction is one of the most important parameters of the initiative.
As most of the projects Graft´s designs also merge traditional and modern architecture without losing the typical handwriting of the Berlin and L.A. based architects. The fast and dynamic shapes of the ‚Shotgun House’ for example builds a contrast to the rather tradtional wooden façade and the typical southern front porch.
The second design, which Graft presented recently, is the ‚Camelback House’ a duplex house which is rather expressive than the first round houses.
Here an explanation of the architects:
After the success of the first round of designs for the Lower Ninth Ward a new group of architects was invited to design dwellings. GRAFT donated another design, this time with a larger building for up to two families. The Round 2 house deploys a similar formal strategy of blending as does GRAFT’s Round 1 shotgun house. A strong visual connection to the Round 1 house was maintained in order to bring consistency of character to the New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, which will continue to be populated by these types of dwellings. Here, we have additionally drawn inspiration from the camelback shotgun typology. Historically, camelbacks emerged as a way for residents to add a partial second story to a residence, whether simply to gain more space for a single-family home or to add a rental unit at the rear of a structure. In our design, we utilize the camelback strategy to stack a second efficiency unit above a first floor shotgun house.
Residents may enter the house from the side porch landing, leading them into a large open space, containing living, dining and kitchen functions. The lower unit has a flexible three bedroom layout that can be converted into a two bedroom and office layout if desired. The master suite at the rear of the house contains an en-suite bathroom that shares a common wet wall with the unit’s other bathroom and kitchen making a cost-efficient plumbing core.
An exterior stair carries the inhabitants of the efficiency unit up to a rooftop terrace entry deck. This secondary deck level may be utilized as a private deck for the upper dwelling. It provides a generous outdoor living space, views of the neighborhood, space for a small vegetable or herb garden, and easy access to the solar panel array for maintenance. The upper unit itself is designed to be a simple one bedroom dwelling with a living room and dining area facing the backyard. Here the efficiency kitchen shares a wall with the bath to form a cost-efficient plumbing core. The kitchen forms an ‘L’ at the perimeter of the living and dining area in order to create an open and inviting space.
Graft Design Team: Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Thomas Willemeit, Alejandra Lillo
Project Manager: Robert DeCosmo
Team: Marcus Friesl, Brian D. Nelson, Alyse Sedlock, Tim Sola, Atsushi Sugiuchi, Kris Conner, Seyavash Zohoori