Make it Right Housing: New Orleans Home, MIR Houses

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Make it Right Housing Development – design by Trahan Architects

Jun 3, 2008

Make it Right (MIR) Affordable Housing

Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, Louisiana
2008-
Design: Trahan Architects

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Project Description

The New Orleans shotgun typology is the resultant of lot constraints, environmental conditions and efficient planning. Our approach to the project was to identify these main characteristics and re-present them in a more contemporary vision. As the design focuses on “safe” materials and low utility consumption, the roof becomes the main architectural expression that subtly gestures at the form of the pitched roofs common to the area of the lower 9th Ward. While reinforcing a familiar experience of place, the roof integrates entry, circulation and gathering spaces into degrees of out-sidedness that are typical of New Orleans typologies and their emphasis on the “porch”. As the roof began to evolve from practical form and function, it transitioned into a high performance component that acts as a shading device, rain screen, water collector, solar energy collector and solar water heater.

The general approach is defined by two elements

The first is the Low Cost Passive Box. Here the design is driven by meeting the demands of a limited budget and use of specialized materials / assemblies meeting the greater project’s sustainability goals. For this, our approach remains open to the constructive support of the collective knowledge base and expertise assembled to assist MIR teams with materials, assemblies and cost. Furthermore, we aim for the design to remain open to the opportunities presented by the momentum and economies that are generated through the mobilization of a large scale construction site aimed at completing 100 – 150 houses in a short time period. Our aim here is to provide a performance-oriented specification and illustrate various ways in which it might be fulfilled.

Here the C2C philosophy is about substituting conventional assemblies / systems with parallel systems with the highest C2C “rating” available. Approached as a performance specification, the concern is not so much about specifying the exact products of the structure, wall assembly etc. Because of the tight cost and product specification constraints we believe the collective knowledge of the project organizing team as well as the decisions which will lead to efficient construction mobilization will lead to a palette of generic systems, such as framing, insulation, appliances, etc. which will be utilized among many if not all projects. The guts of the wall section assembly may become typical for many projects and we welcome adapting these systems to the design. Skin idea becomes a mix of salvage and catalog of materials.

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The second is called the QUASI METABOLIC SCREEN. A unique identity derived from the gable roof, passive and active sustainability systems are integrated in a single design feature. Because of the hybrid of expressive form, low tech and high tech, integrated technical systems requiring quality control, we believe this element is best panelized and produced in a controlled manufacturing environment to exacting specifications. The client can become involved in the design process by helping to customize the performance and appearance of the screen.

Here the C2C philosophy is about active as well as passive systems. It is a living element. Both technical and biological metabolism cycles are explored. Technical through products and materials that can be returned to use as raw products; and through an interpretation of Biological metabolism which is not about the return of product to biological nutrient cycles but the active participation in the creation of energy, collection of water and climate control through an exchange system built loosely on the analogy of a fish gill.

Multiple sustainable energy systems are seamlessly integrated into the building envelope:

To reduce heat gain, rolling louvers will vary in fabrication and installation to respond to different solar orientations.

Photovoltaic panels are adhered to the louvers to generate alternative energy.
To maximize gain and energy output, these louvers may be rotated to specific solar angles.

Embedded in the louvers, evacuated tubes will use solar thermal heating to supply hot water.

The louvers are designed to capture rainwater for graywater uses.

Make it Right New Orleans Housing

Make it Right Housing – Building Information

Project: Make it Right (MIR)
Program: Affordable housing
Design Architect: Trey Trahan
Project Team: Mark Hash, Ed Gaskin, Sean David, Michael McCune
Floor Area: 1,000 – 1,200 sqft
Location: Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Completion: To Be Announced
Requirements: 2 – 3 bedrooms
integrate sustainable building systems
integrate Cradle to Cradle philosophy
minimum 5’.0” slab elevation above grade
retain a connection with typology identity
exploit economies of typology planning

Make it Right Housing Building – images / information from Trahan Architects Jun 2008

Make it Right Housing design : Trahan Architects

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