New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward represents a rather new
phenomenon in American urbanism; physical tabula rasa paired with a
metaphysical fabric of emotion, history, and tragedy that is no less
significant than the physical emptiness.
That emptiness has boldly been broken by the Make It Right
foundation. Regardless of one’s opinion
of their planning or design practices, the context that MIR has created in the
9th Ward has its own richness that is redefining the neighborhood’s physical
presence while ensuring the continuity of the metaphysical through resident
outreach. It is this new context that
should now be respected and preserved.
Unwittingly, MIR has sparked and nurtured the NOLA[modern] movement,
defined by contemporary material, formal, and tectonic gestures with a
thoughtful respect for regional typologies and sensibilities. The hallmarks of this new[ish] residential
design model are large amounts of shaded outdoor living space, high volume
spaces for passive cooling, massing that minimizes solar heat gain, and programmatic
organization drawn from historical Crescent City housing types. This proposal is just the next entry in the rapidly
expanding catalogue of NOLA[modern].