The J‐House uses a historically standard New Orleans housing lot: 30×150 feet. The original site for the J‐House is located in a designated flood zone as is common with many housing sites throughout the Southern Louisiana region. Recent FEMA studies have concluded that a vast range of New Orleans housing sites are currently 9‐feet under sea level. The original site for the J‐House is no different.
Architect: AEDS | Ammar Eloueini Digit-all Studio
Location: 918 Upperline Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Project Team: Ammar Eloueini, Jana Masset, David Merlin, Dan Kautz, Jamie Lookabaugh, Surawat Hanthawichai
Architect of Record: Wisznia A+D
Sturctural Engineer: Buro Happold New York, Craft Engineering Studio New York
Photographs: Courtesy of AEDS
Avoiding current political and sociological debates inherent with building houses to ‘new’ codes adopted after the historic storms of Katrina and Rita, as well as within areas clearly destined to be under water, the J‐House was approached as an opportunity to study the possibilities, as opposed to restrictions, for building high above ground in a restricted lot size. As a housing lot located in a flood zone, the design was bound by elevation requirements; the resulting design is 10’ off of the ground.
The basic design is two 10x20x80 feet tubes. Each tube is rotated 90 degrees from one end to the other. The resulting combination of the two tubes allows for structural support with a minimum footprint for the foundations. The twisting and combination of tubes generates a space under the house that allows for views through the site. On the roof level the twisting generates a diagonal skylight.
While this house was a type of study of place, constraints and possibilities, the housing surrounds in which it lies were not ignored. The J‐House was inspired by the shot‐gun house typology; a housing stock that typifies a New Orleans home. The proposed house is made out of steel structure that is prefabricated and assembled on site. The exterior skin is a rainscreen of charred cedar planks.
In 2009, this project received the AIA (American Institute of Architects) New Orleans Chapter: Project Design Excellence Award (Award of Merit). Check out the project’s progress on AEDS’s blog.