In Progress: The J‐House / AEDS


The J‐House uses a historically standard 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 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.

Courtesy of AEDS

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.

Courtesy of AEDS

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.

structural axon
structural model
Courtesy of AEDS
Courtesy of AEDS
Courtesy of AEDS
Courtesy of AEDS
Cite: Henry, Christopher. "In Progress: The J‐House / AEDS" 26 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • æon

    I would leave such design for a museum or something similar.

    • n n

      well I would certainly not mind living in a museum.

    • Jack

      Sometimes architects should just admit that a project is an exercise in formal gymnastics – especially when its too complex and expensive to really be a feasible housing alternative for the average homeowner.

  • jonchas


    • Pierre

      Why not?

  • buncle

    J-House: “Hey sustainability – f**k you”.

  • splitp

    news flash!…Architect builds own house…no plans for children!…will submit to Record Houses 2013!…but seriously…what a pair of foundations…and I would have made those big second floor end windows into boat launchers.

  • up_today_arch

    many thanks for these pictures…
    nice building, new wave indeed…
    I just awaiting final pictures about the cladding, insulation, roof and so…
    congr to architects!

  • John H

    Done before.
    UN Studio, Villa NM …

    • John H 2

      Jellyfish house – Iwamoto-Scott

  • Barry Donahue

    Cakk (5040569-3748

  • Pingback: GroundUp Blog » inspiration

  • Jeff

    My dog did that exact design on the front lawn the other day, twisted in the middle and everything! So many similarities.

  • Michael Halberstadt

    Totally cool looking building in concept. But there’s something really wrong about the artist rendering. If you view the project from satellite view you can see that the long sides of the lot are surrounded by other houses. The rendering shows the property to be an end lot and showing the side view of the building. But in fact the lot is in the middle of the street and the only thing one can see from the street is the very front of the building. Only the neighbors would be able to see a view the sides as shown in the rendering and only from an awkward distance on their second floor back windows. Cool building but goes to show why most of us hate those unrealistic renderings that do little to show how viewers will actually see a new building.