Architectural Design, Level II: New Orleans Studio

Course Info

Course Number/Code: 4.144 (Spring 2006)
Course Title: Architectural Design, Level II: New Orleans Studio
Course Level: Graduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
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Department: Architecture
Course Instructor(s): Prof. Jan Wampler
Course Introduction:
Syllabus Course Description

"Coming Together"Housing in New Orleans

The project for the semester is to design a demonstration project for a site near the French Quarter in New Orleans. The objectives of the project are the following:

To design more intense housing, community, educational and commercial facilities in four to six story buildings.To explore the "space between" buildings as a way of designing and shaping objects.To design at three scales - dwelling, cluster and overall.To design dwellings where the owners may be able to help build and gain a skill for employment.To provide/design facilities that can help the residents to gain education and skills.

Since it is unclear how and where New Orleans will be rebuilt, the site chosen for this project is next to the French Quarter and was not flooded during the hurricane. In addition, we will look for clues from the dense part of the old city to design new housing without imitating the old. Special emphasis will be place on designing around "three dimensional courtyards" for both community use and natural ventilation. Presently the site is a parking area and the parking will be kept but might be below the building and the housing could be higher than the existing land in case the area is flooded in the future. Total height of our proposal is up to individual students.

We will be working with a NGO group called "The Urban Conservancy" that is trying to help rebuild New Orleans using local labor and providing jobs for residents as well as channeling the funds to New Orleans instead of large construction companies.

In the middle of February we will travel to New Orleans to visit the site, old city, meet with community groups, city agencies and understand the culture of the city. This trip will be paid for by both the department funds and other funds.

Other issues to be explored during the semester:

Methods of designing with "space between"Designing the "extraordinary and ordinary"Materials that fit with the conditionNew attitudes towards housing - "homing"The role of the architect beyond designer

At the end of the studio we will invite community, city and NGO groups to our final review and organized the designs into a small publication to send to New Orleans.

View the instructor's introductory statement about the studio (PDF).