Photo Blog: New Faubourg Lafitte in New Orleans
In 2012, Urban Design Associates (UDA) was awarded a Charter Award for their project The New Faubourg Lafitte in New Orleans. The project is a redevelopment and rehabilititaiton of a 27-acre superblock public housing that had been badly damaged by hurricane Katrina. CNU praised the collaboration with the community in the plan's creation, the social anchoring of the design, and its connections and consistency with the surrounding fabric.
Two years after this recognition, I visited the New Faubourg Lafitte project to see and appreciate the development firsthand. Though the neighborhood is still under construction, dozens of lots have already been beautifully developed.
The Lafitte project draws inspiration from the surrounding neighborhoods for a better harmony.
The designers had to work with federal requirements that new housing be raised four feet off the ground. UDA handled this by "hiding" the extra height behind plantings, front porches and facades.
Parking on the site is located inside blocks to avoid disrupting the street fabric.
Housing designs have been developed by different architects with varying stylistic and typological characteristics.
Sidewalks and paths allow an easy and pleasant access to each unit.
The houses have the same relationship to the sidewalk as in Tremé: porches up close to the sidewalk with small front gardens.
The next step of the project is the implementation of the Magic Street, a green feature that connects through the entire project. The name is in honor of the children who attended to the charrette and who were able to see something so hopeful in the midst of the despair of that time.
One of the only historic housing units still standing after Katrina has undergone a major rehabilitation.
The New Faubourg Lafitte fits the Canons of Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism.
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