Anderson Anderson Architecture
Title: Camel Back Shot Gun Sponge Garden
Concept: The team gridded the site into one-unit-wide modules that alternate with narrow, full-height light courts so that filtered light and ventilation can reach all four sides of every unit. The module extends south across the levee as an “alluvial comb,” an armature that captures sediment from the river, allowing reestablishment of a natural river edge. Retail and institutional uses face Chartres Street at grade and wrap the block to the west, stepping up to a pedestrian bridge that spans the rail right of way.
Both the lower-level concrete structure and the steel-framed residential units would be prefabricated. Roofs and walls route rainwater to planted decks (evoking the gardened upper-level porches of the French Quarter) to absorb runoff. The louver-faced, structurally insulated panel system also filters rain and supports planting, eventually literally becoming a “green” wall. The extensive greenery and many open porches dissolve the structure’s bulk. Dumez appreciated the “porosity of the grain across the site. The narrow, deep spaces and the play in the overhanging, cantilevered parts are like those found in New Orleans types.” Added Naslund, “Light filters down from top to bottom,” which, Mabel Wilson agreed, makes it “more porous” and, said Mario Gooden, adds “variability and ambiguity.” J.S.R.
“Admirable movement of air and light.”—Cummings