We are not all born with equal opportunity. While we must provide a safety net for the very poor, there must also be a larger aim to set the conditions for people to climb through the system.
Rather than provide a ready-made design, this proposal aims to foster a partnership to forward long-term design investments. Eco-shells are proposed as the first part of this equation. Envisaged as an extension of infrastructure, these would provide a robust framework from which occupants can carve in a desired inhabitation. This form of partnered ownership engages the occupant to build in it as their own while alleviating them from the pressure of building an external envelope to withstand the natural elements of living in New Orleans. As long-term investments, these eco-shells would be thoughtful in anchoring orientation and footprint so that they would remain as a constant – capable of undergoing numerous life-cycles of adaptive occupancy.
Eco-shells are intended to have both a maximum allowable life span and maximum allowable changeability. The footprints of the shells however are minimal and forgo the need for any further ground penetrations. Because of the initial investment involved, they are frontloaded with performance capacities. These include:
• A 3-sided buffer to mitigate the harshest angles of the sun while encouraging prevailing breezes.
• A green roof with rainwater filtration and storage.
• An occupiable wet buffer – tightly packed to minimize utility footprint. These should be stacked in such a way as to maximize rainwater and greywater usage by gravity.
• Double wall insulated unit masonry construction – with openings spaced to receive joist and beams at any level.