St. Joseph Rebuild Center

1802 Tulane Ave.

New Orleans, Louisiana

2007
With an outreach objective to serve 250 to 300 people per day, this facility is a social service and recovery center for the transient population of New Orleans that burgeoned in the aftermath of the destruction resulting from hurricane Katrina and the levee failures.
Don Thompson, Director, St. Joseph’s Church Immaculate Conception Rectory, client
7,570 sf
$736,000 / $97 per sf
Collaborators:

Wayne Troyer
Kenyon Zimmerman

2009 Rudy Bruner Award, Silver Medal

2009 NCARB Prize

2008 AIA Gulf States Region Honor Award

2008 AIA Louisiana Member’s Choice Award

2008 AIA Michigan Honor Award

2008 AIA New Orleans Honor Award

Photography:

Neil Alexander

Jeffrey Johnston

Project Type: Institutional

Organized around a landscaped courtyard and enveloped by a decorative screen of translucent polycarbonate, fiber cement board, and vegetation, this extensive facility is comprised of six pre-manufactured trailers connected by a raised deck. Canopies give respite from the elements in open seating areas, and serve to reinforce pedestrian circulation patterns. The translucent screen was developed along the street edge as a unique facade for identification, and to limit the negative visual impact of the trailers while providing a sense of security—and dignity—for those visiting the facility. Framed cutouts in the screen offer opportunities for visual connection with the outside, and at night security lighting doubles as backlighting, transforming the street facade into a soft, glowing beacon that can be seen from the adjacent elevated interstate. Corrugated polycarbonate roofing creates a fifth illuminated “facade”, contrasting with broad expanses of metal roof and filtering out UV rays during the day. Additional design features include three eight-by-ten-foot pivoting entrance gates, soothing water elements, landscaped pavement cutouts, custom benches incorporating site lighting, a large water-themed mural, pergolas, and green walls of vines.

Care was taken in the design to make use of mechanically-fastened, uncut sizes of nominal lumber, screen, and roofing material to minimize waste and to maximize possibilities for reuse after the “center” is deconstructed following its ideally temporary occupancy of the site.

The project was done in conjunction with Detroit Collaborative Design Center.