AEDS | Ammar Eloueini Digit-all Studio

AEDS | Ammar Eloueini Digit-all Studio

New Orleans, LA



Date: July 2010
Competition organizer: Oceansafe and ReGen Group
Project type: Invited competition/Residential

It's often the case that the best architecture is architecture made with limitations. This project is required to respond to a variety of limitations, ranging from the larger demands of weather and topography down to the individual scale which is reflected in economical programming and efficient planning. In the case of our design for R‐House, we’ve focused the program down to the bare essentials of space, form and function. On a larger scale, the R‐House uses these three elements to respond to demands for sustainable, affordable housing, best use of materials, and meeting both the personal and practical needs of dwelling.

The R‐House project offers not just one solution, as variations on the proposed shifting section could be realized in dozens of ways. In each scenario, the design would have a unique footprint, from circulation and spatial character to program and square footage, but all of them would share a similar formal character and kit of parts. Although much thought and planning has gone into the composition of these parts, what we’re offering is a strategy, not just a single composition. That strategy covers the wide span of design issues, ranging from standardization of detailing to the proportion and arrangement of spaces.

Our proposal shows that within the limitations of a small site and program, even the slightest shifts in a conventional building type can open up great possibilities in light, ventilation, spatial experience, and building imagery. R‐House begins with the extrusion of a typical pitched‐roof section and slices across this section to mark the project’s programmatic elements. This slicing in turn enables a shifting —both in scale and lateral position— of the programmatic sections. Using the two‐bedroom unit as an example, you get a more dynamic spatial experience than the conventional enfilade, “row of rooms” arrangement which is common in shotgun houses, by creating a more subtle, diverse circulation pattern and opening up the interior to a variety of views and access to public and private outdoor spaces.

The slicing strategy in turn opens up many alternatives in the sequence of rooms, where an overall sense of openness enhances their individual character by the juxtaposition and scale of adjacent rooms. Including circulation areas in the sequence of sliced sections means that they become part of the character of the rooms they connect, rather than lost space. One of the fundamental beliefs of modern design was that “Form follows Function,” but what contemporary practice is showing us more and more is that the reverse is also true —and maybe even more relevant to the future of design and construction— that function follows form. In fact, the most radical advances in construction technology in the past decade resulted from the demands of radically new forms, as opposed to finding cheaper ways to replicate outdated detailing. In order to push forward the productivity and practicality of a new era of building materials, we have to be open to innovative, radical approaches to form‐making.


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Status: Competition Entry
Location: New Orleans, LA, US