img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Community masterplan works with nature to revive New Orleans

Header Image

Words:
Annabelle Tan

Wetland Frontier envisages a restored wetland to empower the New Orleans community to benefit from nature rather than battling with it

Annabelle Tan
Wetland Frontier
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Tutors: Johan Hybschmann; Matthew Springett


Annabelle Tan’s masterplan to revive a vulnerable, flood-prone area of New Orleans fosters new resilience for both the physical landscape and the communities that live there. 

Straddling a 6ft levee, the Wetland Frontier project aims to facilitate regeneration of the Lower Ninth Ward community and the adjacent Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle by restoring a lost wetland. In doing so, Tan explores an alternative approach to the traditional narrative of the city’s struggle for survival against nature. Rather than continue as victims of natural disaster and climate change, communities will be empowered to harness the economic, recreational, education and ecological benefits of the new wetland, working with nature instead of against it. 

‘The ambition of the project is to lift both community and wetland simultaneously and bilaterally,’ she says. ‘The community and new stakeholders would restore the wetlands, and the growing ecosystem would give value back to the community in a self-perpetuating cycle that assured the long-term sustainable livelihood of both people and nature.’

The ambition of the project is to lift both community and wetland simultaneously and bilaterally

The project’s programme encompasses facilities to oversee the wetland restoration, a public park, and a housing development that fosters new life to rejuvenate the existing community. The architecture is designed with resilience to embrace the dynamic changes in nature and enable residents to ‘ride out’ the storm through the help of ‘floating’ service cores. It is arranged as a main megastructure supplemented with temporary structures built using river silt to suit the shifting needs of the restoration work. 

Initially this would include volunteer hostels, co-living units and single apartments. The megastructure forms the basis for the family housing that then, over time, extends north over the levee towards the wetlands and south towards the existing community.

This wetland-based regeneration would boost the neighbourhood’s perceived value.

‘Hopefully, this jump-starts a wider regeneration of the neighbourhood which has not received the proper attention from the government or corporations since Hurricane Katrina [in 2005],’ she says.


COMMENDATIONS FOR PRESIDENT’S MEDALS BRONZE

Imogen Dhesi
Riad Al Nisa
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Tutor: Barry Wark
Samuel Kerin
The Coventry Ring Road Press
University of Nottingham
Tutors: Negin Ghorbani; Farida Makki; Anna Mill
Paula Pocol
Somers Town Community for Women
University of Greenwich
Tutors: Benni Allan; Kieran Hawkins
Serjeant Award for excellence in drawing in Part 1
Thomas Faulkner
Common Fields: An Architecture in Response to the Digital Interface,
Architectural Association
Tutors: Ryan Dillon; David Greene

See the other winners of President’s Medals and President’s Awards

Latest

Self cleaning surface coating developed to combat MRSA spread in hospitals undergoes tests for coronavirus resistance

Self cleaning door coating kills bacteria in seconds

Civic purpose makes Cáceres’ Museum of Contemporary Art by Emilio Tuñón an urban intervention

Art museum raises medieval town to a higher plane

Racism blights our profession. Gurmeet Sian’s personal account of life as an architect reveals delight and horror – and demands action

Why rooting out systemic racism is urgent

Roman Krznaric’s book The Good Ancestor advocates looking seriously long term to think about the legacy we will leave the planet

Roman Krznaric explains why we need to think really long term

Brick manufacturer Vandersanden UK's series of online seminars focuses on the humble clay block and how to harness its potential to create innovative and inspired buildings

Vandersanden UK webinar series considers the brick - and what architects can do with it