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

Experts favour electric heat pumps as more practical way to green energy supply

Electrical heat pumps best route to green energy

Career academic with particular expertise in housing, who volunteered for the Archdiocese of Liverpool and chaired the precursor of ARB

John Nelson Tarn, 1934-2020, career academic with expertise in housing

When Knight Architects was asked to replace a river crossing lost in Storm Desmond, winning local support was top of the design brief

Knight Architects consulted locals to bridge difficult decisions

How will the role of architects evolve given construction's battered reputation post-Grenfell? The RIBAJ Firestopping User Guide in association with Hilti considers the issues

Firestopping user guide

Studio Polpo isn’t your everyday practice. It’s there to spot ways it can improve its community, working with a network of architects, clients, and often opportunist ideas

Sheffield practice is there to spot ways to improve the local lot