The Cooper Union
School of Architecture

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ARCH 141 – DESIGN IV Fall 2006
Professors Diane Lewis, Peter Schubert, Daniel Sherer, Mersiha Veledar, and Georg Windeck

Many schools and architects in practice have done projects for New Orleans which are predominantly housing for the post flood population. It is clear that many of the proposals from a wide range of sources remind of a repetition of the failed post war urban renewal housing and show no consciousness of the necessity to integrate civic program and inventive public space with a new vision of residential structure in order to anchor and enrich a new incarnation of the rich and varied culture personified in the city of New Orleans. The psyche and the poetry of the city and its inhabitants were studied in parallel with the following project development in the form of the great literature inspired by the city by such authors as Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner.

The first day of studio our team of five faculty presented a series of plans, maps, and satellite images in a discussion that revealed the relation between the founding city plan of New Orleans and architectural roots from the Roman plan to the Bastide. The later city plans, from the founding to the present, revealed morphologic transformations relating to geography, flood plains, commerce, war, and other urban forces. The satellite images located the city within a global image of the Mississippi Delta, the Gulf and the weather.

With this study as the initiative, each participant selected a city that had undergone a disaster, either natural or man-made, and precipitated a definitive architectural solution/ urban vision. The catastrophes include: FIRE, FLOOD, FAMINE, EARTHQUAKE, VOLCANIC ERUPTION, DAMNATIO MEMORIA, BOMBING, GENOCIDE, URBAN RENEWAL.

Model projects from cities as far ranging as the mythic Atlantis and the cultural evacuation of Matera were studied, and the architectural visions that inspired by the destruction of the city or its precincts. The result included such titles as:

1. A Church, and 9th Ward Islands: Damnatio Memoria in Mexico City,

2. A Journalism School, in the French Quarter: Fire of London, Sir John Soane’s Bank of England,

3. Basilica; Perimeter City at Lake Pontchartrain: War in Berlin, The Kulturforum

4. Linear Housing at the Drainage Canals; Flood in Kaifeng, China, The Revetment—Lin Qing,

5. A Labor union School, and habitation, at the New Orleans Islands, Metrairie Bayou; Damnatio Memoria in Dessau, The Bauhaus by Walter Gropius,

6. ’Urban blanket’ at Congo Square; Fire of Chicago, Federal Plaza by Mies Van der Rohe

7. Barricade/Highway: public programs at the central divide; Earthquake at Skopje, Kenzo Tange; master plan

8. Congregational space for women, “La Place des Femmes” At the Ursuline Convent on State Street.War in Beirut; Encased Programs at the demarcation line

9. 9th Ward Communal Spaces and Fats Domino's house; Damnatio Memoria in
St. Petersburg by the Russian Revolution; The diagram of the revolution as seen in Eisenstein’s Potemkin and Tatlin’s tower

10. A Prytaneum for the Lower garden District; Volcano in Catania, Loci—Aldo Rossi

11. A Public space for carnival at Tivoli Square; Damnatio Memoria in Beijing, the proposal for the restoration of Boundaries after the demoliton of the walls of the Forbidden City

12. A Church of Church Façades, a new Basilica; Colonialism in Chiapas;

13. ”LWSHWR (Low water shelter, high water refuge),” Chiado District; Earthquake in Lisbon; William Faulkner’s ‘The Old Man’

14. ’Two players of a summer's game’ City Park; Damnatio Memoria in Berlin: Kulturforum project; National Gallery—Berlin's Philharmonic, Mies Van der Rohe—Hans Scharoun

15. Hospital, 9th Ward; Plague in Rome. Isola Tiburtina

16. An ”Urban Renewal” for the 9th Ward; Detroit Urban renewal; Factory Buildings, Albert Kahn

17. “Quadrant City,” A Birthing Clinic at the Mouth of the industrial canal; Famine in Kilkenny Ireland and its effect on the architecture of Boston

18. Marketplace at the Crossing of Orleans Av. And I 10; War in Hiroshima; Post bombing master plan by Kenzo Tange

19. “Audubon Park Schools,” the New Site for Schools of New Orleans; Damnatio Memoria in Havana: The Master Plan of Havana as effected by the L’Ecole en Plein Air and the proposals of “Jose Luis Sert—Beaudouin, Lods”

20. Gatehouse Gateway; a demarcation of the span between limits of the city of New Orleans; Colonialism in Algiers; The Obus Plan, Le Corbusier

21. Biloxi Bridge; a bridge of houses; Damnatio Memoria in Rotterdam

22. A Half—A French Quarter; War in Phnom Phen; The planning of water and site conditions of Angkor Wat

23. House and civic pod—islands for New Orleans; Volcanic destruction of Atlantis; the diagrams of Atlantis in Plato and Dante’s inferno

24. Orphanage; “Children's Houses” anchored by the Statues in the Parks at the river edge of the French Quarter; Fire in Manila; squatters housing response; Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities

25. Nine poets’ houses for nine sites in New Orleans; Urban Renewal as suffered in Matera, Italy.

26. Sailboat repair housing at Lake Ponchartain; Earthquake in Messina; the Greek-Roman—19th century urban reorientation

27. Church at the former Superdome; Damnatio Memoria in the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem: the Jerusalem Synagogue by Louis Kahn

28. A Pavilion for the founding of the city at the River edge; Urban Renewal in the Favelas of Rio

29. “Solid Ground,” A Park at the Bayou just beyond the Ninth ward; Earthquake in Kyoto; the Ryonanji Rock Garden