New Orleans Architecture: Houses that are Hurricane-Proof
After the tragedy of New Orleans, and the failure of much of the architecture, houses in that area are now being designed to be hurricane proof. Traditional architecture in New Orleans reflected the heritage of the city, and was well-known for its combination of architecture, houses from creole to grand mansions were all built during New Orlean's history. This architecture was not designed to withstand a hurricane like Katrina, and so modern designers have to consider ways to protect New Orleans' buildings from floor and hurricane damage.
Basic Improvements in Architecture Houses Design
While building houses that are completely hurricane proof will be an expensive and long-term project, there are some ideas that can be easily fitted to the construction of current houses, or cheaply applied to new builds. The first is to use shading devices which protect the building, such as overhanging roofs and balconies, walls which are permeable for gardens and patios, allowing strong winds to pass through rather than push against a wall, and landscaping which is designed to protect houses from the worst effects of a hurricane.
The Maynes House
The Maynes house was designed after Hurricane Katrina to protect houses from flooding and water damage: The Maynes house is essentially designed to simply float above floor waters; in the area below the living space, water resistant materials only are used. It is also designed to resist winds of up to 130mph, with a cross-flow window system that allows breeze to flow right through the house. The house was built using a computer program, and designed to be a raised home, but it has an open floor-plan, with a number of windows and balconies. In modern architecture, houses such as the Maynes house may become more popular in designing residences that are protected against flooding.
One way of ensuring that New Orleans recovers as a city from the events of the flooding is to rebuild the communities that previously existed in Katrina. In New Orleans' architecture, houses were often built together in communities, such as the French Quarter, or the large Mansions of St Charles: in order to preserve these communities, it would be necessary to build a number of houses consistent with the tradition of walkability. One answer to this problem of New Orleans lies in the architecture: houses can be raised up using both two-story housing, and raising the level on which the houses were built.
Raised housing could solve the problem of flood-proofing New Orleans: communities near coasts have a tradition of building stilt houses, where the homes are raised above the level of the water on stilts and platforms. Building houses like this in New Orleans would partially protect these houses from flooding. Another option for raising houses is actually to build up the ground level beneath the houses using a structural fill process. A similar method such as this was used in the Seattle area, although they used nearby hills to cover their floodplain, earth could certainly be bought in to cover the most vulnerable areas of New Orleans.