Verderber, Stephen; Glazer, Breeze; and Dionisio, Rodney. "LEED and the Design/Build Experience: A Shelter for Homeless Families Returning to Post-Katrina New Orleans," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 5, issue 1 (2011).
Hurricane Katrina displaced nearly one million citizens from the New Orleans metro region in 2005. Five years after the catastrophe, in August of 2010, more than 150,000 citizens remained scattered across the United States. Katrina was the largest Diaspora in the nation’s history. The number of homes damaged or destroyed by Katrina’s devastation numbered more than 125,000. An award-winning case study is presented of a unique partnership forged between academia, a local social service agency, professional architectural and engineering firms, and a national humanitarian aid organization whose mission is to provide affordable housing for homeless persons in transition. This collaboration resulted in a sustainable design/build project that originated in a research-based university design studio. The facility is a 38-bed family shelter for homeless mothers and their children seeking to rebuild their lives in post-Katrina New Orleans. The site for this 4,400 facility did not flood when the city’s federally built levee system failed in 2005. This case study is presented from its inception, to programming and design, construction, occupancy, and the post-occupancy assessment of the completed building. This facility is the first LEED certified (Silver) building in New Orleans. Project limitations, lessons learned, and recommendations for future initiatives of this type are discussed, particularly in the context of any inner urban community coping with the aftermath of an urban disaster.