3 dwellings designed with resiliency in mind

The CORE House, Shotgun Remix, and Resilient House were named the winners of the Designing Recovery competition, which aims to create housing with an ideal combination of disaster mitigation features and livability.

October 07, 2013 |

The American Institute of Architects, in partnership with Make It Right, St. Bernard Project, Architecture for Humanity and Dow Building Solutions recently concluded “Designing Recovery,” an ideas competition created to aid in the rebuilding of sustainable and resilient communities. The competition was designed to help survivors of recent natural disasters in three distinct settings: New York City, New Orleans, and Joplin, Mo.

“When examining all of the designs submitted we continually asked ourselves if this would be a house we would want to live in regardless of safety considerations,” said Jury Chair, Michael Willis, FAIA, NOMA.  “The three designs that we chose all had the ideal combination of addressing disaster mitigation and actual livability.  The designs all had the sort of flexibility to be both a resilient safe haven during a natural disaster, but also serve as a dwelling that catered to family conditions and would blend into appropriate neighborhood styles without projecting a ‘bunker-like’ feeling.”

Although there could be just three winning designs, all of the entries that are feasible to construct will go into production in the corresponding communities and include:


1. Shotgun Remix

Designed by GOATstudio LLP, the Shotgun [remix] proposal for New Orleans offers a fresh, contemporary take on a familiar local typology.  Modern touches like sliding polycarbonate privacy panels, vaulted interior spaces, clean, modern detailing, an open floor plan, and a steel roof that turns and wraps the southern exterior wall for additional sun protection update the historical shotgun form to better accommodate modern lifestyles and increased environmental challenges.  

To help manage the threat from rising sea levels and increasing yearly rainfall, the finish floor will be elevated 7 feet above the ground plane and filter storm runoff through a perimeter rain garden, alleviating on-site ponding and reducing the load on strained city infrastructure. By employing similar construction methodologies and materials as those that have been thoroughly vetted by Make It Right since 2007, the design will be able to achieve LEED Platinum status and provide 6.25 kWh of solar energy to the owners.



2. Resilient House

Designed by Sustainable.TO Architecture + Building, the Resilient House for New York has a layout that orients living spaces towards the sun, and minimizes interior partitions.  Structurally insulated panels allow for a tightly sealed and highly insulated building enclosure. Combined with a highly efficient ventilation system and upgraded windows, these design elements project to a 30% reduction in annual energy consumption. The house will be built above the floodplain with a flood-proof foundation to ensure natural disasters will not affect the structure. By using traditional construction methods and equipment, this dwelling can be built for less than $50,000  in material cost.



3. CORE House

Designed by Q4 Architects, CORE House in Joplin, MO is designed to address the local vernacular by combining two single-cell homes: a centrally located "Safe House" acts as the hearth and divides a "Perimeter House." The Safe House contains all of the functions of ‘home’ that are necessary for a family to recover quickly from disaster and live for an extended period of time until rebuilding is possible.

The walls of the Safe House are constructed of filled and anchored carbon-neutral concrete masonry units. Rainwater is collected, stored, and filtered for reuse. Locally sourced building materials were consciously considered so that CORE will have little impact on the progression of climate change, reduce the effects of debris in a natural disaster, and elevate local economies.


About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well-being.  Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

About Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. By building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design, Architecture for Humanity taps a network of more than 75,000 professionals willing to lend time and expertise to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services. They bring design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed. For more information, please visit architectureforhumanity.org

St. Bernard Project

St. Bernard Project (SBP) is an award-winning rebuilding, nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that disaster-impacted citizens and communities recover in a prompt, efficient and predictable manner. Through its Disaster Recovery Lab, SBP works to share lessons learned, prevent common barriers to recovery, and help communities utilize SBP’s standardized, repeatable and proven-effective model. Since its founding in 2006, SBP has rebuilt homes for over 600 families in greater New Orleans, Louisiana and Joplin, Missouri with the help of 50,000 volunteers. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, SBP is working on the ground in Rockaway and Staten Island, New York to help displaced families rebuild their homes and rebuild their lives. For more information, visit stbernardproject.org and sandy.stbernardproject.org.

Make It Right

Founded by Brad Pitt, Make It Right builds healthy, Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes, buildings and communities for people in need. Make It Right is currently working in New Orleans, LA, Newark, NJ, Kansas City, MO and the Fort Peck Reservation, MT. Learn more at www.makeitright.org.

Dow Building Solutions

Dow Building Solutions has a 60+ year legacy of providing energy saving solutions to the construction industry, which began with the launch of STYROFOAM™ Brand Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation. A business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Building Solutions offers insulation, air sealing and weatherization solutions to improve the performance of homes and buildings and reduce energy costs while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Visit www.dowbuildingsolutions.com.

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