New Orleans Stoop House
‘Stoop as the social middle ground’
Michael Ford, as a member of a design team while employed at Hamilton Anderson Associates worked on the New Orleans Stoop House Design Competition.
The porch is a critical space for residents of New Orleans. Analogous to the traditional public forum, but built to a more intimate scale, the New Orleans ‘stoop’ functions on multiple scales. Residents use their stoop to obtain relief from the oppressive summer heat, socialize with neighbors and friends, and maintain security in the neighborhood.
As a symbol of public discourse, however, the stoop is becoming an endangered space. Newly constructed homes are being designed and constructed to a levels at least 7’ above existing street elevation. Similarly, designated existing homes are being lifted to the new flood plain datum. While these elevational shifts attempt to resolve future flood issues, the simple change in stoop height produces severe physical and social disconnections within the communities. By disrupting the existing neighborhood fabric, we could be eliminating the very sense of community that defines New Orleans’ iconic wards and neighborhoods.
Our design concept addresses this issue by conceptually breaking down the front portion of the home into a series of cascading public spaces, each with varying elevations above the existing street infrastructure. We propose to occupy the interstitial space (the stoop) between the sidewalk and the elevated porch, thereby creating the necessary physical space for community interaction. Our design strives to solve ‘elevated living’, once again opening up dialogue amongst community members, regardless of their height above sea level.
The design also directly opens traditionally public functions to the front of the home and the stoop, further reinforcing the connection to community.
This competition was completed as a part of a design team while at Hamilton Anderson Associates in Detroit, Michigan.