The overlooked Architecture that’s hip again in New Orleans

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The overlooked Architecture that's hip again in New Orleans
The Lowerline house / © Bild Design
The overlooked Architecture that's hip again in New Orleans
The Lowerline house / © Bild Design

… Although distinctive, the shotgun home has never embodied New Orleanian glamour and history like the neoclassical plantation homes of the Garden District. They are simple, understated homes, with one room leading into another and the pint-sized dimensions of a subway car. “These were people who lived on the docks, and they were poor families,” Mac Ball, a local architect, says of those who lived in them. They were never more than cheap houses for people who couldn’t afford the craftsman bungalows, ranchburgers, and other styles that came in and out of style.

But 10 years after Katrina, a funny thing is happening in New Orleans: The shotgun is, improbably, popular. “They’re just popping up like daisies all over town,” Ball says.

Six years ago, Ball’s firm, Waggonner & Ball, updated the shotgun for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation. Eight have been built. The design came about after Ball surveyed the first round of Make It Right homes, many of them designed by star architects like Shigeru Ban and David Adjaye. None of them seemed quite right with their hyper-modern aesthetic. “After I saw the first ones going up, I thought, ‘Wow, we’ve missed an opportunity,’” Ball says. “All these new buildings don’t look like they fit New Orleans very well.” []

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