It appears that Frank Gehry, FAIA, is finding fertile ground in New Orleans.
In addition to designing a duplex for Brad Pitt’s “Make It Right” project, Gehry has teamed with urban planner and artist, Robert Tannen, to create a modular shotgun house that they say will be affordable, sustainable, and compatible with the city’s historic housing types.
The duo’s concept, dubbed Mod Gun, is an expansion of a one-room, emergency-housing prototype that Tannen designed in 2008 as an alternative to the typical FEMA trailer. (The structure was displayed at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art but was never reproduced.)
The new one- and two-bedroom models—1,000 and 1,200 square feet, respectively— are designed to fit the long, narrow lots common throughout New Orleans. But the Mod Guns will not share the room-into-room-into-room floor plan of the shotgun house. Instead, a screened-in porch will separate the living/dining/kitchen space from the bedroom-and-bathroom suites.
Aspects of the Gehry-Tannen design are still being refined, but a signature feature is 14-by-14-foot modular rooms that can be put together to form larger rooms. Many elements like doors, windows, and interior doorways will be consistent in size. “This is part of the economy of the house,” says Tannen. “This will also offer the most flexibility for the buyer to configure rooms to suit their needs.”
While the final number depends on demand, the developer, New Orleans-based Fortuné Development, expects to build between five and 10 houses in the next two years. The first dwellings will be infill housing on empty lots in Treme, a historic neighborhood bordering the French Quarter that was settled in the early 1800s by free people of color.
New Orleans architect Ray Manning, AIA, of Manning Architects, will be responsible for the final design services.