In a city where Creole cottages, Greek Revival mansions, and shotgun houses are the stars of residential architecture, contemporary homes are getting their time in the sun. This weekend marks the New Orleans Architecture Foundation’s (NOAF) inaugural Contemporary Home Tour, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19.
The tour winds through the Irish Channel and Lower Garden District, highlighting four contemporary homes as well as the changing social fabric of their environments.
“We talk about the history of the neighborhood at the same time that we talk about the contemporary homes,” said Chris Daemmrich, programming, content and communications coordinator at NOAF. “The homes on this tour all incorporate elements of historic New Orleans residential architecture, even if they aren’t built in the exact same style.”
Built with an eye toward sustainability and longevity in an increasingly flood-prone subtropical climate, many modern homes on the tour incorporate features a 19th-century New Orleanian would find familiar: cisterns, breeze-friendly transoms, and ample porches among them.
More old-school and modern touches await participants. Advance tickets are for sale here—below are a few peeks at what to expect.
This two-unit house has a backyard with a pool, and the marine motif is echoed by the living room’s aquarium. “This home features a lot of environmentally sustainable elements, like a passive heating-cooling system and some recycled materials,” Daemmrich said. “Those systems include a high-efficiency heat pump water heater system and an Energy Recovery Ventilator with a supplemental dehumidifier, allowing for the house to remain comfortable in mild months without having to use the central HVAC system.”
Contemporary homes can exist happily inside older buildings. This two-unit home is perched above Tchoup Industries clothing store and Disko Obscura music shop. “The backyard has cisterns and other ways of processing the water that falls on this property,” Daemmrich said.
This home stacks a surprisingly expansive amount of square footage on a 20x50-foot lot. You’ll find a living area downstairs, plus two bedrooms and a loft upstairs. “It takes up about as much room as a Creole cottage around the corner, but is much more spacious,” Daemmrich said.
Owned today by artist Dixon Stetler, this two-unit home was featured in Curbed New Orleans in 2016. “The corrugated metal siding references the warehouses in the neighborhood, which is actually a common motif in the neighborhood,” Daemmrich said.