Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Studio Critic: Derek Hoeferlin
The Pontchartrain Park Promenade is a project that was part of the Gutter to Gulf Studio sequences taught by Derek Hoeferlin of Washington University in St. Louis and Jane Wolff and Elise Shelley from the University of Toronto. For the first half of the studio, extensive research was conducted in collaboration with landscape architecture students from the University of Toronto on the water management systems in the city of New Orleans. After traveling to New Orleans to present findings to professionals and members of the community, the Promenade design for the Pontchartrain Park neighborhood located in the northeast section of the city was conceived. The Promenade emerged as a way to manage water on a local level, with the possibility of being used as a pilot project that could be replicated throughout the entire city of New Orleans.
The concept and program of the Promenade draws precedence from a call for community garden work sites which was proposed by members of the city. In order to accomodate the programs required and based off of the initial soil, water, and site research conducted earlier in the studio, it was necessary to create a structure that could adapt to changing water levels and soil conditions on the site. The strategy for the project involved using a “cut and fill” technique on the site according to the program and constructing a boardwalk-style structure above the ground.
In the community garden work site pamphlet that was put together by the city of New Orleans, residents of Pontchartrain Park listed a cypress forest, community garden, children’s play area, amphitheater, natural wetlands, roadside produce stand, and small shops and businesses to be constructed on the Morrison Play Spot located in Pontchartrain Park. The diversity of the program was ideal for exploring multiple water management strategies, and as a result, the project had to be able to adapt to different programmatic uses. The project’s flexibility would allow it to be replicated throughout the city on many different sites and contexts.