DALAL MUSAED ALSAYER
architect | urban designer | researcher

Jazz: Bringing Life Back into New Orleans

With Hurricane Katrina wiping out a majority of New Orleans, we were given the task to design 100 homes, a community center and a convenient store. Building off of the Porch project, I decided to create a sense of community and find the underlying connective tissue of the society. Since its existence, New Orleans has been the center for music, especially due to its rich culture that was born from the European, Latin American, and Afro-American cultures. New Orleans’s uniqueness is a result of the eclectic mix of European instruments with African rhythms. Back in the late 19th Century, New Orleans was the only North American city to allow ‘slaves’ to gather in public and play their native music (largely in “Congo Square”, now “Armstrong Park”). This is largely due to the French Creole ‘slave’ owners when compared to their Anglo-American neighbors. The creation of Jazz music is mainly attributed to the fusion created by the Creole, Haitian and ‘free black’ population along with trained musicians. 

Studying and using Jazz as the main element of development, the neighborhood should all be coherent and act as one connected unit; but at the same time be individualists. Certain rules would be established to articulate a connected neighborhood such as a continuous row of trees, a certain amount of glazing per building, and insisting on a porch. By doing that, one can feel that the neighborhood is all related and that there is a sense of continuation and extension. The introduction of the porch, as seen in project 1, creates a network between the neighbors and thus creating a safe neighborhood and establishes psychological boundaries within the community; thus, the intentions and values gained from project 1 is translated and well-established in this project.