Guardians Institute

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana.
Type: Commission.
Size: 350 M2 / 3,200 SF.
Program: Education, Exhibition and Community Center.
Budget: $250.000.
Client: Hearreast Harrison.
Collaborators: Architecture For Humanity.
Status: Ongoing.

When Hearreast Harrison returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, she began the slow process of rebuilding her house and helping to piece together a neighbourhood that had been mostly deserted. Seeing that the neighbourhood had very little to offer returning residents, she decided to utilize her plot of land to create a community center, a place for the neighbourhood to come together and share their experiences. When built, the institute will function as a safe haven for children in the community and a place where reading, cultural traditions and physical fitness is supported, encouraged and celebrated.

The Guardians Institute is designed to mimic the functionality of the traditional “Shotgun House” while integrating new architectural features based on post-Katrina knowledge. The building engages the public through a series of exhibition, education and performance spaces, all tightly interwoven with the possibility of expanding each area as needed. All the interior exhibition and educational  elements are hung from the ceiling on a flexible curtain system. This allows all elements to be raised above the ground safe from any flooding. Should the water rise to the same levels as under Hurricane Katrina, the curtain system allows for the elements to be easily rolled upstairs for safe keeping.