After 4 years in design, 3 different locations, 2 permits and a zoning variance from the city of New Orleans, the construction on the J-House started on January 24, 2011.

J-House is a speculative residence in the heart of historic New Orleans. It uses a historically standard New Orleans housing lot (30 x 150 feet). The design responds to the context by elevating the main living area 10 feet above ground. Most of New Orleans is several feet below sea level and prone to frequent flooding.

The design uses twisted steel structure to create a bridge-like structure that allows a minimal footprint and can resist 180 mph hurricane winds. The outside is cladded with a rain-screen of charred cedar planks that helps prevent heat transmission during the summer heat waves and to prevent damage from the region’s notorious termites. While unusual in formal terms in comparison with its surrounding, the J-House’s wood cladding brings the project back into the domestic realm.

The J-House responds to local climate conditions in the way it is situated and in the materials used for its construction. It is also a type of study of place, constraints and possibilities. The J‐House was inspired by the shot‐gun house typology: a housing stock that typifies a New Orleans home. It is also part of a lineage of speculative houses designed since the early 20th century to redefine preconceived notions and ideas of domesticity.

The raised living area is an open space of approximately 2,200 sq. ft. with the master bedroom at one side, and the living area and kitchen at the other side. They are separated by a large box-like space where the bathrooms and walk-in closets act as a separation, like an oversized piece of furniture. This effect is reinforced by the use of the charred wood borrowed from the exterior to contrast with the immaculate white interior. A long skylight cuts through the center of the space to bring in natural light while maintaining the occupants’ privacy.