Unconventional Homes Are Filling The Gaps In New Orleans’ Suburbs

Architecture firm OJT is taking a new approach on housing development in Louisiana. Their compact home designs on ‘overlooked’ suburbian properties aim to make it more affordable to buy an entry-level house in New Orleans.

For decades, the “American Dream” consisted of buying a big house with a lawn in the suburbs. Today, young Americans are struggling to afford a basic entry-level home. Reacting to this economic shift, OJT is developing a “starter home programme” affordable entry-level homes, that fit in between the already existing standard suburban properties.

Starter Home No 1, 3106 St Thomas, in New Orleans’ Irish Channel neighbourhood.

In a country where paying off college debt is a burden for young professionals, purchasing what is seen as a standard home to live in is becoming almost impossible. According to OJT, the home, as seen above, costs $250,000 (approx. 215000 €), not including build out and the land itself. However, they expect to bring down the price of the “Starter Homes” in the future.

Starter Home No 3, 4514 S Saratoga, located in the Freret neighbourhood of New Orleans.

The lot above is considered “substandard” with a total one third of square footage compared to typical New Orleans sites. The architects created a third storey to maximize space. By embracing the preconditions and zoning requirements, OJT architects tailor each design specifically to the lot and thereby are increasing opportunities for citizens of New Orleans to own their first home.

Even more downsizing is currently happening in many European cities as they are getting densely populated and expensive. This house on a parking lot in Helsinki is the perfect example of how spacial restrictions can lead to creative results.