camelback house by graft architects rendering courtesy graft architects

as part of the ‘make it right program’ in the lower 9th ward, new orleans, graft architects designed 2 houses that have since been completed. the houses use the cradle to cradle philosophy and received LEED platinum certification. they are prefabricated modular units, constructed off-site.

for their design they based their ideas using the camelback shotgun typology.  historically, camelbacks emerged as a way for residents to add a partial second story to a residence, whether simply to gain more space for a single-family home or to add a rental unit at the rear of a structure.  in their design, we utilize the camelback strategy to stack a second efficiency unit above a first floor shotgun house.

a critical programmatic goal within the design is to establish a strong connection between the private interior zone of the house and the shared public space of the street.  the primary challenge in achieving this goal lies in negotiating the 8’-0” first floor height that is required to make the houses safer from future flooding of the street level.  the broad and spacious deck located in the front yard mediates the relationship between public and private by raising the deck 5′ – 0′ above grade. 

graft architects: camelback houses for make it right foundation camelback house rendering courtesy graft architects

graft architects: camelback houses for make it right foundation camelback house rendering courtesy graft architects

residents may enter the house from the side porch landing, leading them into a large open space, containing living, dining and kitchen functions.  the lower unit has a flexible three bedroom layout that can be converted into a two bedroom and office layout if desired. the master suite at the rear of the house contains an en-suite bathroom that shares a common wet wall with the unit’s other bathroom and kitchen making a cost-efficient plumbing core.

an exterior stair carries the inhabitants of the efficiency unit up to a rooftop terrace entry deck. this secondary deck level may be utilized as a private deck for the upper dwelling.  it provides a generous outdoor living space, views of the neighborhood, space for a small vegetable or herb garden, and easy access to the solar panel array for maintenance.  the upper unit itself is designed to be a simple one bedroom dwelling with a living room and dining area facing the backyard. here the efficiency kitchen shares a wall with the bath to form a cost-efficient plumbing core.  the kitchen forms an ‘L’ at the perimeter of the living and dining area in order to create an open and inviting space.

graft architects: camelback houses for make it right foundation image courtesy graft architects

graft architects: camelback houses for make it right foundation camelback house image courtesy graft architects graft architects: camelback houses for make it right foundation

camelback house image courtesy graft architects

graft architects: camelback houses for make it right foundation camelback house -floor plan drawing courtesy graft architects

graft architects: camelback houses for make it right foundation camelback house -sections image courtesy graft architects