New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans Downtown District Redevelopment Plan
H3 Studio led a district-wide effort to generate better development guidelines in Lafayette Square, a nationally-recognized historic neighborhood in downtown New Orleans. Scenario modeling and digital animation were integral to demonstrating various concepts and development trajectories. An exhaustive site analysis resulted in a series of district maps and diagrams. A set of height recommendations and guidelines suggest a development approach in which contemporary buildings are weaved into a nationally-recognized historic context with greater awareness and sensitivity.
With the city-wide zoning team, the designers developed and evaluated character districts with form-based criteria for both the Lafayette Square Historic District and the Warehouse District. The coding framework for integrating the height and volumetric requirements of the Height Study was codified utilizing the transect zones established with the broader Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance. Very particular district recommendations and a standard set of code elements ensure that the vision was codified correctly.
The study area includes more than eighty-eight city blocks, which comprise the entirety of the Lafayette Square District and Warehouse Districts.
The Lafayette Square Historic District encompasses the area, which had served as the residential section of the city’s downtown in the 19th century. From the early years of the 19th century to the present, the Warehouse District has been the home of businesses directly related to the commerce of the port and its support facilities. These have included retail and wholesale stores, cotton and sugar presses and warehouses, iron foundries and light manufacturing.
The plan assesses a number of important things about the district including: Site history, site analysis, zoning, historical designations, block types, vacancy, building height, land use, materiality, building occupancy, building condition, circulation, parking.
The design team created various options for height recommendations. The seminal difference between the hybrid scheme and those proposed previously was a contextual height strategy within the coreof the study area. In this area, individual development opportunities were treated on a case-by-case basis, as opposed to a generic height limitation, and adjusted to contextual conditions with a slight increase for development feasibility.