Eskew+Dumez+Ripple's residential tower represents a break from the norm in New Orleans
Completed March 2010, this mixed-use residential project is designed to re-imagine the typically horizontal nature of New Orleans’ dense French Quarter blocks as a vertical condition. The program includes 250 residential apartments above a 500 car garage, and is organised to create a communal amenity level at the ninth floor – reinterpreting the courtyard housing typology for urban, high-rise living. At this raised 'courtyard' level, shuttle elevators transfer from garage to tower in order to promote opportunities for residents to cross paths with one another in a shared, communal space as opposed to the typically introverted collection of experiences found in most high-rise residential developments.
As a means to recreate the social interaction found in the courtyards of the city’s historic quarter, the design consolidates all tenant amenities at the ninth floor level in order to condense their programmatic force. Anchoring this level is the 'sky lobby', a dramatic glass box that cantilevers out from the façade and offers spectacular views of the downtown skyline. This double-height lounge serves as an extension of the tenant’s living spaces, with coffee bar and movie screening lounge set among informal groupings of furniture. The project was described by the jury for the 2011 AIA Housing Awards as: "A new paradigm for urban living."
Outside the sky lobby is an expansive pool deck, with tiered bleacher seating rising from the pool to a sunning platform. Tucked beneath these bleachers is the facility’s fitness center. A series of townhomes along the south side create an architectural edge and produce the effect of a ground level courtyard on the garage rooftop. Departing from the oppressive monotony of the commercial office towers surrounding it, the design of the exterior envelope incorporates a highly articulated metal panel and glass patterned façade. This approach affords a higher percentage of glazing at upper residential floors with minimal glazing provided at the garage to maintain a seamless – while animated – composition.