Resilient and Efficient

To avoid future flooding, the three-story building stands 3 feet above the street and shelters the entryway with a porte cochere, which also allows vehicle access to the front door and the absence of stairs into the lobby. To attain LEED Platinum certification, the building features solar roof panels (concealed from street view); wind-resistant windows; and old brick pavers similar to those used in the French Quarter. To date, 64 units have been leased, with full occupancy expected by fall.

Sizable Challenge

When the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) tapped Columbia Residential to transform a 52-acre site in the Bayou District, the two entities and the Bayou District Foundation faced more than an architectural challenge. The mixed-income community, funded by public and private sources, had to stabilize an area devastated by crime and Hurricane Katrina. Called Columbia Parc at the Bayou District, the community comprises four phases, the last of which focuses on seniors.

Lively Intimacy

To fashion a welcoming ambience, the architects minimized the scale of public spaces and designed the rooms in a cheerful palette of whites and lively colors. Designers Chris Holt and Cynthia Kaufman selected different hues for the corridors to help residents remember their location. They also used wrought-iron furnishings to enhance the New Orleans theme and moldings and wainscoting found in single-family houses. The courtyard is planted with local favorites such as roses and camellias.

Senior Sensibility

For phase four, completed this year, the partners built Heritage at Columbia Parc: 120 affordable senior apartments funded by HANO and FEMA. A utility line bisected the three-acre site, so Columbia and architect JHP created two structures—a three-story, U-shaped building with 111 one- and two-bedroom units, and a row of nine, one-bedroom attached cottages. A touch of the New Orleans aesthetic is achieved with grillwork, balconies, columns, and brick work.

Affordable Haven

The Heritage complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, incorporating limited stairs, roll-in showers, grab bars, alarms for the hearing- or vision-impaired, and wide hallways and doorways for wheelchairs, among other details. Residents can garden in a cooperative patch and enjoy a theater and pool on site. The Heritage is affordable, too: Rents are pegged to 30 percent of residents’ income through rent subsidies that HANO provides.