Tulane architecture professor Ammar Eloueini moved to New Orleans shortly before Hurricane Katrina damaged much of the city. Inspired to build something strong enough to withstand 180-mile-per-hour winds and heavy flooding, he designed a futuristic shotgun-style home that uses geometry to stay afloat.
On a typically narrow New Orleans lot (30 feet wide), Eloueini’s J House reworks the long, narrow “shotgun shack” typology by relying on two steel “tubes” interwoven to lift the home 10 feet above ground while providing support with a minimal footprint. The twisting structure culminates on top in a 50-foot-long snake-like skylight which provides plenty of natural light for an all-white interior.
After five years of construction (he built when he had the funds), Eloueini has nearly completed one of the most stunningly unique homes we have ever visited. From the outside, the massive, twisting, charred wood exterior appears fit for a superhero. Walk inside up the floating white staircase and into the elevated home and space appears to twist and move around you.
“I was always fascinated by designers who designed something as if you took away from them all the knowledge of what that object is supposed to look like. As if they have a totally fresh eye on a house”. Eloueini who was born in Beirut, raised in Paris and now works in both Europe and the US, believes that architecture should reflect our location. “It’s to respond to the way we live today, pushing the ideas of what is a house today in this climate, in the materials we have.”