buildingstudio’s botanical gardens in New Orleans Park, Louisiana, was a project inspired by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Post-Katrina, the City of New Orleans Botanical Garden commissioned a small demonstration pavilion to show firsthand how gray water reuse, rainwater harvesting and solar power might work for the average homeowner. Inside the pavilion is more information about how residents can reduce their carbon footprint while making a more pleasant living environment.

This project is a 12-ft. cube covered in aluminum screens (high-content, post-consumer) on three sides with an interior made of reclaimed lumber from homes demolished by the storm. The structure is framed in eco-friendly-treated lumber with the west wall screen made of bamboo grown on site at the Botanical Garden.

More about the environmental considerations:

Water is harvested from the pavilion roof, channeled through the structure’s interior via an open downspout that spills onto a catch basin in the floor. From there, the water cleansing demonstration relies on native water plants in a sandy-medium trough. Cleansed water is collected in the wetlands demonstration area which is a holding pool for a vertical garden wall.

This living wall, with plants native to the region, extends out from the pavilion’s interior. The vegetation grows in horizontal planting trays which were once conduit chases for off-shore oil rigs from the region. (in typical home use the living wall could easily become a vertical vegetable garden that relied on gray water). A photovoltaic array to harness the sun’s energy operates the pavilion’s electrical components.

The project was built by buildingstudio and graduates of the Tulane University School of Architecture City Center.

Process photos: