The Shotgun House Project  Rebuild New Orleans

The Shotgun House Project
A Project of the Miletus Group, Inc.
Project Description

The Dilemma:
Housing is Needed

New Orleans has long been a unique urban and cosmopolitan city. In late August 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coasts leaving a huge swath of damage in its wake. Subsequent to Katrina and the following storm surges and levee breaches, the City of New Orleans was devastated by flooding and standing flood waters over large areas of the City. The damage was especially severe in the City’s urban residential neighborhoods. The wholesale damage to the city’s market rate and affordable housing stock is unprecedented in American history.

The extent of the damage and the painfully slow recovery are well documented in the press and governmental reports. The unanimous conclusion of these authors is that replacement housing, especially in the market rate and affordable housing sectors, is desperately needed before the many displaced New Orleans citizens can return to their hometown.

There is little doubt that new housing will be built. The big question is will enough housing arrive in time to serve the displaced residents and maintain the critical cultural mass that was pre-Katrina New Orleans.

This housing dilemma is exacerbated by the simultaneous effect of Katrina’s wake on the building industry in general. The traditional building industry is having difficulties with the effects on labor availability due to the massive loss of housing. Both skilled and general construction labor costs have risen and the lack of availability of an adequate work force has occurred at a time when it is needed most. As could be expected, similar problems have occurred with the cost and supply of construction materials.

The Challenge:
NOLA is Special

New Orleans has a long history of building with character and substance. This City’s multi-century multi-cultural history is written in its buildings. Even now, in its distressed state, New Orleans has more character and charm than many other cities dream of having. With so much building and re-building needed, it will be hard not to destroy this special urban fabric with an onslaught of expedience in proposals for “temporary” housing, shoddy permanent structures and even “new” ideas by outsiders as to what a new New Orleans should look like. Building new structures that are sensitive to New Orleans’ existing historic fabric is hard at any time, but it is especially difficult when the significant pressures of time and money come into play.

If New Orleans is to rebuild with the same spirit that existed prior to Katrina special solutions are needed. Without adequate housing, the rebuilding and repopulating of New Orleans will occur at a restricted pace, a pace that will be tied to new housing production. Housing is clearly one of the key restraints in New Orleans’ comeback.

The Opportunity:
Delivering Urban Housing

As an architecturally focused design-build company, the Miletus Group, Inc. believes it can make a contribution to the post-Katrina housing needs of New Orleans while also respecting the City’s history and culture. This contribution starts with our proposed Shotgun House Project™.

This project’s objective is to develop and offer for sale a range of housing products that solve many issues unique to New Orleans. It includes a multi-pronged solution that achieves high quality buildings that are reasonably priced, architecturally and historically sensitive and are available on a reduced time schedule. These buildings are designed to fit into New Orleans’ neighborhoods as if they had been there for 100 years or more, yet they include modern amenities and are fully compliant with current building codes and FEMA standards.

The Miletus Group, Inc. is starting its New Orleans presence with the Shotgun House type because it has been such a key part of New Orleans urban housing history. In the future we hope to use our methodology to include other housing types for New Orleans such as multi-family units in both affordable and market rate configurations.

The Solution:
Architecture, Urbanism and Systems Built Economics

The Miletus Group, Inc. was created to bring together architectural sensitivities and efficient building practices to yield cost effective solutions to architectural quality buildings.

Because we focus on quality and fit and not volume, we are uniquely positioned to offer an urban infill solution to the New Orleans housing dilemma. Many modern day builders require large volume to achieve market rate housing that typically achieves architectural mediocrity at best.

Using a combination of our own in-house professionals teaming with other design and building professionals and systems builders we maximize the cost effective nature of systems built production methods in delivering an architectural solution.

The basic premise that we operate under is that we design buildings that are of the highest architectural quality. We then manufacture a large percentage of the structure in an enclosed environment where speed and quality control can take place. Because we insist on the same or better quality work than a wholly site built structure, we can deliver architectural quality buildings on a fast track. This means that site-work and building work can now parallel track. This creates a significant time savings that reduces time to occupancy. It yields financial dividends in reduced carrying costs during construction. There are also significant savings in construction time and raw material costs. This is especially helpful to the New Orleans dilemma because most of our construction takes place in a facility located in the Midwest far from the localized economic pressures occurring in the post-Katrina Gulf Coast.

The Miletus Group, Inc. is a custom nitch builder. While we utilize some of the same production techniques used by high volume manufactured housing builders, our approach and objective in using these techniques is to produce high quality buildings not high volume output. This is how we can focus our efforts on scattered site infill housing such as that now needed by New Orleans.

Miletus Group, Inc. was created because an architecturally based cost-effective approach is always seen as advantageous. As we investigated the effects and problems left by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, however, it became clear that our approach would also be a good permanent long-term solution to the current and near term housing needs of New Orleans.

The House:

Shotgun House

The Shotgun House Project™ utilizes the traditional Louisiana Shotgun house type as a model for post-Katrina urban infill housing. This house type is suitable to most of New Orleans’ residential neighborhoods and has proven itself a flexible and durable structure that has provided a quality residential solution for many generations of New Orleans families. While this project is based on the original historic shotgun houses found throughout New Orleans, the Miletus Group, Inc. Shotgun is built to current building codes and FEMA standards and incorporates modern amenities and appliances. The house design recalls the past while providing comfortable modern housing for its occupants. It is a permanent solution and real house on a raised foundation.

While a variety of styles can be applied to this house type, the Craftsman version is showcased here as it is a style that will fit well in hard hit areas like Broadmoor, Gentilly, South Lakeview and other historic New Orleans neighborhoods. Other styles are in development and are available.

The exterior uses durable materials in traditional patterns such as asphalt shingle, metal roofs and various lapped pattern siding. High quality interior materials, coverings and appliances add to what makes this house a home.

Floor plans and elevations shown here offer a glimpse at the variety of possible configurations and styles of the traditional Shotgun house.

We believe that these three plans and their many variations will provide New Orleans with a model housing type that will help expedite the sensitive and appropriate rebuilding of New Orleans. We intend and hope that these homes will become a small part of the rapid and successful repopulation and cultural survival of this vibrant city.

Project Needs Description The Architecture Project Team Purchase Options Investment and
Development Opportunities

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