The homeless day center, St. Joseph Rebuild Center, New Orleans, is the outcome of a unique collaboration among four independent non-profit service providers local to New Orleans. Their “post-Katrina” union establishes a more comprehensive approach to providing care and support to the homeless population of New Orleans. The resulting design offers an example of a more humane way of using “trailers” in disaster situations not specified by FEMA plans. Urban design and architecture should always celebrate the human person. This project shows that it can be done even if the site is a parking lot and the main interior spaces are trailers. The design creates the master plan as a “campus” of 6 trailers. An urban outdoor plaza used for gathering and events weaves around the trailers incorporating them as integral parts of the design. An urban street wall that contains the main entry is formed along Gravier Street. Though this model is not about a quick response into an area, it is the glue between the immediate short-term responses and the permanent long-term development. Though the trailers will begin to show wear, they can be exchanged without any major construction issues. The Design Center is currently in the process of developing the project in to a more permanent solution utilizing
the existing facility. The Center received the 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Design Excellence and the 2009 NCARB Prize.