NOkat _ No Katrina, No Catastrophe, No Category

Design Invitational, "CounterMEASURES"

exhibition: 2006 Venice Biennale Italian Pavilion “Cities Architecture and Society”

Scholarship and design-based investigations situated at the architectural scale often slip toward the space of the room or the expanse of the site.  Indeed some of the most often studied projects of recent years operate within this larger field of space making.  This topic seeks to provide a home for work beyond the precise scale of the building

When commissioned to speculate a design proposal for the rebuilding of New Orleans, LA we created NOkat. NOkat is a search for relevant building techniques in the ‘terra viscus’. NOkat is an architectural project, an urban strategy, a water management system, an ecological re-intervention, and a cultural catalyst sited in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans, Louisiana that could be deployed across the watersheds of the Gulf Coast. It is a true investigation in an expanded field as it studies an entire habitation system and its relationship to a changing ecosystem.

  • If we can re-conceive the infrastructure to work with the natural systems
  • Then we can establish more relevant habitations.
  • If the infrastructure, habitation, and urban systems are combined
  • Then all can share resources, inform each other, and adapt in unison to change…daily, seasonally, at extreme conditions.
  • If Saffir-Simpson hurricane categories are based on potential loss of property and flooding
  • Then no property loss or flood damage means no category.
  • If we allow for the natural relationship between river and wetlands
  • Then the river’s silt will rebuild the wetlands.
  • If we are responding culturally to water or its absence”
  • Then “water management is a frictionless key that unlocks archives of data about the built environment of other cultures like other elements of the built environment however it can also rise above the purely utilitarian into the range of art.
  • If we can establish awareness (knowledge) of the terra viscus condition as the given
  • Then we can propagate sustainably (cultural, economical, and ecological.)
  • The scale of action we’re talking about is not unprecedented,… But it took a sense of national purpose. Not federal purpose. That’s the key thing here. That’s why people should care about what happens here. It’s not because you have to love Cajun food or you love pulling some oil company’s fat out of the fire. It’s because, quite frankly, the country has a lot at stake here.” 2   Mark Davis
  • If you are going to live in it, Then you got to live with it.
  • If it's not If, it's When.