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Academy of the Sacred Heart Arts & Athletics Center

Waggonner and ball logotype black

Academy of the Sacred Heart Arts & Athletics Center

Rainwater retention integrated with architectural form, structure, and threshold.

Giving physical expression to the school’s values of social and environmental awareness, the design of this arts and athletics complex includes the adaptive reuse of an existing building and the addition of a new building incorporating sustainable features integral to a student's everyday experience. Broad overhangs and balconies provide shade and shelter from New Orleans’ subtropical climate, while a screened breezeway connects the two buildings and serves as an outdoor classroom. A covered screened bridge spans over a city street to link the new complex to the main campus on St. Charles Avenue. Stormwater from the roof is directed to nine cast-in-place concrete piers that recall the Greek revival classical architecture of New Orleans. These notched structural elements direct the rain water to a large underground storage tank that slowly infiltrates the water into the ground, recharging the organic soils.

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In addition to the sub-surface cistern, the site features a rain garden for additional water infiltration. Combined, the two systems can store up to 18,000 gallons of water, keeping stormwater from overwhelming the city’s drainage system in frequent downpours.

Waggonner & Ball

Maria Papacharalambous


F.H. Meyers Construction
GVA Engineering
Schrenk & Peterson Engineers