5506 is a demonstration garden and community meeting space for residents of Gentilly in New Orleans.
While excessive waste from house construction is a problem nation-wide, it is all the more acutely felt in New Orleans because of the large-scale post-Katrina rebuilding effort. Just as some hunters set an intention to utilize every part of their kill, reusing construction site waste could divert a huge volume of material from landfills. As a single up-cycling strategy, this net-zero waste strategy underscores craft and material synergies, unlikely solutions for otherwise undervalued debris, and a more mindful approach to the construction process.
We used the contents of a single construction dumpster to build a garden shed and raised beds, highlighting the material salvage process for new construction waste. Sustainable gardening strategies are also highlighted across the lot, from a cistern and compost bin to pervious paving and a bioswale/raingarden. Wherever possible, edibles have been planted, including vegetables in the front beds, a citrus orchard and pecan tree in the rear, and rows of blueberries across the site. Hardy native grasses, iris, milkweed and jasmine help to provide habitat and reduce stormwater runoff.