Gallery: NOAH: Mammoth Pyramid Megacity for New Orleans


An Arcology is essentially a mega city that packs a ginormous population into one hyperstructure – think the Death Star, Zion in The Matrix or the Anthill of Antz fame. Now, a real-life group of ambitious designers has taken their looming pyramidal arcology and placed it smack dab on the Mississippi River as a proposal for rebuilding New Orleans. This 30 million square foot beast-building with an array of green features is aptly named NOAH (Get it? Noah and the Arcology?), and is meant to house 40,000 residents.

NOAH, which stands for New Orleans Arcology Habitat, boasts 20,000 residential units as well as 3 hotels and 1,500 timeshare units. But that’s not all. Also housed within the triangular walls of this one-stop-building will be commercial space (stores), parking for 8,000 cars, cultural spaces, public works, schools, an administrative office, and a health care facility. This means that you could live your whole life within NOAH if you wanted to. Although that doesn’t sound very fun, it may be prudent, since NOAH has been specifically designed to withstand the hurricanes that have ravaged the city on the Mississippi in the past. Its floating base and open-wall structure are meant to allow “all severe weather /winds to in effect blow through the structure in any direction with the minimum of massing interference.”

In terms of sustainability, we were at first skeptical as we are with most supermassive structures, but the fact that so many inhabitants are meant to occupy the space offsets NOAH’s giant footprint. Another plus is that NOAH will supposedly “eliminate the need for cars within the urban structure” via vertical and horizontal internal electric transport links, creating a pedestrian-friendly community. Other eco-friendly elements include secured wind turbines, fresh water recovery and storage systems, a passive glazing system, sky garden heating/cooling vents, grey water treatment, solar array banding panels, and river based water turbines. And if NOAH truly is hurricane-proof, that will make the city more sustainable than any wind turbines or solar panels ever could.


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Scott MC September 2, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I’m thinking it wouldn’t stay that shiny for long….

  2. lazyreader February 7, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Billionaires snort cocaine, crack is for poor people. During the 1993 Mississippi river floods, no one commented on gradual designs to re-engineer a bunch of tiny towns for the future. They were some of the costliest floods in recent years, where were those architects then?

  3. anothervoice February 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Just imagine the public hearings when the property owners in the french quarter and garden district realize this thing will be in their visual environment continuously. Not gonna happen.

    From a ROI standpoint, it’s stillborn. Imagine what you’re paying for that huge void of open space in the middle. You’re going to need a billionaire investor who inherited all of his money and smokes crack.

    Didn’t they build a ginormous three-sided resort/hotel in North Korea? I believe it’s a complete ruinous failure. But then, they had their crack-smoking billionaire dictator to underwrite the project.

    Your honor, I rest my case.

  4. droidster February 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    You can put the worker’s factory in the middle.

  5. Lionarons August 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I think it’s quite nice, but there’s really no reason to place it right in front of the French Quarter.
    Other than that, I’m loving the whole “being able to house 40.000 people, give or take” part.
    It would be nifty to move a great deal of the citizens to such a structure (or two/three) and thus minimizing the actual size of New Orleans. Even now it kinda spreads out way too much. Cities in general actually have quite a large footprint and I would love to see that reduced by utilizing arcologies such as these. All the land that comes free can then be scraped clean and returned to nature. Who wouldn’t like that?

  6. beth419 August 23, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I live in Louisiana and most people who live here know this is going to be another opportunity for New Orleans to blow some more money.

  7. grandsecretarty August 21, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Visually and conceptually it is quite fantastic. I love the design. My only concern is that it should enhance New Orleans and should be challenging, but also in sympathy with its surroundings. I have been very fortunate in my life to have visited New Orleans on many occasions.

  8. Jayoutside August 20, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Um…..great concept. Wrong location.

    Am I the only one who has been to New Orleans lately? Am I the only one who sees that there is a MASSIVE surplus of housing in this town with no industry and jobs to support it? Am I the only one who sees that there is a massive surplus of commercial and industrial space? I am from NOLA and love my city dearly. My immediate and extended family still lives there. I love to see projects that will promote the quality of life for those in NOLA and increase the safety for those who live there. This does neither. Well…..maybe the safety part. It would be a great evacuation shelter.I love my hometown – lets think smarter than this huh guys??????

  9. Kylem August 20, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    While this concept may look good, there are sooo many problems with it.

    From the graphics, its placement at the turn in the river in front of the french quarter will pose a serious threat to navigation as it appears to close off more than half of the river. In addition to reducing the width navigable width of the river it has been placed at a bend in the river. Ships often swing very wide while being pushed thru the bend in the river, and the NOAH would be right in the path of these ships. Obviously they haven’t heard of the brightfield incident where a ship lost power and collided with the Riverwalk Mall and HIlton hotel parking garage.

    The fact that it floats frankly scares me. With the surges from severe hurricanes running up the river, the NOAH would pose a sever threat to the river levee system. In katrina there were dozens of ships and barges that broke loose and were found high and dry on the levee’s. The weight of this structure being pressed against a levee by hurricane force winds would be immense and far greater than the current levee’s were designed to take.

    There are many more issues with this concept but I will not comment on them at this time.

    It is a preety looking structure and frankly I can’t imagine looking up at such a modern structure while standing in the heart of the French Quarter.

  10. vanderleun August 20, 2009 at 10:34 am

    A floating version of “The Projects.”

  11. Stefan Vittori August 19, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Thank you very much for your interest in NOAH. My firm, Tangram 3DS LLC, is responsible for the computer-generated images posted here and partnered with the designer Kevin Schopfer to visualize his concepts throughout the design process. While we appreciate the attention this project has generated, we must ask that you credit Tangram 3DS as we are the creator and rights holder for these renderings and animation.
    Please visit :
    to read more about NOAH and
    to see our cg animation in HD.

  12. erglv August 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    New Orleans has plenty of buildings that withstand hurricanes — they just flood. Also, its primary industry is based on the port (the River). So anything that would encroach on that is not a favorable development. And the floods caused by the Mississippi are different than tidal surges caused by hurricanes.

    I also notice that this building (while interesting) is placed directly in front of the French Quarter — in fact it would have a number of historic structures demolished to make way for it. Why not put it on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain where its presence wouldn’t affect an already working city?

  13. modular buildings August 18, 2009 at 11:55 am

    It does not look extremely inviting but for its purpose i can see its benefits.

    The fact that it would be able to withstand hurricanes is a massive benefit.

  14. Ryan August 18, 2009 at 11:02 am

    It would be much cooler if it had a planet-destroying death beam.

    And operators with ginormous helmets.

  15. r08 August 18, 2009 at 10:00 am

    sim city 2000 features acrologies

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home