Like many rapidly gentrifying urban areas, New Orleans is facing a crisis: In a city where lots of people want to live, where do you find space for single-family starter homes?

Fortunately, with crisis comes opportunity. Hundreds of unclaimed and unwanted odd lots end up between, behind and adjacent to existing and new construction. These lots, previously deemed too awkwardly shaped for anything but weeds, are being put to use in an innovative way by narrow, tall and surprisingly beautiful Starter Home* concept houses, developed by architecture firm OJT.

While only 10 feet wide, this Starter Home* makes good use of the neighborhood’s zoning laws with a sweeping 40-foot-high roofline tall enough to accommodate two bedrooms and three floors. Clean interior finishes such as hardwood and polished concrete work with floor-to-ceiling windows to invite light into the home, giving the space an expansive feel despite its narrow footprint.

French doors open onto a modern wood deck at the house’s rear, extending the living space outside. A corrugated metal façade that extends to the roof lends the building’s slim silhouette a graceful uniformity that both blends with and improves surrounding architecture.

The home’s basic plan can be adjusted to fit inside the boundaries of narrow and oddly shaped lots across the city. OJT is optimistic about the model’s effect on the New Orleans real estate market. “The Starter Home* strategy adapts across … ownership models,” the firm explains in its project proposal.

“Embracing the spectrum of opportunities that exists within the development sphere can reinforce connectivity, urban exchange and capital distribution as we engage new models for entry into the equity market.” And, dare we say, it’s mighty cool. [Photography by Will Crocker]