American Institute of Architects - New Orleans Announces Recipients
of 2006 Design Awards
The New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects
(AIA) has announced the recipients of the 2006 AIA-New Orleans Design
Awards. Seven Awards of Merit and Awards of Honor were chosen from
28 applicant projects by a jury composed of three principles from
leading national architecture firms out of Las Vegas. The awards
reflect the ongoing work of AIA to highlight the best in contemporary
design and revitalization, and call attention to the importance
of architecture in Louisiana's cities and communities.
"Our awards this year send an important message about the talent,
skills and all-around capacity of the architects and planners of
this region," said AIA-New Orleans president Stephen Braquet.
"All of the jurors were very impressed with the quality of
work we are producing here. This should bode well for the involvement
of our architectural talent pool in helping this region to rebuild
our residential, commercial and institutional buildings in a way
that should set a new standard for the revival of a city after a
disaster," said Braquet.
This year's jury was comprised of principals of leading Las Vegas
James C. Lord II, AIA - KGA Architecture; J. Windom Kimsey, FAIA
- Tate Synder Kimsey Architects; and Sean Coulter, AIA - Welles
Award of Merit
Warehouse Studio Lofts
Brett Petry, AIA
Architect Brett Petry has recycled a 1939 warehouse slated for
demolition in historic downtown Covington into a five-unit "Live/Work
Studio" for urban professionals. Each separate and independently-owned
unit is designed to accommodate full living and/or working environments,
with 1200 sq ft of first floor space and 880 sq ft of loft space,
including a bath and full kitchen. The architect has preserved the
existing steel bow-string trusses, masonry walls, window systems
or roofing system; new architectural elements include an exterior
second-level terrace and a courtyard sculpture garden, as well as
a clerestory monitor to let in natural light.
"What we liked about it was the reuse of the existing building,"
says juror J. Windom Kimsey of Tate Snyder Kimsey in Nevada. "It
was a very good effort to recycle everything they could."
Award of Merit
Holly & Smith Architects, APAC
Local artist Tommy Chauvin and his wife Vicki wanted a house incorporating
elements of the Louisiana regional vernacular with a rural farm-house
context while simultaneously providing a fresh modern environment
conducive to daily life in a harsh, humid climate. The resulting
structure is composed of three distinct "pods" aligned
along a strict east-west axis to provide optimum solar orientation.
Each pod - the central main house with living, dining, kitchen and
second floor studio loft, the master suite pod, and the guest suite/garage
pod - is a separate space connected by transparent corridors. Large
awnings and overhangs provide shading, while openings on the east-west
facades of the house are minimized to obstruct the glaring, low-angle
rising and setting suns. Inspired by the barn adjacent to the property,
the main house is essentially open, with furniture arrangement,
a partial wall separating the kitchen from living room, and a self-supporting,
ladder-like staircase up to the loft serving as the main spatial
references. Interior furnishings were selected to evoke an elegant
modern simplicity conducive to a rural setting.
"It had a nice approach to Louisiana vernacular with the porches
and shading with cross-ventilation," Kimsey says. "It
was very nicely proportioned and detailed."
Award of Merit
Planning Framework for St. Bernard Parish
St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana
Waggonner & Bell Architects, APC
Commissioned by the Citizens Recovery Committee, the project team
has created a new vision for a post-Katrina St. Bernard Parish based
on analyses of the region's canal and street systems and form. Community,
history, industry, the school system and faith-based institutions
were identified as fundamental building blocks, and a land use plan
to strengthen these surviving assets and transform deficiencies
was generated. A no-build mitigation zone along the 40 Arpent Canal
is recommended, serving as a water-retention area as well as recreational
green space. Architects also identified specific project-related
areas of the plan to illustrate what St. Bernard Parish can become;
these areas include a medical center, commercial district with town
center, government center, new mixed-use neighborhood, a fishing
village, and a redeveloped Old Arabi with riverfront plaza and parks.
"We weren't working for the government," says architect
David Waggonner. "We were working for the people. They were
bold; they really did think outside the box in terms of rejecting
more strip centers and subdivisions and choosing neighborhoods with
municipal, business, and commercial centers."
Award of Merit
Sydney & Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum
New Orleans, Louisiana
Ledbetter Fullerton Architects
This project is a five acre sculpture garden accommodating 50 sculpture
sites set among new pathways, pedestrian bridges, fences, gates,
entry pavilions, site furnishings, water features, architectural
seating areas along with new grading, plantings, irrigation, site
lighting, security and signage. Each sculpture site is situated
within a naturalistic layout of paths and garden features with subtle
visual connections to the sculptures. The entire site is organized
around a central axis running from the entry pavilions to a secondary
entrance near the City Park Botanical Garden. The abstract design
of the architectural features create a backdrop for the largely
figurative collection of sculpture.
"We liked how they were careful not to overwhelm the existing
sculpture," Kimsey says. "The lighting was really nice,
creating a tranquil and bucolic space for people to enjoy the area
as well as the art."
Award of Honor
Louisiana State Museum
Baton Rouge, LouisianaEskew+Dumez+Ripple for the Louisiana Department
of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
This new museum is located across Fourth Street from the State
Library, built in 1958. Fourth Street serves as both the primary
and symbolic entrance onto the Capitol Grounds, connecting the Capitol
to the City of Baton Rouge. The museum can be approached from either
the State Library across Fourth Street or the adjacent Capitol Gardens
and Tower; visitors from either direction converge at a large, covered
terrace that provides framed views of the Capitol. The building
facades vary from highly articulated to the east to a more restrained
composition on the remaining sides. A perforated screen wall filters
daylight into the space and changes in character from a shimmering,
silvery object by day to a translucent, glowing presence at night.
"We liked the large open-air porch entrance, and the way the
building was brought open from different directions," says
Award of Honor
The Shaw Center for the Arts
Baton Rouge, LA
This new center for the arts is the outcome of a historic collaboration
between Louisiana State University, the City of Baton Rouge, the
State of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Area foundation. The program
is also an assembly of diverse components. It is a collection of
arts programs, retails, classrooms, galleries, a museum, a 300-seat
theater with a black box and rehearsal spaces, a central plant and
administrative offices. The project encompasses portions of three
city blocks in the heart of the cultural district of downtown Baton
Rouge, linking it through the main atrium to a public plaza that
also fronts the Old State Capitol across the street and the Water
Works tower. This is interconnection of spaces, combined with a
series of rooftop terraces for retail and ceremonies, attempts to
focus the development towards the expansive views of the Mississippi
River one block away. Translucent glass channels operate as a rain
screen over a corrugated aluminum cladding and together, they create
a variety of transparencies and reflections.
"The glass facades are great and very attractive, and we liked
how the complex had places to outside on top of the structure and
hang out," says Kimsey.
Award of Honor
Restoration of St. Mary Minor Basilica
Waggonner & Bell Architects, APC
In the spring of 1998, a tornado toppled buttress pinnacles, inflicting
roof damage and precipitating a comprehensive restoration of the
1842 Cathedral of Natchez, the tallest structure in that historic
city. The design project encompassed the replacement of the roof,
improvement of access inside the clock tower and renovation of the
decorative interior. The initial phase of work concentrated on the
exterior and the tower, including restoration of the spire and installation
of a new standing seam copper roof. The damaged copper-clad pinnacles,
originally wood painted white, were reconceived in cast stone to
provide better stability and better harmonize with existing stone
and stucco elements of the building.
"The replacement of the wood pinnacle with stone was indicative
of us trying to help a place come back from a disaster better than
ever," says project Principal-in-Charge David Waggonner. "You
go back and say, 'What was the problem; why did it fail?' then use
the solution to aspire to something better."
The second phase addressed interior finishes and decorative treatments.
Asbestos tiles were removed from walls and ceilings, and plaster
surfaces were restored. A new painting scheme was created based
upon long-obscured patterns and historic photographs. Custom stencils
and gold leafing were employed, and colors were hand-mixed to adjust
to on-site conditions. Lighting of the interior worship space was
entirely redesigned to complement the newly-restored volume.
"This was a no-brainer among the entire team of jurors,"
Kimsey says. "It was just extremely well-planned, well-executed
AIA has through its awards and other programs sought to increase
the awareness and appreciation of the role of architects and architecture
in the life of the region. The organization was and has been very
heavily involved in all urban development efforts in New Orleans
before and after Hurricane Katrina. Before the storm, AIA sponsored
six charrettes in three parishes including the Riverfront Charrette
in January 2004 and the Smart Growth Summit in 2005. AIA also hosted
the first major post-Katrina planning forum, the Governor's Recovery
& Rebuilding Conference, in November, 2005. Most recently, the
organization launched CityWorks, a new nonprofit aimed at transforming
metro New Orleans into a model city for the nation by fostering
a stimulating environment for dialogue and debate, and communicating
to a large audience the importance of design in creating a vibrant
and vital public life. Learn more at www.city-works.org and www.aianeworleans.org.