Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mid-century Schwegmanns to be redeveloped as a Mid-city Whole Foods

, originally uploaded by .

The former Schwegmann's One Stop Shopping Center in Mid-City (designed by architect Edward Tsoi, AIA, in 1964) will be renovated for Whole Foods Market.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Arthur Q. Davis, FAIA (1920-2011)

, originally uploaded by .

I feel so very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know architect Arthur Q. Davis through my work at the Tulane University School of Architecture, especially in my efforts since the storm to document the modern architecture of New Orleans. In 2008 Mr. Davis graciously met with my Regional Modernism class and made a great impression on the students. He was a colorful storyteller and shared anecdotes from when he studied under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer and worked for Eero Saarinen, thus establishing within the room a tangible link to some of the great masters of modernism. We are now beginning to understand that Mr. Davis and his partner Nathaniel C. Curtis, Jr (1917-1997) were masters of regional modernism, committed to designing contemporary architecture relevant to our regional climate and urban fabric.

We tend to think of New Orleans architecture only in the vernacular. We tend to privilege traditional architecture over contemporary. We tend to overlook the modern architecture in our midst. But in the 1950s New Orleans was a hotbed for modern architecture and the partnership of Curtis and Davis were pioneers of the new. However the recent losses are staggering. Since the storm we have lost six significant buildings designed by Curtis and Davis - the St. Frances Cabrini Church, four schools (McDonogh 39, Thomy Lafon, Carver and Cabrini) and the Dr. Lyman K. Richardson Residence. In the past few years Mr. Davis frequently lamented that an architect should not outlive his buildings. We are blessed that the magnum opus of the firm, the recently renamed and brilliantly illuminated Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the most recognized building in the state of Louisiana, stands as a testament to the ingenuity and ambition of Mr. Curtis and Mr. Davis.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sunkel-Nagin Residence on the Market

, originally uploaded by .
Former Mayor Ray Nagin has listed his residence on the market. Architect Albert C. Ledner designed the house in 1962 for Pat and Adrian Sunkel - the first of three houses Ledner designed on Park Island. Known as the "Ashtray House" for its frieze of amber glass ashtrays along the fascia.

VIEW LISTING (includes photos of interior!)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Henry Miller liked New Orleanians' lust for life

New Orleans' Bohemian Outsider “Gypsy Lou” – 1955, co-founder of Loujon Press, which published Miller's Order and chaos chez Hans Reichel in 1966.

Of course the New Orleans people are extremely hospitable [...]. It is the most congenial city in America that I know of and it is due in large part, I believe, to the fact that here at last on this bleak continent the sensual pleasures assume the importance they deserve. It is the only city in America where, after a lingering meal accompanied by a good wine and good talk, one can stroll at random through the French Quarter and feel like a civilized human being.

(The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, pp. 126-127)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Moderns on the Market

No less than three modernist houses on the market right now! If you know of any others, please comment below.
"House of the Future" (c. 1940). 6855 Canal Blvd. August Perez

Office of the architect(1948). 1310 Esplanade.  L. F. Dufrechou.

Louis J. Roussel Residence (1957). 734 Lakeshore Parkway. August Perez & Associates

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Romanticism + Regionalism

I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,
Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,
But I wondered how it could utter joyous leaves standing alone there without
its friend near, for I knew I could not,
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and twined
around it a little moss,
And brought it away, and I have placed it in sight, in my room,
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them,)
Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love;
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana solitary in
a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life without a friend a lover near,
I know very well I could not.

[Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass, photo by Francine Stock]

Monday, August 15, 2011

National Bank of Commerce (Tulane branch) 1958

, originally uploaded by .

In 1956 construction began on National Bank of Commerce Tulane Avenue branch near Jefferson Davis Parkway.

Architects Curtis and Davis designed the office building with ample natural light for the 7300 SF of office space on each of the six floors. The cantilevered zig zag entrance canopy provided minimal ornamentation to an otherwise simplistic facade.

Construction was completed in 1958 by R.P. Farnsworth and Company.

[source: Times-Picayune, 05-16-1956, 10-17-1958]