Monday, April 20, 2009

Vision::Aerie School Threatened with Demolition

, originally uploaded by .
The Phillis Wheatley Elementary School (1954) is the most significant school facility built in mid 20th century New Orleans. It is also among the most significant Modern buildings in the city today. We have already lost the Rivergate (1969-1997) and Cabrini Church (1961-2007) by Curtis and Davis. Architect Charles Colbert assessed Wheatley among the finest of his designs in his career. In Colbert's architecture form followed function, but even more than that, idea shaped design. The Wheatley School stands above the field of mid-20th century schools because of Colbert's bold concept, tested innovations and efficiency of structure. The result - an eloquent airy urban tree house for learning. It is an excellent example of regional modernism as it cleverly addresses the harshness of our local climate. The elevated structure created ample play space for the children, protecting them from the beating sun or rain. It was also saved from flooding. It is shocking that the School Facilities Plan calls for its demoltion. It is still possible to renew the Wheatley School and reuse it as a school or community center. It just requires vision.

No comments: