Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Orleans :: most Progressive Architecture awards :: 1955

, originally uploaded by .
In 1955 the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School was awarded a citation for its innovative design by Progressive Architecture. "All of the 22 classrooms for 770 pupils were raised off the ground, in order to provide an open play area, as the building occupies the major part of the site. Two rows of concrete piers support the cantilevered structure. A series of large steel trusses sandwiched between the classroom walls make this cantilever possible. Classrooms are accessible from open corridors, have bilateral lighting and cross ventilation. Administration and combination auditorium / cafeteria are housed in adjoining one-story structure."

In addition to Phillis Wheatley, five other designs by New Orleans architects received awards in Progressive Architecture's second annual Design Awards Program juried by Dr. Walter Gropius.

The Times-Picayune reports, "The designs, which gave New Orleans and Louisiana more awards than any other city or state were done by Curtis and Davis, Charles R. Colbert, John W. Lawrence, George A. Saunders, Buford L. Pickens and John Ekin Dinwiddie. The designs were of six proposed Louisiana buildings."

The envelope please.....

HEALTHCARE Madison Parish Hospital in Tullulah, Curtis and Davis

EDUCATION Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in New Orleans, Charles R. Colbert

RESIDENTIAL Dr. and Mrs. Lyman K. Richardson Residence in Harahan, Curtis and Davis

RESIDENTIAL Vacation House in Lacombe, Lawrence and Saunders

RESIDENTIAL General Electric demonstration house in New Orleans, John Lawrence and George A. Saunders with Buford L. Pickens

RELIGIOUS St. Bernard Methodist Church in Chalmette, John Lawrence and George A. Saunders with John Dinwiddie

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Futurist on Film

, photograph by Alfred Gebhardt, originally uploaded by .

Yesterday MAKE magazine celebrated Buckminster Fuller's birthday. He would have been 115 years young.

I recently watched Evan Mather's A Necessary Ruin (Handcrafted Films 2009). When the Union Tank Car Dome outside Baton Rouge was completed in 1958 it was the largest clear span structure in the world. This futurist dome was no longer in use and had been abandoned. The Foundation for Historical Louisiana fought for its adaptive reuse, even suggesting that it could be moved to an alternate site. However, the dome was demolished in the secret of night in November 2007, just shy of its fiftieth birthday.

In September DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana will present A Necessary Ruin in a special screening. Date and location to be announced.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Western Skies Motel

, originally uploaded by .
I've been trolling around the Times-Picayune archive online and found this plan for a thoroughly modern motel for New Orleans. It was designed by Houston architect Bailey A. Swenson.

To be called 'Western Skies' the motel will have air-conditioned units, a swimming pool, helicopter field, playground for children, a swank restaurant and riding stables.

The article did not specify a location and I have been unable to find another reference. I assume it was unbuilt. But the sheer grandeur of this motor hotel speaks to the lost days of urban growth and the early days of the oil economy.

source: The Times-Picayune; 06-27-1954; Page: 78