Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Galatoire House (Albert Ledner, architect)

ledner30, originally uploaded by regional.modernism. Galatoire Residence, 1966, Albert C. Ledner, 11 Park Island, New Orleans, LA photo: Francine Stock
In December of 2007 the new owner of the Galatoire House at No. 11 Park Island graciously opened his doors to the board of DOCOMOMO-Louisiana for an informal tour with the architect Albert Ledner. The photographs featured in this post are from the 2007 tour. The house previously had been featured on a tour of modernist buildings in New Orleans organized by the Tulane School of Architecture in 1994. I recently found a copy of this brochure and will subsequently blog the other buildings listed as well.

This home blends antique and contemporary, delicate windows and massive curving surfaces. Mrs. Galatoire spent much of her life collecting components from buildings slated for demolition, and the architect took up the challenge of incorporating them into a coherent home.

The entry drive and courtyard are paved with cobblestones from the site of the International Trade Mart, and the courtyard features an antique three-tier iron fountain in a reflecting pool. Arched fan doors from the Garden District home of Josephine Louise Newcomb serve as the entrance.

Mrs. Galatoire's collection of windows from Good Shepherd Convent (built in 1866 at Bienville and Broad Streets for the care of delinquent little girls) includes the arched windows that form the front of the house and eleven stained glass ceiling fixtures.

To the right of the entryway is a guest suite. The bath features a Portuguese carved door dating to the mid-eighteenth century, collected from the home of Archbishop John Shaw. Bronze faced window benches with antique tiles from the Shaw house are seen in the bedroom, living room and television room.

Stone is important in this home. The downstairs floor is white marble, and several bathrooms include marble as well. The circular wall behind the dining room and living area is of granite.

The curving lines of the building are particularly striking as the balcony passes through the arched windows upstairs. Equally compelling is the view of Bayou St. John. The back stairway is also an exercise in curves. It spirals tightly, and the newel post is a series of stacked [glass] balls.

Mrs. Galatoire's eclectic tastes are evident in the kitchen: the cooking island, crafted from a single brass column, was once the service counter of [the Whitney] Bank. An antique door of glass and metal is from Spain.

More recent owners have added a memento from another chapter of New Orleans history: the Floating Leaves from the 1984 World's Fair Wonder Wall, designed by Kent Bloomer of the Yale Art Department.

source: "The International Style in New Orleans" tour brochure, Tulane University School of Architecture, copy by Patty Andrews, 1994.
see also: "The Creation of Park Island" by Carolyn Kolb, New Orleans Magazine, February 21, 2007


50s Pam said...

What a wonderful website - and effort. Thank you! I've added you to my blogroll as well, at http://retrorenovation.com

Francine Stock said...

Thank you so much. I love retrorenovation. It's my eye candy.