Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Arthur Q. Davis, FAIA (1920-2011)

Arthur Q. Davis, FAIA, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.

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

Sunkel Residence, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.
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

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. Emile Hymel House
"House of the Future" (c. 1940). 6855 Canal Blvd. August Perez

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

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Romanticism + Regionalism

live oak moss string
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

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]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Broken Promises and Green Space

Hoffman Elementary

The Uptown Messenger reported on Tuesday night's meeting to discuss the Recovery School District's amended plans for the Central City, Uptown and Garden District schools. 

There are many important issues at stake. But what immediately caught my eye was that the RSD has removed Hoffman Elementary from the plan entirely, as 'no longer needed'. This is a shocking revelation. 

In 2009 The RSD made a public promise before the City Council and neighborhood representatives to move Hoffman from an unfunded phase (perhaps 6?) to phase one or two. With this promise, the neighborhood changed their position from supporting preservation to demolition, as they desperately wanted a school for their community.

On September 17, 2009 the New Orleans City Council voted to overturn the NCDC decision to deny a demolition permit for Hoffman Elementary School, 2622 S. Prieur Street. Councilwoman Stacy Head expressed regret regarding ordering the demolition of a historic structure. [At the hearing] representatives of the Recovery School District verbally promised to move the Hoffman site up to phase two, and possibly phase one if they can secure the financing. It is tragic that the RSD outright refuses to renovate this structure. The building assessment in the School Facilities Master Plan indicated that it would cost $2.2 million LESS to renovate Hoffman, but they would prefer to start over.

Hoffman Elementary (architect Charles Colbert, 1954) was razed in February of 2010. Fast forward 2011 and now the RSD has determined there will be no school in the Hoffman Triangle. Tragically the neighborhood was not just hoodwinked into supporting demolition in their desperation for a school in their neighborhood, but they also lost a significant modern structure which could have been adapted to serve the community in other ways had it not been demolished.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wheatley Elementary School was a perfectly fine building: Letter to the editor

Architect Raymond Boudreaux worked with Charles Colbert in the Office of Planning and Construction for Orleans Parish Schools and later in the firm Colbert Lowrey Hess and Boudreaux. 
His letter to the editor dated June 24, 2011 was  published on July 7, 2011 in the Times-Picayune.
Wheatley Elementary School was a perfectly fine building

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Plea For Modernism

A Plea For Modernism from Evan Mather

A Plea For Modernism from Evan Mather on Vimeo.

The Phillis Wheatley Elementary School has served the historic New Orleans African-American neighborhood of Trem̩ since it opened in 1955. Celebrated worldwide for its innovative, regionally-expressive modern design Рthe structure sustained moderate damage during the storms and levee breach of 2005. DOCOMOMO Louisiana is advocating for its restoration via adaptive reuse.

A Plea For Modernism [Evan Mather, Hand Crafted Films, 2011] includes interviews with professor John Klingman of the Tulane School of Architecture, architect Wayne Troyer, John Stubbs, vice-president for field projects for the World Monuments Fund and author/actress Phyllis Montana-Leblanc, a former student of Phillis Wheatley. It was written by Francine Stock and Evan Mather and narrated by actor Wendell Pierce (HBO's The Wire, Treme). The film includes historical photos courtesy of the Tulane Libraries Southeastern Architectural Archive and Tulane School of Architecture's New Orleans Virtual Archive, as well as Charles Colbert's presentation boards courtesy of the Orleans Parish School Board Archive, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans. Contemporary photography is by Emily Ardoin, Winifried Brenne, John Defraites, Anthony DelRosario, Karen Gadbois, Karran Harper Royal, Meg Holford, Michael Kievets / Sybolt Voeten, Sergio Padilla, Francine Stock and John Stubbs. Animations and graphics are by Evan Mather and Wayne Troyer. The original music score is by Jusso Auvinen.

If no action is taken the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School will demolished in Summer 2011. Please take time to sign the petition to save Phillis Wheatley and contact our public officials.

Mayor Mitchell Landrieu, City of New Orleans (504) 658-4900
Superintendent John White, Recovery School District (504) 373-6200
Superintendent Darryl Kilbert, Orleans Parish School Board (504) 304-3520

In taking these steps, we affirm the significance and diversity of our architectural and cultural heritage and our desire to rescue the future from the past.

Francine Stock

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Orleans Regional Modernism is available on the App Store!

DOCOMOMO Louisiana and Tulane University are pleased to present:

 Get the NolaModern App on iTunes!
The New Orleans Regional Modernism app is designed to highlight the  significant, threatened and lost modern architecture of New Orleans. It  is a project of Tulane University and DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana, a regional  chapter of an international committee dedicated to the documentation and  conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern  movement.

This location-based app allows you to browse modern buildings  in New Orleans by architect, neighborhood, category or status (extant,  threatened or razed). Three tour routes have been identified:  St.  Charles Avenue Streetcar, Canal Streetcar, and the 2011 Modernism in New  Orleans tour led by Francine Stock and Keli Rylance for the Society of  Architectural Historians.

We are grateful to Tulane Libraries' Southeastern Architectural  Archive, the Tulane School of Architecture's New Orleans Virtual  Archive, the New Orleans Public Library's City Archives, and to many  students and friends for providing photos. Descriptions of buildings  were written by DOCOMOMO members, students in Francine Stock's Regional  Modernism class at Tulane School of Architecture, and Karen Kingsley,  author of Modernism in Louisiana.

This software was designed and is  supported by the Innovative Learning Center, a division of Tulane Technology Services.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Compatible with iPhones and iPads running iOS 4.3+.  Requires network connectivity. Please note our first update (coming  soon!) will include functionality at iOS 4.2 level to extend the app to  iPhone 3 and iPod Touch 2.

To contact the local chapter about this app or to submit a building for inclusion, email: docomomo.neworleans@gmail.com

Please join DOCOMOMO in supporting the preservation of modern architecture.

Francine Stock
Visual Resources Curator, Tulane School of Architecture
President, DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana

 DOCOMOMO NOLA on Blogspot    DOCOMOMO NOLA on Facebook   DOCOMOMO NOLA on Twitter

Friday, May 6, 2011

A numeric overview :: recent losses from the recent past

Hands Around Phillis Wheatley
I started Regional Modernism: the New Orleans Archives 3 years ago to document the process of documenting modernism in New Orleans. I had just lost my 1st building, a moderne structure on Canal and Treme. I'd only photographed it weeks before and was shocked to see it reduced to rubble before I had a chance to get to know it. A mission made in a moment.

The Regional Modernism course at Tulane School of Architecture in the spring of 2008 was less about teaching and more about discovering and documenting. The students and I started by merging data from the Southeastern Architectural Archives, the New Orleans Public Library's City Archives and Samuel Wilson's Guide to New Orleans Architecture into a map of nearly 850 modern buildings in New Orleans, of which 250 are chronicled in the Regional Modernism flickr account. Soon (very soon) the Regional Modernism iphone app will be released. It includes nearly 150 modern buildings, lost, extant and threatened.

Through this process, I've learned not just about identifying modernism in our midst, but also about its significance and relationship to the history of our built environment. In 1955 Progressive Architecture's 2nd Annual Design Awards recognized more buildings by architects from New Orleans and Louisiana than any other city or state in the nation. That's right. Before New Orleans was the city that care forgot, it was one of the most architecturally progressive cities in the nation.

Yet we are losing significant modern architecture at a truly alarming rate. In the mid 20th century 6 New Orleans buildings received national AIA Awards. Soon two thirds of these will be gone. 

Since 2008 the mid 20th century modern public school has become an endangered species in New Orleans. Of the city's 30 public schools designed and built in the 1950s, today only 3 are left standing. Soon only 1 may remain. At the Hands Around Wheatley gathering in April, John Stubbs offered this sobering statistic:
Since the World Monuments Watch List program was established in 1995, we’ve listed nearly 600 sites in ninety-one countries. In Moscow, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles and Havana others have found ways to preserve threatened modern buildings, surely we can do the same with Wheatley School. If the Wheatley school is lost through demolition, it will be the 1st site on our World Monuments Watch List that died in our hands.
This week the Louisiana Landmarks Society announced its New Orleans 9 Most Endangered List for 2011.  The current list recognizes Abandoned and Neglected Public School Buildings City-Wide including the "Phillis Wheatley School in Treme, once internationally known for its cutting-edge mid-20th century design." The 2008 list included Mid-century Modern Public Schools. Of the 4 schools cited in 2008, McDonogh 39 and Carver have been razed and demolitions are pending for Wheatley and Lafon.

Next week we welcome the 2011 American Institute of Architects annual meeting to New Orleans.  DOCOMOMO Louisiana will present an exhibit on mid-century modern schools at the Preservation Resource Center. On view will be reproductions of architect Charles Colbert's 9 presentation boards of drawings of the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School. The exhibit will also feature contemporary photography of the Phillis Wheatley, Thomy Lafon and George Washington Carver Schools by Emily Ardoin, John Klingman, Anthony DelRosario and Francine Stock. Phyllis Montana-Leblanc's petition to SAVE PHILLIS WHEATLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN NEW ORLEANS! SAY "NO!" TO DEMOLITION now has 1555  signatures. Add yours today. 

You can also email your comments directly to to Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu: mayor@nola.gov

It's not too late to raise your voice in support for the preservation of this significant and truly unique school building.

Francine Stock

[photo: John Stubbs, World Monuments Fund]

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This Sunday April 17, 2011.

Come together and show your support for the preservation of a unique and severely threatened historic world monument. Let's celebrate the legacy and significance of the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in Treme.

We stand up at NOON.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SAVE WHEATLEY SCHOOL! sign and share this petition

Wheatley listed on World Monuments Fund Watch 2010

Dear friends,

On behalf of DOCOMOMO US/ Louisiana I ask you to consider signing an online petition to save the historic modern Phillis Wheatley Elementary School which is threatened with demolition. This petition was started by Phyllis Montana-Leblanc. PML spoke passionately at Friday's hearing before the Historic District Landmarks Commission in defense of her alma mater, "If you tear down my school, a part of me dies with it."

Unfortunately we have learned that there will NOT be a review before the City Council and an RFP has been issued for the demolition. Apparently since this is a city-initiated (Orleans Parish School Board via Recovery School District) demolition of a city-owned building, the City Council is not required to review the demolition request. Still, we remain dedicated to the call to preserve the Wheatley School which was listed on the World Monuments Fund Watch in 2010

We hope to gather more than 2000 signatures and present the petition to Mayor Landrieu and the City Council.

I'm so very grateful to Phyllis for coming forward and reminding me that there is still Hope.
This is truly our midnight hour.


If you have already signed and shared the petition with your friends, I extend my heartfelt gratitude.  Please consider joining DOCOMOMO US to help support the documentation and conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement.

Sincerely yours,

Francine Stock

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Raymond Boudreaux Residence (1966)

In 1966 Louisiana architect Raymond Boudreaux (b. 1922) designed a significant renovation and modernization of a center hall cottage for himself and his wife Hilda Mary (Boss) Boudreaux at 1218 Moss on Bayou St. John. Boudreaux drew a complete set of drawings of the extant structure at the start. The monumental cypress shutters were salvaged from Three Oaks Plantation formerly on the site of the American Sugar Refinery in Chalmette.

Boudreaux was born in Marrero, but raised in the French Quarter and attended McDonogh 15 Elementary and Samuel J. Peters High School. After graduating from Tulane School of Architecture in 1949 he went to work for Freret and Wolf. In 1951 he left for a six-month European tour, traveling from Denmark to Southern Italy. Upon his return, he went to visit former professor Charles Colbert, now head of the new Office of Planning and Construction for Orleans Parish Schools. Colbert offered Boudreaux a job writing programs for new schools. In 1954 Boudreaux joined the firm Colbert, Lowrey, Hess and Boudreaux. When Colbert left New Orleans to become Dean of Columbia University, the partnership became Lowrey, Hess and Boudreaux, and practiced as such until December 1990.

[Francine Stock, Regional Modernism; photo: Francine Stock, New Orleans Virtual Archive, Tulane School of Architecture]

Kirschman Residence (1962)

in 1960 architect Charles R. Colbert designed a new residence for Victor F. Kirschman at 12 Swan Street in Lake Vista. The house was designed to maximize views of Lake Pontchartrain over the levee and beyond the park. Kirschman was the president of Kirschman Furniture founded by his father Morris Kirschman in 1914.

[Francine Stock, Regional Modernism; photo: New Orleans Virtual Archive, Tulane School of Architecture]

International Trade Mart [First] 1947

The first International Trade Mart building on the downtown riverside of Camp and Common was designed in 1947 by Rathbone DeBuys, AIA (1874-1960). It opened in 1948 as a testament to the progressive nature of the new New Orleans.

"The International Trade Mart, the first world-trade market place, is as modern as the Middle South spirit which inspired its construction. Five streamlined stories of windowless concrete and glass brick, it houses the export-import displays and sales offices of hundreds of manufacturers, some 50 leading international traders and several nations." [i]

The first ITM was actually an adaptive reuse and modernization of a late 19th century structure (A. Baldwin Wood & Co., Thomas Sully, 1889). After the second ITM building (Edward Durell Stone) at 2 Canal was completed in 1967, the first ITM was renamed the Gateway Building. It was demolished in 1978 along with several other buildings for the Sheraton Hotel.

[Francine Stock, Regional Modernism; photo: Dorothy Violet Gulledge Photograph Collection, Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library]

[i] Times-Picayune July 5, 1948

F. Edward Hebert Federal Building (1939)

The 12-story art deco F. Edward Hebert Federal Building on Lafayette Square was designed by architects Louis Simon and Howard L. Cheney in 1939.

Lafayette Square, the second oldest urban park in New Orleans is also surrounded by Gallier Hall (formerly City Hall, James Gallier, Sr., 1845), the Federal Reserve Bank (Goldstein, Parham, Labouisse, 1963), the Hale Boggs Federal Building and U.S. Court House (Freret & Wolf, August Perez & Associates, Mathes Bergman & Associates) and the John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals (Hale and Rogers, 1908).

Since the city's inception, New Orleans has organized public buildings around public parks, initially with the location of the Cabildo on the Place d'Armes (now Jackson Square) and more recently with the development of the Civic Center (1958) around Duncan Plaza.

[photo: Anthony DelRosario]

Monday, March 21, 2011

Plan of Lake Vista (1936)

Plan of Lake Vista, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.
On September 29, 1936 work began on Lake Vista, a $3 million residential development on New Orleans lakefront sponsored by the Works Progress Administration. The plan of Lake Vista was designed by Hampton Reynolds, consulting engineer for the Orleans Levee Board.

Reynold's radial plan was designed to provide safe passage for children to the community center, school and two churches at the end of Spanish Fort Boulevard in the core of the residential neighborhood. Mr. Reynolds explained, "The plan gives every child of these families a way to go to the community center of the residential park without crossing an automobile highway. We wish to set an example for the country at large to pattern after. This is the age of the automobile and there must be physical protection for children and the less agile. We have sanctuaries of safety for birds, why not for human beings? Another feature of the plan is that the lots are staggered, so that the house on any one lot does not face the house on the next lot, but rather looks through the open space of the first lot."

The first lots were sold on September 18, 1938, developing initially to the west of Spanish Fort Boulevard.

[F. Stock; photo: Works Progress Administration, Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library]

First National Life Insurance Co. (1960)

In July of 1960 Thurston B. Martin, president of the First National Life Insurance Company (est. 1914, New Orleans) announced the construction of a new twelve-story glass office building.

The Times-Picayune reported, ''Designed by Mathes Bergman & Associates, the structure will have a porte cochere entry from a circular drive, will be air-conditioned and encased in glass with limestone and granite trim. Three elevators will service the structure which is to be finished with a marble and wood lobby and with stone floors."

The irregular site on Howard, S. Rampart and Dryades was conveniently located near the new Union Passenger Terminal (completed 1955). The building currently houses the offices of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

[photo: M. Saxer, TSA NOVA]

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Diaz-Simon Pediatric Clinic (1958)

In Idea: the Shaping Force (1987), architect Charles Colbert described the two main ideas which led to the design of the Diaz-Simon Pediatric Clinic on Antonine near Touro Hospital.

'Children's vivid imaginations and their shallow thresholds of pain can make the doctor's office appear to be a dark torture chamber. The design objective of the Antonine Clinic (1958) was to lessen this instinctive fear and create an environment of bright and cheerful playfulness. The Antonine Pediatric Clinic was located upon an undersized lot that had only one real advantage, a large live oak tree. The tree became the most singular element in the overall design. The children's waiting room was located to seem to rest among its branches and was calculated to evoke the thrill of a real tree playhouse.'

Colbert received an Honor Award from the AIA in 1959 for the design. The clinic has been razed, but the tree remains.

[F. Stock; photo: Biographical Files, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Tulane University Libraries]

The Medical Plaza, Prytania entrance

In 1960 Curtis and Davis designed the Medical Plaza at Foucher and Prytania near Touro Hospital.

The building includes a 200 car sub-surface parking garage with elevators leading to the plaza level. Office suites are arranged around central courtyards. The pre-cast concrete building is faced with re-claimed brick from buildings which were razed for its construction. Originally cypress shutters were installed between the brick panels; these have been removed. A raised concrete slab lightened with a waffle pattern shelters the main pedestrian entrance on Prytania.

[F. Stock; photo: S. Day, TSA NOVA]

New Orleans Public Library (1958)

The New Orleans Public Library, the crowning achievement of the Civic Center as planned by Mayor 'Chep' Morrison, opened to the public on December 15, 1958.

Curtis and Davis designed a special anodized aluminum sun screen to filter light in an essentially open plan glass box. The building's harmony is best perceived by its interior spaces, especially from the mezzanine which looks over the central atrium and Japanese courtyard garden.

Goldstein, Parham and Labouisse, and Favrot, Reed, Mathes and Bergman, associate architects. R. P. Farnsworth & Co., contractor. HONORS: Design Award for Public Buildings, Progressive Architecture, 1956. Award of Merit, National Library Awards Program, AIA and ALA, 1963.

[F. Stock; photo: Frank Lotz, Miller, AIA Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Tulane University Libraries]

House for Tomorrow (1936)

House of the Future, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.
This 'House for Tomorrow' on Henry Clay was designed by Nathaniel Cortlandt Curtis (1881-1953), principle draftsman for Moise H. Goldstein, architects.

Curtis served as head of Architecture at Tulane from 1912-1917 and wrote several books: Elements of Graphics (1909), Architectural Composition (1923, 1935), and New Orleans, its Old Houses Shops and Public Buildings (1933). At the time of his death in 1953, he was working on a manuscript entitled, Elements of Modern Architecture.

Curtis influenced generations of New Orleans architects, especially his son, Nathaniel C. 'Buster' Curtis, jr. (1917-1997), who shared his father's love of painting, belief in Modernism, and a respect for historic and regional architecture.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feibleman’s Department Store / Wyndham Garden

The Feibleman Department Store (1931) was designed by Samuel Wilson, Jr. for Moise H. Goldstein architects. The building is best known by New Orleanians as the Sears-Roebuck Store (1936-1991) but was later adapted as the Baronne Plaza Hotel (1998-2009). The hotel was renovated in 2010 and recently re-opened as the Wyndham Garden Baronne Plaza.

A slightly earlier example of Art Deco architecture by Goldstein Architects in the CBD is the National American Bank Building (1929) at 200 Carondelet Street.

Chotin Residence (1957)

Architect Charles Joseph Rowe designed s spacious residence on Bayou St. John for Captain and Mrs. Scott Chotin in 1957.  It was listed in Samuel Wilson's A Guide to the Architecture of New Orleans, 1699-1959.

The furnishings of the living room and patio were featured in Dixie magazine's "Today's Living" section in 1961 which noted the "wall and fireplace is of Arkansas cedar stone, used throughout home." 

The Chotin's listed the house for sale or trade in 1970.
Big--Beautiful--Expensive: Owner may consider trade for smaller home or commercial property. Spacious architect designed California style contemporary. Enter through huge solid walnut double doors into a 63' entry hall, sunken living room with fireplace, 25' informal dining room, 40' den, gym, 5 or 6 bedrooms and 6 baths, ultra modern kitchen, maid's room and bath. Beautifully landscaped patio and 40' heated pool. Grounds 200x235.

The Chotin's sold the house to the Solomon family who recently sold it to Dr. Eric Ehlenberger.

[photo: F. Stock, TSA NOVA]

Dr. Ben Freedman Residence (1957)

This windowless courtyard house at 1321 Frankfort in Lake Terrace was designed by Bill Calongne of Lawrence, Saunders, Calongne for Dr. Ben Freedman. It was awarded Excellence for House Design by Architectural Record in 1958. The house was recently renovated by Philip Langley of Ray Langley Interiors.

[F. Stock; photo: James Lamantia Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Tulane University Libraries]

Ricciuti Residence (1957)

Ricciuti Residence, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.

In 1957 Italo William Ricciuti (1906-1987) designed this house for himself and his family at 7341 Beryl Street in the Lakeshore neighborhood. The modernist architect also authored two books, New Orleans and Its Environs: The Domestic Architecture 1727-1870 (1937) and Forms & Functions of 20th Century Architecture (1952). With associate architect Herbert A. Benson, Ricciuti designed the Stuart R. Bradley Elementary School (1953, razed 2009) at 2401 Humanity in Gentilly Terrace. In addition he lectured on Italian language and architecture at Tulane University.

[photo: Frank Lotz Miller, AIA Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Tulane University Libraries]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

John Hancock Building (1960-62)

JohnHancock2, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.

Gordon Bunschaft's design of the concrete exoskeleton distinguishes the John Hancock Building (now known as K&B Plaza) as the finest of four buildings by corporate architects Skidmore, Owings & Merill in New Orleans. Nolan, Norman & Nolan served as associate architects. Fountain by Isamu Noguchi. AIA Merit Award, 1963.

[F. Stock; photo: TSA NOVA]

Charity Hospital (1939)

Charity, originally uploaded by M Styborski.

The institution known as Charity Hospital (founded 1736) is almost as old as the city itself (established 1718).

The sixth Charity Hospital building was constructed in 1939 at 1532 Tulane by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, later known as the Public Works Administration. Architects Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth designed the 20-story building, the tallest hospital in New Orleans. It is adorned with bas reliefs by sculptor Enrique Alferez.

Charity has been closed since flooding after Hurricane Katrina. In 2008 the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Charity Hospital among its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Places. The future of this historic building and the 275 year old institution remains uncertain.

[F. Stock; photo: M. Styborski]

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pontchartrain Expressway at St. Charles Avenue

The elevated section of I-10 designated as the Pontchartrain Expressway begins as the interstate crosses the Orleans Parish line at the 17th Street Canal and leads to the Crescent City Connection (1958).

The footprint of the expressway largely follows that of the New Basin Canal, constructed in 1831-38 to facilitate transportation of goods between Lake Pontchartrain and downtown. The canal's significance to New Orleans' shipping declined after the opening of the Industrial Canal in 1923. Most of the New Basin Canal was filled between 1937 - 1950, making way for the Pontchartrain Expressway, Pontchartrain Boulevard and West End.

[photo: TSA NOVA]

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

HDLC to review request to demolish school listed on World Mounment Fund Watch 2010

Phillis Wheatley Elementary (going... going....

Charles R. Colbert considered the Wheatley School his highest accomplishment as an architect and planner. He served the Orleans Parish School Board as Supervising Architect for Planning and Construction from 1951-1953. In 1952 he produced A Continuous Planning and Building Program, a comprehensive study of existing facilities and plans for growth and development.  He resigned from this position to dedicate his energies to the practice of architecture.

In 1954 Colbert designed his third school, Phillis Wheatley Elementary a rather spectacular  elevated and cantilevered steel truss structure. The school was designed to meet contemporary programmatic needs on a modest urban site in a hot and humid climate.  Elevating the school above grade created a wealth of shaded playground space. This also saved the main structure from flooding after Hurricane Katrina. The cantilever and welded steel trusses kept the playground free of obstructing columns which would have been required in a conventional post and beam construction system. The classrooms and restroom facilities are connected by a continuous gallery.

The school was honored nationally with the Top Award by The School Executive, Better School Design Competition. In 1955 Progressive Architecture awarded the design by citation. In 1958  Omer Blodgett, a world renowned structural design engineer, praised the design of this "most unusual and spectacular arc-welded structure" in an article for Progressive Architecture. Wheatley was exhibited internationally by the U.S. State Department in Berlin in 1957 and in Moscow in 1958.  In 2008 The Louisiana Landmarks Society recognized the school in its list of New Orleans' Nine Most Endangered. Currently the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School is recognized by the World Monuments Fund 2010 Watch

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stein's (1947)

Steins (1947), originally uploaded by regional.modernism.
In 1935 Stein's, the New York based men's clothing store, opened their first store in New Orleans on the downtown corner of Canal and Carondelet. In 1947 they moved into a new store designed by August Perez on the uptown corner of Canal and Carondelet.

The 3-story modernistic building was wrapped in cellophane and red ribbons prior to the grand opening ceremony conducted by Mayor DeLesseps S. Morrison on May 15, 1947. The opening of the air conditioned store heralded a 'new era in New Orleans post war merchandising.'

Today the building houses Lady Foot Locker.

[F. Stock; photo: Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library]

YMCA (1960)

YMCA 1960, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.
In 1959 architects Roessle and Von Osthoff designed a new ten-story 186-room dormitory for the Young Men's Christian Association on Lee Circle.

The Times Picayune reported that the facade of the new YMCA "building will be circular in structure to fit the association's concave frontage. It will be encircled by a solar screen of cast stone, an architectural pattern to provide for privacy and protect from sunlight."

This new construction fronting the avenue would also incorporate parts of existing structures on site originally designed by Favrot and Livaudais in 1931 with additions and alterations by Jones and Roessle in 1950.

The YMCA building was renovated and reopened in 2001 as Le Cirque Hotel.

[photo: TSA NOVA]

Robert E. Smith branch, New Orleans Public Library (1956)

Real estate agent and contractor Robert E. Smith donated funds to construct the the 12th branch of the New Orleans Public Library on city-owned land at Canal Boulevard and Harrison Avenue in Lakeview.

Designed by architects Albert J. Saputo and Albert C. Ledner in 1954, the Robert E. Smith branch opened in April 1956. The 2400 SF octagonal building featured a pleated 8-gable roof with clerestory beneath.  Ledner also used the folded-plate roof design for the  National Maritime Union hall on Tchoupitoulas and Washington.

The branch was razed and replaced with a larger structure in 1979. The replacement library building was razed in 2009. Construction of a new library branch is in progress.

[F. Stock; photo: Louisiana Division/City Archives, New Orleans Public Library]

St. Mary's Dominican / Loyola Annex (1968)

From 1910-1984 St. Mary's Dominican College offered Catholic liberal arts education to young women. In 1967 architect J. Buchanan Blitch designed a modern residential hall for the campus at St. Charles Avenue and Broadway.

Blitch designed the five-story galleried dormitory to complement the historic architecture of Greenville Hall (Wm. Fitzner, 1882). The 220 bed residence hall opened in the fall of 1968.

Dominican College closed in 1984 and sold its campus buildings to Loyola University.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Glass Menagerie :: exhibition opening

This exhibit features work by eight New Orleans-based glass artists. Inspired by Tennessee Williams' play of the same name, the installation includes glass art by Mark Morris, Joshua Cohen, Carlos Zervigon, Francine Stock, Althea Holden, Stephen T. Fuller "Drake," Nick van der Does, and Christian Stock. Artists featured in The Glass Menagerie employ a range of techniques--from glass blowing to sandblasting to kiln casting. The resulting visual menagerie presents both thematic and tangible ties to Tennessee Williams' epic play, presenting The Glass Menagerie as you have never seen it before.

Exhibition details:
The Glass Menagerie
March 12 - May 30, 2011

Exhibition Opening:
March 12, 6-10pm
Trouser House
4105 St. Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA 70117

Cabana Club Apartments (1959)

Architect Bernard J. Aronson designed the Cabana Club Apartments in 1958 on St. Charles Avenue and Conery - the site of the former Madame Desire A. Chaffraix mansion. The 'ultra-modern' 35 unit apartment building was developed by the architect's brother, Norman Aronson, and opened for occupancy October 1, 1959. Amenities included air conditioning, ample closets, wall-to-wall carpeting, and sliding doors opening to the landscaped courtyard and 40' x 16' swimming pool.

[F. Stock; photo: TSA NOVA]

Dr. Lyman K. Richardson Residence (1955, razed)

In 1955 Dr. Walter Gropius juried Progressive Architecture's second annual Design Awards Program.

The Times-Picayune reported, "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."

One of these was a residence for Dr. Lyman K. Richardson designed by Curtis and Davis architects. It stood at 7 Glenwood Avenue in Harahan, but was recently razed for new development.

[photo: Curtis and Davis photos, SEAA]

Mahorner Clinic (1951)

Mahorner Clinic, originally uploaded by regional.modernism.
In 1950 Dr. Howard Mahorner commissioned Curtis and Davis, architects to design a medical clinic to be built on the riverside of St. Charles Avenue near Josephine Street. Curtis and Davis had recently completed an office building for physicians on Louisiana Avenue near Touro Hospital.

The L-shaped building was designed to conform to the lot and to accommodate parking for 25 cars. The exterior of the two-story steel-frame building was finished in brick and stucco. The building was recently renovated for Best Koeppel.

[photo: TSA NOVA]

Physicans' Office Building (1950, razed)

In 1950 Curtis and Davis designed a medical office building near Touro Hospital at 1520 Louisiana between Prytania and St. Charles. The building contained ten physicians' offices of various sizes on the two main floors with a penthouse office suite and rooftop terrace above.  Construction costs were estimated at $150,000. The building has since been razed and is now a surface parking lot.

[photo: 1974. New Orleans Virtual Archive, Tulane School of Architecture]

Union Savings and Loan (1958)

The Union Savings and Loan Association (established 1866) embarked on a significant expansion and renovation of their main office in 1958.

The five-story Union Savings and Loan building at Carondelet and Perdido streets was enlarged and completely re-modeled by Harry Banker Smith of August Perez and Associates. For the exterior Smith composed bands of vertical black porcelain enamel panels, turquoise mosaic tile, Italian marble and aluminum-framed glass in a minimalist fashion.

The Times-Picayune reported on the interior, "The main feature of the lobby is the large curved marble and formica counter which is capable of serving several lines of persons at a time. Walnut paneling, glass partitions, custom-built furnishings and terrazzo floors, with floral arrangements and hand-painted art on the walls are included."

The custom cabinetry, designed and built by Riecke Cabinet Works, remains largely intact. Riecke (established 1905) also built custom furnishings for the National American Bank branch at Lee Circle (razed 2007) and the main court room of the Supreme Court Building in the Civic Center (razed 2008).

[F. Stock; photo: E. Ardoin]

National American Bank Building (1929)

Moise H. Goldstein Associates designed the 23- story limestone and steel National American Bank Building at 200 Carondelet in the Upper Central Business District. This Modernistic skyscraper is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jens B. Jensen, Consulting engineer; George T. Glover, contractor.

[photo: Southeastern Architectural Archive, Tulane University Libraries]

One Shell Square (1972)

One Shell Sqaure (1972)
In April 1970 piles were driven 210 feet deep for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's 51-story office tower for Shell Oil Company in the square bound by Poydras, Carondelet, St. Charles and Perdido streets.

The 212.45 m (697.0 ft) skyscraper, 700 car garage and landscaped plaza were completed in 1972 and recognized as the 'Most Outstanding Structure' in 1974 by the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. Associate architects were August Perez and Associates. It is the tallest building in New Orleans and the state of Louisiana.

Other local buildings designed by SOM include the Pan American Life Company (2400 Canal), John Hancock Building (1055 St. Charles), and Bank of New Orleans Building (1010 Common).

[F. Stock, photo:New Orleans Virtual Archive Tulane School of Architecture  ]

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Burglass Furniture Store (1945-47, razed 2008)

In 1912 Abraham Burglass purchased the site at Canal and S. Liberty streets for his furniture store. The store was completely rebuilt in 1945-1947 by architect Rathbone E. DeBuys (c. 1874 -1960) and contractors Perrilliat-Rickey Construction Company in an art moderne style. The building was razed in January 2008.

[photo: F. Stock, TSA NOVA]