Posts tagged with "Louisiana":

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New Orleans firm OJT redefines overlooked and undervalued properties

The Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series spotlight individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the discipline of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The jury, composed of Sunil Bald, Mario Gooden, Lisa Gray, Paul Lewis, Jing Liu, Thomas Phifer, Bradley Samuels, Billie Tsien, and Ian Volner, selected architects and designers who have significant bodies of realized work that creatively address larger issues in the built environment.

The Architect’s Newspaper featured the Emerging Voices firms in our February issue; stay tuned as we upload those articles to our website over the coming weeks. New Orleans–based OJT's Founder Jonathan Tate will deliver his lecture on March 23, 2017, at The Architecture League in New York City. Click here to learn more!

OJT is making waves in New Orleans with research-based work that redefines overlooked and undervalued properties. Founder Jonathan Tate is an Auburn graduate who experienced the Rural Studio under Samuel Mockbee and spent 10 years in Memphis working for Buildingstudio (formerly Mockbee/Coker Architects). After a sabbatical to study at Harvard, he relocated with the firm to New Orleans in 2008 and started OJT a few years later. “New Orleans just felt like the right place to be. We really cared about what was happening post-Katrina,” he said.

OJT is committed to applying scholarly methods to professional practice. The seven-person firm’s portfolio comprises architecture and planning work as well as self-initiated research, like mapping nonconforming properties in New Orleans. This odd lot of odd lots helped kickstart the firm’s Starter Home* project, a development strategy to build modern, speculative infill housing aimed at first-time buyers.   

The prototype Starter Home*, located at 3106 St. Thomas Street, is shaped by the limitations of its 16-and-half-foot-wide lot and historic setting. The metal-clad building riffs on vernacular forms and uses the allowable 40-foot height to make its narrow spaces feel large. It’s become a model for development in New Orleans, and Tate hopes to apply it to other cities. But he’s quick to point out that OJT isn’t a developer. “Development is a tool for us to continue to explore an idea, and to illustrate imaginative ways to work within rules and regulations,” he explained.

The Starter Home* at 4514 S. Saratoga Street further tests the limits of limitation—not only of the concept, but of architectural tropes. “We’re always negotiating this fine line,” Tate said. “They need to feel like a home but we also want them to be challenging.” OJT’s highly iterative process incorporates 3-D printing to rapidly test formal variations. “It all circles back to the desire to investigate.”

That desire also drives the Zimple house, built for the client’s father after he was diagnosed with dementia. Its clear sequence of spaces and central courtyard, which functions as a visual anchor, is informed by the firm’s research into the effects of memory loss. Located next to the client’s traditional camelback house, the project inverts the vernacular type to balance privacy and openness between the homes.

Although OJT has earned recognition for its residential projects, the firm is applying its methods just as successfully to commercial and cultural work like Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, a restaurant that adapts and subverts a fast food joint, and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, built in a repurposed historic market. “We’re a thoughtful practice that tries to engage every project type in a meaningful way,” Tate said. “This is an intellectual project for us. We’re always asking ourselves why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

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NBBJ’s New Orleans hospital embodies resilience

High performance and cultural relevance meet in concrete, metal, and steel mesh envelope.

For the stakeholders involved in building the new Rev. Avery C. Alexander Academic Research Hospital (also known as University Medical Center, or UMC) in downtown New Orleans, the project was about much more than replacing facilities damaged during Hurricane Katrina. "The grander story is the effort to rebuild New Orleans," recalled NBBJ principal Jose Sama. "There was a lot of emotional attachment to the original hospital, Charity Hospital, and also—rightly so—the pride the community has for the character of the city. Everyone wanted to make sure the project was going to be something that was of New Orleans." In a joint venture with Blitch Knevel Architects, NBBJ rose to the challenge with a design that subtly reflects the city's cultural heritage. The building envelope, a combination of precast concrete, metal panels, high performance glazing, and stainless steel mesh, contributed significantly to both the project's aesthetic aspirations and its performance goals. The overarching concept for UMC, explained Sama, was to "create a performance in place." For the architects, "performance" holds a double meaning. "Performance is embedded in [New Orleans] culture, but this is a more high-level sense of performance," said Sama. "Place," in turn, draws on the city's climate and character. "We looked at various clues in the urban environment and how those could affect the design," said Sama, recalling visits to the hospital's Canal Street neighborhood and the French Quarter. Then, of course, there are the environmental threats made all too clear by the Katrina experience. "We completed [the design] with the understanding that we had to create an envelope that could withstand hurricane-force winds and missile impact," said Sama. "That was an important piece of selecting the glass and the curtain wall system." In fact, most of the damage sustained by Charity Hospital was the result of flooding rather than high winds. As a result, the architects faced a mandate to elevate all critical hospital functions above 22 feet. "We envisioned this as a floating hospital," said Sama. "The notion was that the more public zones, the softer spaces like dining, registration, and the lobbies, would occur at the ground level. Then you move up to an elevated plane of critical services. That way they could function regardless of flooding." The building envelope reflects this programmatic move: The first floor of the central campus structure—the diagnostic and treatment center—is wrapped in a transparent curtain wall with a strong emphasis on the horizontal while the upper, critical floors feature a precast concrete facade. The two other project components, the medical office building and the inpatient towers, offer variations on the theme. The former is clad in an insulated metal panel system, the latter in precast concrete, glass, and stainless steel mesh.
  • Facade Manufacturer Harmon (window walls), Centria (metal panels), Cambridge Architectural (metal mesh)
  • Architects NBBJ, Blitch Knevel Architects
  • Facade Installer F.L. Crane & Sons (metal panels, diagnostic building), Crown Corr (metal panels, clinic), Harmon (glazing), River City Erectors (metal mesh)
  • Facade Consultants IBA Consultants
  • Location New Orleans, LA
  • Date of Completion August 2015
  • System precast concrete and metal panels with high performance curtain walls and stainless steel mesh accents
  • Products Harmon window wall systems, Centria insulated metal panels, Cambridge Architectural mesh in Mid-Balance, Scale, and Shade
A number of subtle gestures connect the hospital exterior to New Orleans' history and culture. One thing Sama noticed on his site visits was that "the notion of the garden is important, and the notion of getting outdoors." With that in mind, the architects created a central entry pavilion "designed such that you have a very pronounced sense of entry created by a porch, or a projecting eave—it almost has the effect of a trellis," said Sama. They also created informal gardens wherever possible. The signature garden, nestled between the towers and the diagnostic center, is water-based, and imagines the seating areas as lily pads floating on a pond. "The idea that here in the middle of New Orleans you find a water-intensive garden was really critical," said Sama. The patient towers, too, embody a strong connection to the outdoors via balconies for patients and staff. Metal scrims in Cambridge Architectural's Mid-Balance architectural mesh simultaneously provide aesthetic interest and fall protection. "We studied what we could do with the scrim," said Sama. "We think we picked just the right scale. It's appropriate for someone sitting on the balcony, but also for someone walking by." The mesh panels produce a "soft veil effect," he observed. "In the morning light, it glistens. The intent was to create a memory of Mardi Gras beads, in terms of color and glistening. People will pick up on that different times of day." Cambridge Architectural contributed to several other elements of the project. Mesh fins in the Scale pattern are attached with a custom cable tensioning system to the upper levels of the patient towers, to provide solar shading. On the parking garage portion, designed by Blitz Knevel Architects, 86 panels of Scale mesh again add both visual impact and fall protection without compromising ventilation. On the south elevation of the garage leading to the UMC helipad, a custom-built shade mesh fin system cuts solar gain and glare. Many of the references embedded in the new UMC hospital—the way in which the towers' orientations recall traditional New Orleans shotgun houses, or the connection between the stainless steel mesh and Mardi Gras beads—are so understated as to operate on almost a subliminal level. But like the city itself, the building comes alive at night, finally, and literally, revealing its true colors. "The building from the outside is very neutral," explained Sama. But thanks to accent colors on the inpatient tower stairs, revealed through translucent glass, plus accent lighting on the bulkheads above, after dark the towers shine, he explained. "The whole point was that at night they would glow with color from within."
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Before & After> Baton Rouge Proposes an Ambitious Greenway Overhaul

[beforeafter]06a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper 06b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter]   How the greenway might look as it passes through Expressway Park.   As AN reported in our latest Southwest edition, Baton Rouge and New Orleans are gearing up for changes across their respective urban landscapes with two new master plans by landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels. The firm has shared these before and after views of the proposed Baton Rouge Greenway, which provides "a vision for a greenway that connects City-Brooks Park near LSU’s campus on the south side of the city to the State Capitol grounds to the north, while stitching together adjoining neighborhoods and other smaller landscaped areas along the way" Slide back and forth to see existing conditions and SMM's plans for the area and be sure to learn more about the projects in AN's news article. [beforeafter]07b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper 07a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter]   How the greenway could enter the park at the terminus of North 7th Street. [beforeafter]08a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper08b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter]   Design concept street section through North 7th Street in Spanish Town. [beforeafter]09a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper 09b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter]   The design option for the street section through North 7th Street. [beforeafter]03b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper 03a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter]   The design option for the street section through North Boulevard. [beforeafter]02a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper 02b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter]   A wider, straight path going down the median of North Boulevard. [beforeafter]01a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper 01b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter]   How the greenway might look on this part of North 7th Street. [beforeafter]04a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper 04b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter]   What the greenway would look like going down the median of East Boulevard. [beforeafter]05a-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper 05b-batonrouge-greenway-archpaper[/beforeafter] A design option for the street section through East Boulevard.
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LSU’s Building Design Renaissance

ikon.5 Architects designs a reflective, fritted facade in the visual tradition of the campus’ original craftsmanship.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Jersey–based ikon.5 Architects had an opportunity to reinvent the image of Lousiana State University’s E.J. Ourso College of Business. The original campus, designed in 1928 by the Olmsted Group, was planned as an Italian Renaissance village, which functioned as the economic engine of Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico region for nearly 75 years. ikon.5 and local firm Coleman Partners Architects, used the circumstances of Katrina’s aftermath to give the business school a progressive image, while staying true to the University’s prescriptive aesthetic guidelines. Maintaining the classical layout of the main square—head houses at either end with smaller classrooms lining an expanse of lawn—the design committee made several concessions in the 2012 update. In the past, guidelines dictated that all buildings feature the original craftsmen’s stucco formula, which was made from crushed white pebbles and seashells. But for the 21st century, LSU’s Design Committee decided that updating materiality would be a forward-thinking representation of the school’s influence and thus approved a new glass skin for the business school’s graduate and undergraduate classroom buildings.
  • Facade Manufacturer Viracon, Oldcastle BuildingEnveloper
  • Architects ikon.5 Architects, Coleman Partners Architects, CDC
  • Location Baton Rouge, La.
  • Date of Completion 2012
  • System custom double-paned insulated glass unit, aluminum curtain wall
With the help of multiple glass vendors, the architects at ikon.5 launched a series of material studies yielding more than 100 pattern variations of ceramic fritting on glass that effectively represented the University’s characteristic stucco. “We wanted the wall to appear three dimensional,” said ikon.5 principal Joseph Tattoni. “We had thought of polished stainless steel panels, perforated for visibility, but on glass we could achieve that with a mirror effect.” The inherent coloring of the ceramic is naturally cream colored, but depending on the angle of the sun and the viewer’s vantage, the facade appears dynamic, shifting from ochre to champagne to blonde. Working with Viracon, the team designed a custom double-paned insulated unit. The outermost ¼-inch glass panel features a ceramic frit in a dot-line pattern that blocks 38.6 percent of visible light to minimize glare and solar heat gain. The inner lite features a reflective coating that creates the effect of a one-way mirror, reducing transmitted visible light by 29 percent and solar energy by 22 percent. This combination of management strategies was deemed the most effective for solar gain protection. While building performance was paramount, the designers were also very aesthetically driven. “We wanted an abstract representation of the historic campus,” said Tattoni. “It was clear we didn’t want any mullions, and for the building skin to appear not as windows but a monolithic glass surface.” Along with Coleman Partners Architects, Dallas-based facade consultant CDC helped devise a structural glazing system that could be adapted for an aluminum curtain wall manufacturer, eliminating mullions but supporting faint, flush joints. This structural element also ensures the glass building’s safety and code compliance in the hurricane-prone region.
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New Orleans Unveils Urban Water Plan That Embraces Flooding

[beforeafter]nola-urban-water-plan-07anola-urban-water-plan-07b[/beforeafter]   On September 9th, New Orleans unveiled an innovative proposal for flood management: the New Orleans Greater Water Plan. Designed by Dutch engineers and led by chief architect and planner David Waggonner of locally-based firm Waggonner & Ball Architects, the plan seeks to mitigate the damages caused during heavy rainfalls. The concept is simple: keeping water in pumps and canals instead of draining and pumping it out. The idea is to retain the water in order to increase the city’s groundwater, thereby slowing down the subsidence of soft land as it dries and shrinks. [beforeafter] nola-urban-water-plan-05b nola-urban-water-plan-05a[/beforeafter]   New Orleans is built on swampland and suffers ravaging damages when floods occur, as sea levels rise quickly and the community becomes quickly submerged. The current floodwater management system uses a forced drainage mechanism that dries lands quickly. This heavy reliance on drainage practices leads to damaged lands, severe soil imbalances, and subsidence. As the ground sinks, the city’s infrastructure weakens. Not only does this increase residents' exposure to risk when faced by a natural disaster, but it also diminishes the value of the area’s waterways as public assets. Under the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, floodwaters are retained rather than drained. During rainfall, water is slowed down through water retention and corralled into areas used as parks during dry seasons. The retained water is then channeled into canals and ponds that will help sustain wildlife, improve soil quality, and increase safety levels in case of flooding. Water will flow year round, ultimately maintaining the stability of soils and the general health of the city’s eco-system. [beforeafter]nola-urban-water-plan-08anola-urban-water-plan-08b[/beforeafter]   Nowadays, water-management is a particularly important issue as the world is looking for ways to appease and manage the impacts of climate change and increased human activity. Louisiana is currently experiencing the highest rates of sea-level rise, making the ‘Big Easy’ highly vulnerable to damages caused by intense downpours. The $6.2 billion plan would help mitigate flooding during heavy rainfalls, and repair soils that have been dried up by the previous flood management system, hence preventing further sinking of the ground under sea level. Refurbishing centuries’ old infrastructures will be challenging and it still remains unclear how the plan will be funded. The project’s estimated competition date is 2050. City officials believe that it would be effective in mitigating the risks induced by floods and will bolster the appeal of acquiring local real estate.The Urban Water Plan re-envisions New Orleans as a vibrant metropolis of ponds and canals. The core idea is to efficiently manage water, instead of trying to get rid of it. If successful, the plan will transform the city into an urban landscape filled with rain gardens and bioswales, create appealing waterfront properties, and promote home values. New Orleans is on the right track to becoming a potential leader in water management and a potential model for other cities around the world. [beforeafter] nola-urban-water-plan-06bnola-urban-water-plan-06a[/beforeafter] [beforeafter] nola-urban-water-plan-04bnola-urban-water-plan-04a[/beforeafter] [beforeafter]nola-urban-water-plan-09anola-urban-water-plan-09b[/beforeafter] [beforeafter]nola-urban-water-plan-03anola-urban-water-plan-03b[/beforeafter]
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Trahan’s Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Cast stone and steel become the medium for collaboration at Trahan Architects’ newest project.

Trahan Architects’ Louisiana State Sports Hall Of Fame and Regional History Museum was designed with northern Louisiana’s geography in mind. Located in Natchitoches, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, the 28,000-square-foot building overlooks Cane River Lake at the boundary of the Red River Valley. While the museum’s exterior will be clad in a skin of cypress planks, a nod to the area’s timber-rich building stock, the interior spaces will be formed by a skin of more than 1,000 cast stone panels resembling land shaped by eons of moving water. As the panels begin to be installed, AN went behind the scenes to learn how the project is taking shape.
  • Fabricators/consultants CASE Inc. (BIM manager and fabrication technology consultant), Method Design (geometry and steel detailing consultant), David Kufferman PE (specialty steel consultant), Advanced Cast Stone (cast stone fabrication)
  • Architect Trahan Architects
  • Location Natchitoches, Louisiana
  • Status Estimated July 2012 completion
  • Materials Cast stone, steel
  • Process Geometric resolution, structural analysis, steel detailing, BIM
Creating the building has been a largely collaborative effort. Texas-based Advanced Cast Stone will fabricate the stone panels, but the team involved in realizing the design also includes specialty steel consultant David Kufferman, steel geometry and detailing consultant Method Design, and Case, the firm providing the project’s fabrication modeling, BIM management, and technology consultation. Using Trahan’s 3-D documents, Case developed a set of customized automation procedures to create a final 3-D model with all of the stone panels, each with its own geometry. “If there’s not repetition with the panel typology, there can be repetition with the process of creating the files themselves and not necessarily the geometry,” said Case partner Ruben Suare. The firm’s software-agnostic approach allowed them to build the proper interface with a range of tools across ten different software packages. These models were used for structural analysis and coordination of all building systems, as well as for outputting shop tickets for use during fabrication. “This is an ideal situation for us because we are managing all 3-D information across the process,” said Case partner Federico Negro. They also created a clash-detection matrix to show where thickened panels would conflict with the project’s structural steel framework, to which the panels will be attached with embedded connections. Method Design served as a consultant to the engineer and stone fabricator to resolve these issues. “We basically had to develop tools to manage the tools,” said Method partner Reese Campbell, who previously worked with Negro at SHoP Architects. In all, Method designed 30 connection types for 1,150 panels, each with between 6 and 15 connections (each panel may attach with three to four connection types). Installation of the cast stone skin has begun and is scheduled for completion in the spring of next year, with an anticipated museum opening in the summer. Panels range in dimension from 2 by 2 feet to more than 15 feet square—the largest piece, to be installed on the atrium’s second floor, will weigh nearly 3 tons. Because panels are stacked in an offset-brick pattern, they must be installed in a specific order. “Not only is the finish of the piece important, its alignment with its neighbors and the grouting is important,” said Negro. “It’s a piece of sculpture.”
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Bayou Ball

Construction began last month in Natchitoches, Louisiana, on the Louisana State Sports Hall of Fame and Regional History Museum. "What do sports and regional history have in common?" you might ask. Trahan Architects certainly had to ponder this question when figuring out an elegant way to combine the disparate program elements under one roof. In the end they took inspiration from Louisiana's geomorphology, basing their layout of interior spaces on "the fluid shapes of the braided corridors of river channels separated by interstitial masses of land." See exactly what is meant by this in the images after the jump.