Monday, March 31, 2008
The Pan American building, 1952, designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill marks a turning point in New Orleans corporate architecture. Located on the 2400 block of Canal St. the Pan American Life Insurance building is set back from the street occupies an entire city block. The building is one of the first corporate buildings in New Orleans to adapt the international style to local conditions. Employing a skin of metal fins to block the sun and a steel structure that allow spans of over 60’, the building marks a turning point in corporate local modernist architecture. Originally located in a residential district, the Pan American building rises to a mere 6 stories with a 2-story plinth in the back.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
St. Frances Cabrini Church was located on the campus of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini School at 5500 Paris Avenue before its demolition in June 2007.
The Cabrini Church and the adjoining school complex was designed by the prominent New Orleans architectural firm of Curtis and Davis in 1961. It was one of the best examples of modern Architecture in New Orleans using innovative structural systems and design strategies. It receiving honorable Mention from the Church Architectural Guild of America as well as an Award of Merit by the Louisiana Architects Association. It was one of the earliest designs to incorporate ideas from the restructuring from the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution. The Church integrated several building types into a cohesive singular design. The structure was most notable for its expressive us of a thin-shell concrete roofing system. Curtis and Davis became one of the pioneers of this roofing system. They also successfully used geometric brick façade, which grounded the building in the local context while achieving a unique modern building.
Due to its importance as a modernist building in New Orleans, it is my intention to create an informational resource on the building.
Photo by Frank Lotz Miller. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections, Tulane University Libraries
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Entry by: Scott Burroughs
The Piazza d’ Italia is an example of historic architecture developed through the lens of post modern style. It gives reference to the five classic orders, while including its own illuminated sixth. It utilizes classic Italian colors and alludes to historical Italian features. At the same time, it entertains the modernists with progressive materials and natural awareness of its urban context.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I will be researching the Dr. Henry G. Simon Residence, designed by Charles R. Colbert in 1961, at 922 Octavia Street. The single family home was built for a young pediatrician, his wife, and three small children. The house consists of four pavilions which enclose all living functions and are connected by glassed-in walkways which create a series of private, yet related courtyards. The four pavilion's roof shapes were influenced by tropical huts which shed downpours using thatch and palm fronds. This house modernizes a primate concept and relates it to the surrounding New Orleans context. The design recieved an AIA merit award in 1961 for its innovate design. I am interested in the ways that the different components of indoor and outdoor space relate to one another to create unique living areas. I would also like to research the historical influences of design as a way to better understand how Colbert studied simple designs and transformed them to meet the needs of a modern society.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Colbert describes how the formal structure of the Phillis Wheatley School was informed by the desire to create additional play space for the children on a relatively compact urban site.
“The city building code was interpreted to allow Wheatley to be a one-floor structure. Because of this decision, the design could combine the advantages of an exposed steel structure, without fireproofing, while concentrating its reduced weight on pile supports. The entire classroom structure was raised above grade to allow the enlargement of a diminutive play area and to create a play yard. Conventional post-and-beam construction would have created a field of hazardous columns throughout the play area while the use of the full effective depth of the cantilevered steel trusses eliminated most of these obstructions. The entire classroom structure was housed within twelve shop fabricated trusses and the twenty-two classrooms were located within this simple floor-to-ceiling structural envelope. Secondary steel joists spanned from truss to truss and supported the horizontal roof membrane, while floors consisted of six inch deep double tongue and groove wood decking that spanned between trusses. The truss, better recognized in bridges, thus became more than the support for a roof system. This old and widely used structural assembly allowed efficient shop fabrication, simple assembly, and a reduced job site construction period. The raison d’etre, to free the play yard, developed into something more."**
The result was stunning. Airy, light-filled classrooms, elevated from the street, gave the effect of a modern tree-house, an appropriate and poetic setting for a child’s classroom. The elevation of the Phillis Wheatley School protected the classrooms from the post-Katrina inundation of the city. Sadly the building is a victim of decades of neglect. The facility does require some intervention. The steel trusses could certainly benefit from a coat of paint. Also, the clear glass was replaced long ago with cheaper opaque plexi-glass panels. Improvements in glass and automated HVAC make it possible to renovate Wheatley to perform better than originally.
Both Phillis Wheatley and Thomy Lafon Elementary Schools were built on raised piers that saved them from the floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina. The open space underneath the elevated structure helps cool the building in our climate. This structural conceit is borrowed from the French Colonial tradition. Breezes naturally cool an elevated structure. In the case of Wheatley and Lafon, the elevated structures also created a wealth of covered play space, protected from the elements. Both schools were built with a sensitivity to local environmental conditions. The exterior walls were glass in Wheatley, mostly glass in Lafon. This gave the children new perspectives, as well as an abundance of natural light and ventilation. It is tragic that so many of the later generation of school buildings were designed as nearly windowless detention cells.*** Colbert encouraged his fellow architects to consider the “emotional and spiritual needs of children” in their design of school buildings.****
The George Washington Carver Junior-Senior High School was praised as a model school for the nation. Integrating a junior and senior high school on the same campus as an elementary school allowed the schools to share some common facilities.***** The striking design of the auditorium with its concrete vault and hinged bridge-like buttresses helped establish Curtis and Davis as architects on the international stage. Progressive Architecture’s recognition of this school with its highest design award in 1958 is a tribute to the architectural quality of Carver High School as well as the design reforms set in place by Charles Colbert.******
* Colbert previously designed McDonogh 36 / Mahalia Jackson Elementary School (1954) and the Hoffman Elementary School (1954). Sol Rosenthal was the architect of record. Hoffman uses a truss structure to span the roof and McDonogh 36 uses a truss structure to span an elevated corridor.
** Idea: the Shaping Force, Charles R. Colbert, pp. 73-74.
*** See: Cohen High School
**** “Today’s Criteria of Design for School Buildings,” 18 Talks, Charles R. Colbert, pp. 117
***** Curtis and Davis also designed Helen Sylvania Edwards Elementary School on the site. Edwards Elementary was approved for demolition in Dember 2007. See: http://blog.nola.com/news_impact/2007/12/masterplan122007.gif
****** Colbert first articulated the idea of the “school village” in 1952. Idea: The Shaping Force, p. 48.
Monday, March 24, 2008
satellite photo of George Washingon Carver Junior and Senior High Schools, Google Map
* The alliance between Charles Colbert of the Tulane School of Architecture, and Jacqueline Leonhard of the Orleans Parish School Board was profiled in Time Magazine in 1953. Through their efforts a plan was developed and embraced to create “ultra modern” schools in New Orleans. “Mrs. Four-to-One” Time, March 16, 1953.
** A Guide to the Architecture of New Orleans 1699-1959 by Samuel Wilson, Jr.
*** In the same year, Curtis & Davis received the AIA Merit Award for St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Elementary School. This school and the St. Frances Cabrini Church (Curtis & Davis, 1959) were demolished in 2007.
**** New Orleans Public School Review, 1950
Friday, March 14, 2008
The use of the phrase "complete replacement" in the SFMPOP assessments is potentially misleading. Is the RSD actually considering replacing all of these facilities?
Map of schools listed in Samuel Wilson’s A Guide to the Architecture of New Orleans 1699-1959
Red pins represent schools that have been demolished or are threatened by “complete replacement.” Schools represented by green pins are safe. They are private schools. Of note, Brother Martin High School in Gentilly managed to renovate and re-open by February 2006. Google map by Francine Stock.
* "RSD Plans 47 School Demolitions," City Business, February 25, 2008. There are some older historic school buildings which are also threatened, including Arthur Ashe Elementary School (1907, E.A. Christy, architect). See: Squandered Heritage and Think New Orleans. Shaw Elementary (1939, E.A. Christy, architect) is also among the threatened.
** Demolished: Hynes, White, Kohn, Henderson. Replaced in mid-1980’s: McDonogh 40 (Jordan), Moton. To be demolished: Abrams, Jefferson Davis, Hardin, Edwards. Alfred Lawless High School (Charles Colbert, 1960) is also slated for demolition, but is not listed in Wilson’s Guide, as it was built after 1959. For Recovery School District Press Release see: http://www.louisianaschools.net/lde/comm/pressrelease.aspx?PR=968
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
PHASE ONE: Creating a data file.
1. Download midmodmap.csv and Templatemodmap.csv from Blackboard Course Documents.
2. Rename Templatemodmap.csv as Yournamemodmap.csv
3. Copy lines of data that relate to buildings you photographed from midmodmap to Yournamemodmap and save. Make sure you enter your name in the column for photographer name. You will use ths file to assist with uploading photos to Flickr and for your ultimate submission of image files to the New Orleans Virtual Archive.
PHASE TWO: Uploading photos to Flickr.
1. Download the Flickr Uploadr relevant to your OS. See: http://www.flickr.com/tools/
2. Log in at Flickr.com
3. Using the Uploadr, upload photos in SETS, corresponding to the building name or address.
4. Image size should be at least 1024x768, but you can upload a larger file if you wish.
PHASE THREE: Info
1. Select images (click on thumbnails and a pink border will surround selected images.)
2. descriptions: COPY line of data from Yournamemodmap.csv and PASTE into description box.
3. tags: From the description of the photo copy and paste the following in double quotes.
EX. "Chapel of the Holy Spirit" "Claude E. Hooton" "1100 Broadway St., New Orleans, LA" "Francine Stock" and geotag photos with a triple tag, ex. geotagged geo:lat=29.941522 geo:lon=-90.123601
4. Click CREATE A SET. Name it with the building name.
5. Click UPLOAD. When upload is complete - go to Flickr.
PHASE FOUR: In Flickr
1. Check data. Sometimes descriptions are multiplied. I do not know why this happens. But please try to keep the data clean if it does. Copy and paste clean set of data into description field if necessary.
2. Verify tag info is correct.
3. MAP photos. Go to MAP. Select photos. Enter Street address, new orleans, LA. Drag photos to proper point.
4. ORGANIZE > Sets & Collections. Place set in proper collection (housing, schools, commercial etc)
I think that's it. For now at least. Looking forward to seeing the photos!
Sunday, March 2, 2008
I went to wikipedia to learn more about geocoding photos: embedding latitude and longitude coordinates into the photo's file information or EXIF. (In photoshop: FILE > FILE INFO > EXIF) One can geo-tag in an online photo sharing program like Flickr or Picasa. But this only tags the smaller image files that have been uploaded to these sites. I would like to geotag my master image files. Apparently one can manually enter these coordinates into the photo's EXIF, but that sounds like a bore.
Wikipedia lists two desktop applications, iTag and Robogeo, for geocoding photos. At first glance, neither is an ideal fit for me; iTag is free, but windows only; RoboGeo is $39.95, and I'm trying to accomplish this task without purchasing additional software. hmmmm.