Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sanlin Building

Sanlin Building
Sanlin Building, originally uploaded by regional.modernism. 442 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA
photographer: LeBoeuf source: Tulane School of Architecture, New Orleans Virtual Archive
I'm in the process of reviewing documentation of Modernist architecture along the Canal Streetcar Route and will eventually create a map of these sites. So while that is in the oven, feast your eyes on this vintage beauty. Ahhh, the Sanlin Building! One of my favorite facades in the city. While many Modernist buildings have aged in unflattering ways, the Sanlin facade is mostly intact.

The Sanlin cladding encases a Greek Revival building. Usually I am in favor of restoring building facades to their original intent. But the Sanlin is different. I tend to think of cladding as a skin, but here it's more structural. The clean lines and linkage of gold and silver aluminum panels also remind me of Grandpa's Timex, another mid century classic.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the child is the monument

Dozens of public school buildings in Orleans Parish are threatened by demolition or "complete replacement" in the preliminary School Facilities Master Plan.

Tonight (Thursday 7.10) there is a Facilities Master Plan Community Update Meeting at the Dryades YMCA, 2000 Philips St. @ 6:30 PM.

My concern for the fate of our Modernist monuments does not supercede my concern for the fate of our children. In fact, they are entwined. Charles Colbert, architect was the original designer of the new school building program initiated in 1950. He encouraged his fellow architects to consider the "emotional and spiritual needs of children" in their design of school buildings. "The child is the monument," he wrote.
Two of unoccupied school facilities, Thomy Lafon Elementary and Phillis Wheatley Elementary, were built on raised piers which saved them from the flood. The initial design was driven by a desire to create ample play space protected from the elements on an urban site. They were designed in a period of sheer optimism and growth. The conservation of these structures can serve as symbols of the city's rebirth, as we recover the future from the past.