Monday, July 16, 2012

Gehry in New Orleans

As Frank Gehry's new Make It Right house has been gaining attention, it reminded us that the Southeastern Architectural Archive retains drawings of the architect's first New Orleans project, the Louisiana World Exposition Amphitheater.

An American Institute of Architects award-winning structure, the LWE amphitheater was designed in 1983. Originally the city expressed an interest in retaining the amphitheater beyond the duration of the World's Fair, but the Dock Board  had concerns about the structure's impact on wharf operations and property owner Lester Kabacoff felt that it would obstruct river views.

The Liggett and Myers Quality Seal Amphitheater -- the structure's promotional identity -- was dismantled shortly after the fair ended.

Image above:  Inverted detail, Frank O. Gehry & Associates, Inc. L.W.E. Amphitheater. 12 January 1983. Perez Associates 1984/Louisiana World Exposition Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collection Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dedication of the Industrial Canal

This photograph was taken by an unidentified photographer on 5 May 1923 during the dedication of the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal. Governor Parker addressed the thousands who had gathered at the locks to celebrate the public holiday. Dauphine and Claiborne Avenue streetcars transported hundreds of visitors to the Ninth Ward location.

The photograph includes the steamboats Susquehanna and Aunt Dinah as well as a dock board tugboat that participated in the event's marine pageant.

Image above: Unidentified photographer. Dedication of the Industrial canal. 5 May 1923. Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Building Letterheads XII

Alexandria's Rapides Bank & Trust Company (RBTC), located at 400 Murray Street, was designed by the Bank Building & Equipment Corporation (1954). The company specialized in modernist design-build services, and had a significant affect on banking in both North and South America. In 1969, RBTC used its new bank as a gallery space, hosting an important Rodin exhibition that featured B. Gerald Cantor's collection now housed at Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center.

The Alexandria building is still standing and serves as a branch of Chase Bank. Its predecessor, the Old Rapides Bank & Trust Company building (1898), has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980.

The Bank Building & Equipment Company's lead architect Wenceslao A. Sarmiento also designed modernist branches of Hibernia Bank in Gentilly (1956) and Mid-City (1955).  Click here for photos and more information.

Image above: Detail, Robert H. Bolton, letter to Louisiana Landmarks Society, 25 August 1971, Louisiana Landmarks Society Records, Folder 556, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

New Orleans Molasses

Photographer and Precisionist painter Charles Sheeler (1883-1965) recommended New Orleans molasses for his Shoo-Fly Cake, as a Smithsonian archives intern recently discovered while processing the artist's papers. She recently adapted his recipe to create a vegan and gluten-free version. Read both his original and her modernized version  on the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art blog.

See New Orleans photographs by Sheeler's fellow Precisionist Ralston Crawford at the New Orleans Museum of Art through October 14th.

Friday, July 6, 2012

CFP: Port Cities

Port Cities as Hotspots of Creative & Sustainable Local Development
Naples, Italy  1-2 September 2012

The aim of the meeting is to discuss principles, tools and practices of creative places, for the identification of successful policies and for the formulation of recommendations to balance economic prosperity with social needs and conservation of eco-systems in reinventing the city.

In particular, it will be focused on the following goals:

1. to propose new ideas to strength the development strategies of port cities, combining new and old architecture;
2. to identify the necessary conditions for the design of the creative sector and sustainable developments in port areas/cities;
3. to map out learning modes based on creative practices or experiences in various parts of the world;
4. to seek for appropriate indicators and evolution tools for mapping out the performance of creative port area/cities development initiatives;
5. to identify innovative tools to implement UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape approach into an integrated perspective, that balances and integrates conservation and development;
6. to compare creative practices of conservation/development of port areas/cities, identifying critical elements;
7. to compare best practices in financing integrated conservation of historic urban landscape;
8. to interpret port areas as particular "places", as spaces of creativity, to be re-generated and/or created through design/planning;
9. to discuss the creative role of port cities in designing city future.

Call for Papers: The Scientific Committee invites researchers and practitioners to submit abstracts of papers for presentation at the meeting. The deadline for abstract submission is July, 20th 2012.

Event website:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Building Letterheads XI

In 1946, New Orleans builder Clarence M. Wise purchased the old First District Engine House Number 13 and renovated it as his drafting and engineering offices. He altered the facade and added air conditioning.

By the early 1960s, the Wise Building was razed to accommodate a parking lot, and SOM's One Shell Square is now situated on the site. Wise Builders' residential structure mentioned in the above correspondence fared better, for it is still standing at the intersection of Cherry and Apple Streets in the Seventh District.

Image above: Detail & Full Page, T.J. Madden, letter to Guy Seghers, 8 March 1950, Guy Seghers Office Records, "7th District, Square 368 (Carrollton)," Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.