Time Stands Still in New Orleans as Historic and Modern Design Styles Coexist
photo ©2023 The Elegant Fowl
From old to new: (L-R) Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church, built in 1857 (and rebuilt as an exact replica in 1930), Père Marquette Building, originally built by the Jesuits in 1925 (currently the Renaissance Pere Marquette), and the Strand NOLA, originally built as the Boeing HQ in 1962 and was the tallest building in New Orleans until 1967 (converted in 2015 to an Aloft Hotel and The Strand apartments).
“We’re in New Orleans. It’s a great city with important and iconic buildings,” Mark Hash, Senior Designer at the architectural firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, explains.
Many buildings and homes in New Orleans have been around since the early 1800s, and they are still full functioning buildings. New Orleans is known for the early 19th century style of architecture, and it is something that gives the city a “real” and “historical” feel for tourists and natives alike. But with a constant push for progress, convenience, upgrades, and change, what does that mean for New Orleans?
Perhaps it’s not just about the architecture in New Orleans; rather, it’s about how we view the architecture here.
“In the Irish Channel, Marigny, and Bywater there are two or three house typologies that create a field of the urban context. Because they’re so many of them and they’re so similar, people don’t necessarily see them [the nuances]… What I see is that those buildings have been expanded, raised, and changed over time all in unique and individual ways. What I get inspired by is trying to understand the subtle differences between those buildings,” says Hash.
As an architect in this iconic city, his eye is on the subtle rather than the obvious. Something that may be even more subtle than the medallions, moldings, and scalloped siding that you can find in and around New Orleans, is the way time plays a role in what we build and how we build it.