Friday, December 19, 2014

Loewy in NOLA

French-born industrial designer Raymond Loewy (1893-1986) participated in a number of New Orleans-based projects spanning nearly five decades. He was consulted for the Canal Street Teche-Greyhound Bus Terminal (1936-37), designed interiors for the S.S. Cristobal (New Orleans-Panama Canal passenger vessel), the Trans World Airlines office Winds Aloft mural (700 Common Street), D.H. Holmes Oakwood Mall interiors (for Curtis & Davis, 1966), and the Jim Bean for the C.F. Bean Corporation (in collaboration with Stephen Degnen and William Snaith, 1973, shown above).

The latter received the American Iron and Steel Institute's 1975 Design in Steel Award for the Best Engineering Transportation Equipment for 1974-75. Bean engineers designed the hull, and the massive cutterhead dredge was constructed at the company's shipyard in Plaquemine, Louisiana. After being christened at the Bienville Street Wharf on 29 November 1973, the Jim Bean was towed to its first job at Bolivar Roads, Texas.

Image above: Carolina [formerly Jim Bean]. From Dredgepoint.org as viewed 19 December 2014. URL:  https://www.dredgepoint.org/dredging-database/equipment/carolina




Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Orleans 360˚

Fifty years ago, The Times-Picayune reported on an important shipment from Stamford, CT to New Orleans. The Macton Machinery Company had completed the fabrication and assembly of the enormous turntable to be installed on the roof of Edward Durell Stone's International Trade Mart (ITM, now World Trade Center). Created with 180 low supporting wheels and 45 horizontal stabilizing wheels, the turntable resembled an enormous lazy susan measuring 97'11" in diameter.(1) Macton's team reassembled the turntable in New Orleans, and the ITM's rotating restaurant and cocktail lounge, the Top of the Mart, celebrated its grand opening on 2 January 1967.

Macton devoted its operations to the manufacture of such steel turntables. They initially undertook much smaller platforms, first for tailors and then for portable entertainment. Popular Mechanics reported on their products during the 1950s-60s. Frank Lloyd Wright utilized Macton turntables in his Park Avenue Jaguar (later Mercedes-Benz) showroom (1955) and the Kalita Humphreys Theatre (Dallas, 1959).

In 1911, millionaire Mary (Mrs. Levi Z.)  Leiter designed and built a revolving glass summer house in Beverly, Massachusetts:

"It stands at the end of some small gardens on a terrace overlooking the beach and sea. Its roof is constructed of small poles and is supported by rustic posts covered with rough bark. Around three sides of the structure heavy plates of glass are set. Curtains within are so arranged that the occupants can protect themselves from the hottest glare of the sun's rays. The structure is balanced upon ball bearings as nicely as the carriage of an expensive telescope."(2)

While Leiter's invention was meant to provide a healthy recreational experience, it was an Alsatian-born waiter turned restaurateur who patented revolving dining room floors in order to reduce the wear and tear on service workers. Antonie Martzolf filed his revolving dining room floor scheme in 1914 while managing the Gustony Restaurant at West 32nd Street in New York. He also developed a patent for a combination electric match stand and waiter-signal device so that customers could signal staff without noise.

The New Orleans Monteleone Hotel's Carousel Lounge operates on a similar principle to Martzolf's revolving dining room floor, only with bar staff situated at the center while customers make their 15-minute rotation. The Carousel opened in early September 1949, with bartenders serving a trademark cocktail, the Carousel. Glenn Flanders (1913-98), a University of Missouri-Columbia fine arts graduate based in St. Louis, designed the original Carousel interiors.

In 1958, a father-son team from New Orleans patented a rotating circular bed with an attached headboard-shelving unit-chairs. But that's another story.


(1)"Ship Unit to N.O. for ITM Tower." The Times-Picayune 20 December 1964.

(2)"Revolving House for Mrs. Leiter Nicely Balanced on Ball Bearings." The Times-Picayune 29 May 1911.

Images above:  Popular Mechanics: January 1951 & July 1964.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

NEW! LWE Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently finalized the processing of its Louisiana World Exposition (LWE) records, with coverage dating from 1975-1984. Records primarily consist of project drawings  -- conceptual sketches and construction documents for structures such as the Wonderwall (Charles Moore, 1925-93; William L. Turnbull, Jr., 1935-97), the Aquacade, the Japanese Pavilion and the Italian Village. Most LWE renderings are oversized format mylar sheets, and many are copies of original drawings. The collection includes half-sized renderings for the Piazza d’Italia and corresponding development projects, the Italian Federation Complex and the Lincoln Hotels.

Read the complete finding aid here.

Image above:  Perez Associates. Main Downriver Entrance. [AKA “City Gate.”] Louisiana World Exposition. Conceptual Sketch. Undated. Photocopy on paper. Perez Associates 1984 Louisiana World Exposition Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NEW! Scheuermann Finding Aid

As New Orleans "Renaissance Man" Milton G. Scheuermann, Jr. celebrates his 55th and final year teaching for Tulane University, we thought it would be the perfect time to finalize the processing of his architectural records.

An ardent supporter of the Southeastern Architectural Archive, Milton has donated his own drawings, as well as those by former colleagues and mentors.

Read more about Milton Scheuermann & his collection here.

Image above: Milton G. Scheuermann, Jr. for Goldstein, Parham and Labouisse. French Opera House, Bourbon and Toulouse Streets. Scheme for Rebuilding. Client: Edgar B. Stern. Undated.

Monday, December 15, 2014

NEW! L&N RR Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently acquired a set of Louisville & Nashville Railroad engineering records. These consist of drawings on linen created between 1882 and 1942, representing various railroad structures located in the southern states of Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. Most renderings were developed by the Louisville & Nashville (L&N) Railroad Chief Engineer’s Office in Louisville, Kentucky to represent buildings and shelters for railroad passengers.

For researchers interested in the history of postbellum southern passenger and freight trains --especially accommodations for employees and travelers -- this collection may prove significant. It includes plans for rural and urban stations, some with segregated waiting rooms and some consisting of nothing more than shed roofs or outhouses. For those researching the transport of cotton, Georgia marble or Appalachian coal through southern markets, the collection may also provide beneficial information.

To see a complete inventory of the drawings, click here.

Image above:  Louisville & Nashville RR Chief Engineer’s Office. Mississippi City Passenger Station. Elevation on Track. Mississippi City, MS. February 1899. Louisville & Nashville RR Engineer's Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Water Fight

The Southeastern Architectural Archive (SEAA) and the Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI) recently completed a mass digitization project. Thanks to financial support from the APTI, nearly 700 of the SEAA's architectural trade catalogs have now been included in the Internet Archive's Building Technology Heritage Library.

The illustration above was used as the cover for the Kuhn Paint Company's promotional manual regarding waterproofing. Harry J. Kuhn managed the Kuhn Paint & Varnish Works, which was based in Houston, Texas. He was a prominent member of the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association's Varnish Manufacturers' Committee. As early as 1921, he sought to enhance his marketing by hiring New Yorker Allen B. Henry as his advertising and sales promotion manager.

After World War II, Kuhn distributed an important pamphlet written by Lonore Kent (1907-1993), who also penned Paint Power and How to Sell It and From the World's Four Corners for the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association. Kent's How to Win Your War Against Water itemized the need to establish good household ventilation and "vapor barriers."

You may wonder about representing moisture and paint in a bellicose relationship.

For more about the relevant history of building science, see Dr. Allison Bailes III's "Why Did Painters Refuse to Paint Insulated Houses in the 1930s?" Energy Vanguard Blog. 18 November 2013.

Image above: Lonore Kent. How to Win Your War Against Water. National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association, undated. Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

August Perez III

New Orleans architect August "Augie" Perez III (born Mardi Gras Day 1933) passed away on Friday, December 5th at the age of 81. A 1956 graduate of Tulane University's School of Architecture and once the business manager of the school's student publication, Perez was the son of architect August "Gus" Perez, Jr. (1906-98).

First licensed to practice architecture in 1957, Augie Perez joined the American Institute of Architects in 1960. He served on the board of directors of the Investors' Homestead Association, was a member of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the Metairie Country Club and the Le Moyne de Bienville Club. As spokesperson for August Perez and Associates, he frequently promoted the firm's innovations to business professionals and the media. Upon his father's retirement in 1980, he took over the practice and incorporated it, at the same time hiring a "hotshot stable of talented young architects."(1)

Under Augie's direction, the firm won the public competition to supervise the planning of the Louisiana World Exposition (1984). Responding to the honor, Perez emphasized:

"'The architectural statement made by the World's Fair will be the most important definition of New Orleans to be made by its own citizens during the 20th century. The World's Fair will be a challenge to open the riverfront as it has never been done before and to show that no American city can more perfectly restore and preserve the past than can New Orleans.'"(2)

The Perez firm garnered international attention and supervised the construction of projects designed by other architects such as Frank Gehry, Charles Moore, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.


(1)Jeanette Hardy. "August Perez Retires--Leaves Tall Legacy." The Times-Picayune 27 July 1980.

(2)Allan Katz.  "Master Planners Selected for World's Fair." The Times-Picayune/The States-Item 16 December 1980.


Image above: August Perez and Associates. Le Pavillon Hotel, 833 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA. 1970. [Addition to and modernization of the old De Soto Hotel, originally built as the Hotel Denechaud for Justin Denechaud by New Orleans architects Toledano & Wogan. 1905.] Perez Associates Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.