Thursday, March 5, 2015

KUDOS to the Digital Commonwealth. . .

For digitizing the Norman B. Leventhal Center map collection. The Center, part of the Boston Public Library system, is dedicated to the creative educational use of its cartographic holdings. They have created a fantastic GIS-based interface.

The map reproduced above is an inset map titled Plan de la ville de la Nouvelle Orleans telle quélle était en mai 1728, and it includes the names of property owners for  Vieux Carré structures originally documented by the French cartographer Jean-Baptiste Gonichon.

Image above: Francis Barber Ogden, cartographer; Peter Maverick, engraver. Inset map from To General Andrew Jackson and his brave companions in arms on the 8th of Jany. 1815 this plan of the city of New Orleans is respectfully dedicated. 1829.Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

WTC: Concrete's Poster Child

As Edward D. Stone's International Trade Center and Curtis & Davis' Exhibition Center (Rivergate) neared completion, the Portland Cement Association featured the structures in its Fortune magazine advertisements. Utilizing an illustration by poster artist Bob Peak (1927-92), Portland's copywriters stressed that concrete made good "business sense."

"Concrete gives a world trade center built-in sales appeal. The buildings of New Orleans' new International Trade Center are designed to serve the buyers and sellers of merchandise from every corner of the world. Here, through the imaginative use of concrete, is expressed the very spirit and pace of modern-day trade. In the Convention-Exhibition building, the New Orleans architects used a concrete barrel shell roof to create striking beauty, as well as an interior clear span of 225 feet, sufficient to seat 17,600 people. Textured exterior concrete walls provide tasteful concrete throughout. The highly compressible qualities of New Orleans' soils were mastered by prestressed concrete piles, providing firm foundations for the light but strong reinforced concrete frame and floors designed by advanced new structural criteria. Gleaming exterior curtain wall panels of precast concrete assure visual interest."

Image above: Bob Peak, illustrator for Portland Cement Association. "Concrete Gives a World Trade..." Promotional flyer. [Published in Fortune July 1965].  Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, March 2, 2015

WTC: First Thoughts

Edward D. Stone's early proposal for the International Trade Mart, located at the foot of Canal Street/The Mississippi River (1958). The structure is now known as the World Trade Center, and the city is currently reviewing five proposals for its rehabilitation.

From: The Annual Report of the Mayor. New Orleans: 1958/59. Jones Hall Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Friday, February 27, 2015

NEW! Audubon Park Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently finalized the processing of its Audubon Park Drawings. The collection includes scant architectural renderings – mostly blueprints – and one set of specifications pertaining to Audubon Park, situated on the former Foucher Plantation Tract and now located in the Sixth Municipal District of New Orleans, Louisiana. Two sheets reflect the park’s layout in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, one sheet indicating the position of Horticultural Hall (1884) and its proximity to the Louisiana Science and Agricultural Association’s experimentation station, designed by James Freret (1889). Four drawings are products of the Olmsted Brothers’ office in Brookline, Massachusetts (1918-1924). These are based on blueprint copies of New Orleans architect Emile Weil’s bandstand (1916-1921). Another set of blueprints and specifications reflect park commissioner Walter Cook Keenan’s designs for the flying bird cage in the Audubon Park Zoo, a Works Progress Administration project (1936; 1948) that replaced an earlier structure by Sam Stone, Jr.

 If you are unfamiliar with the Southeastern Architectural Archive's holdings, consult its list of "Finding Aids by Collection Name."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mapping the Mid-Century CBD

With so much development underway in the Central Business District, it seemed the right time to mention R. Johnston Riker's mid-century map. Referring to the area as the "Coeur d'Or" -- the Golden Heart -- Riker mapped New Orleans from the Mississippi River to Loyola Avenue and from Canal Street to Poydras. By indicating banking institutions, jewelers, realtors, department stores, trade organizations and petroleum interests numerically in relationship to one another, Riker established the thematic clustering of these enterprises.

The map also included the ill-fated Riverfront Expressway tunnel between the Rivergate ["Exhibit Hall"] and the World Trade Center ["Trade Mart"].

Image above:  R. Johnston Riker. Golden Heart/Coeur d'Or District: Financial Business Professional Wholesale Center. New Orleans, undated. Toledano, Wogan and Bernard Office Records. Box 7. Folder 13. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ben Shahn in the SEAA

In 1949, United States Gypsum Company art director Ione Shriver hired social-realist artist Ben Shahn (1898-1969) to illustrate its promotional journal, Popular Home. The late spring issue was dedicated to "small homes" and to suggest that theme, Shahn painted two carpenters putting up framing. The painting became the basis for the cover image shown above. The son of a carpenter, Shahn began to work as a commercial artist after the Second World War.
U.S. Gypsum distributed its journal to various regional dealers, including the E.A. Enochs Lumber Company in Natchez, Mississippi. The Southeastern Architectural Archive's copy was printed for Enochs and mailed to the Monteigne Plantation.

After the Second World War, the U.S. Gypsum Company leased 15 acres from the Dock Board along the Industrial Canal. In 1956, it built a $40 million plant on the site. Utilizing calcium hydrous sulphate imported from Jamaica, the New Orleans operation produced sheet rock wallboard, Rocklath plaster base and gypsum sheathing.

Images above: Front and back cover. Popular Home: Small Homes Review Issue  6:3 (Late Spring 1949). Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Year, New Guides

For those of you conducting architecture-related research, we have updated our two Research Guides. Tulane University Libraries employ LibGuides, a content management system developed by the folks at Springshare. In January, we migrated to LibGuides 2.0 v2 and these are the results.

Depending on the nature of your inquiry, either of the guides may be more beneficial than the other. One focuses on general architecture research, and the other is more specific to historic preservation and heritage conservation issues. For genealogists conducting research regarding ancestral properties, the historic preservation guide may prove the most helpful.

Historic Preservation Research Guide

Architecture Research Guide