Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Architectural Forum 1951

In 1951, The Architectural Forum reported on New Orleans architecture:

"The battle of the New Orleans schools started early in 1948 when school officials belatedly announced a $40,000,000 school building program, then released a shockingly antiquated quadrangle plan for a new elementary school in the crowded suburb of Gentilly. Appalled at the thought of this plan becoming a prototype for the whole program, Charles Colbert, then assistant professor of architecture at Tulane, gave his second-year students the problem of designing a first-rate school for Gentilly. The university backed the problem both as valuable practical experience for the students and as a public service. New Orleans newspapers gave the story a big play, and a utility company offered space and financing for a public exhibition of the best student designs.

Delighted by this chance to tackle a practical problem, Colbert's class of mature ex-GI's thoroughly research[ed] the Gentilly school requirements, talked to parents, teachers, school administrators, business men and civic groups to get their ideas. At the exhibition, models based on this intensive study [of] more than 30,000 people had such basic elements of contemporary school design as: single floor plans laid out for maximum economy, flexibility, and best sun and wind control; home-like classrooms bilaterally lighted and properly equipped for sound control and ventilation; auditoriums. . . cafeterias and playgrounds designed for community as well as school use; site selection based on the requirements of an increased number of outdoor activities, protection from heavy-duty streets, and proximity to student's homes."

Excerpt from pp. 104 The Architectural Forum 94 (February 1951).

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