Friday, September 21, 2012

Frenchtown 1911

We recently came across an early article by New Orleans architect, educator, librarian and preservationist Nathaniel Cortlandt Curtis, Sr. (1881-1953). The work was one of the first to posit a "Creole architecture" in New Orleans based on social customs and climate. As a young architect, Curtis dichotomized the demands for structural integrity and "orderliness" against the artistic romanticism evoked by the city's oldest (and rotted) buildings:

"[The architect] cannot translate its decayed beauty into new and fresh materials; and even when he tries to preserve some of the antique character of the building, the result is almost certain to be inharmonious and offensive to his own artistic sense."

Image above: N.C. Curtis, "Map of the Older Section of New Orleans, Locally Known as 'Frenchtown'." In "The Creole Architecture of the Old South." The Architectural Record XLIII:5 (May 1918): p. 437.

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