Friday, December 20, 2013

The Snowflake Motel

In 1963, the Southern Pine Association's public relations department corresponded with the New Orleans architectural firm of Nolan, Norman and Nolan to see if it would develop a series of instructional pamphlets related to home improvements such as enclosing a carport, adding a porch or building a game room. Each pamphlet would highlight the use of the company's products. The series would be marketed as a package to local lumber dealers. As an example of its promotional materials, Southern Pine sent architect Tom Holcombe its brochure, "New Dimensions of Design" that featured photographs of the wood's use in contemporary architecture. The publication included images of Taliesin Associated Architects' [William Wesley PetersSnowflake Motel (1962, above); William J. Mouton's Harahan residence (1963; below); and Henry G. Grimball's Orleans Marina (1962; below).
Images above: Southern Pine Association. New Dimensions of Design. New Orleans, LA. Circa 1963. Project No. 1064. William T. Nolan Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Atelier Curtis

In 1921, New Orleans architect-educator Nathaniel C. Curtis, Sr. (1881-1953) established a new studio for architectural instruction:

"The recently formed atelier of the Beaux Arts Institute of Design, organized among the draftsmen and junior architects of New Orleans for the purpose of studying the practical problems in architecture will begin to function in September. The atelier -- a studio club -- under the direction of N.C. Curtis, formerly professor of architecture in Tulane University, now associated with the office of M.H. Goldstein, architect, offers a course of systematic training in architectural design based on the regular programs issued by the institute from its headquarters in New York. The course is free, excepting for the annual registration fee of two dollars. No preliminary examinations of any kind are required but new students should have some skill in draftsmanship and a knowledge of the elements of architecture before proposing to affiliate with the atelier. . . Named after the originator of the organization here the Atelier will be known as the Atelier Curtis."

Building Review (August 1921): p. 12.

Monday, December 16, 2013

618 Baronne Street

Morgan D.E. Hite (1882-1959) designed this automotive showroom storefront for Baccich and de Montluzin's Architecture Department. M. Zilbermann used the space to exhibit his Mercers and Daniels Eights in 1918.

Image above: "Automobile Show-Room, New Orleans." Building Review VII:17 (June 1918): p. 23.

"Seasonal Will & Changing Moods"

In August 1918, the locally-published trade paper Building Review featured a story on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (AKA Industrial Canal). Morgan Dudley E. Hite (1882-1959), the newspaper's editor, summarized the excavation and piling work, volume of building materials, proposed water containment and anticipated completion date. His editorial also included his bird's eye view of the new canal, which is reproduced above. Hite was among those who envisioned the canal as a great advance:

"It has been objected that New Orleans 'has too much water' at her doors. The Inner Harbor-Navigation Canal Marks the beginning of the putting to use of this water in a scientific way, a proper placing and control of it, instead of as heretofore being subject to uncontrollable seasonal will and changing moods. Conservation at its best!

"When completed, this canal will rank with the half-dozen greater world canals -- only three now existing having a depth as great as the New Orleans undertaking -- the Panama, Suez and Kiel. Depth of sill-clearance of the locks is a test of the canal's greatness and importance -- the New Orleans lock will have 30 feet over the sill. It is by far the single greatest factor of port development yet undertaken by the Port Commissioners of New Orleans, and the engineering study of its economic factor destines it to be one of the nation's great and most highly co-ordinated industrial regions of the future, with every facility of modern commerce, transport by rail, river, canal, lake and ocean; for raw and finished product; banking facilities and a location in the heart of the South's greatest labor market."

The triplet buildings (4400 Dauphine Street) in the foreground space were completed under the  direction of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps in 1919.  The Board of Commissioners, Port of New Orleans, leased two of the buildings after World War I. The Board also subleased spaces to individual commercial ventures. The property reverted to the U.S. War Department during World War II and the name of the complex was changed to the New Orleans Port of Embarkation. After the war, the structures were known as the New Orleans Army Terminal, and in 1966 the Navy assumed custody, renaming them as the Naval Support Activity. In 1973, administrative changes within the Navy resulted in significant alterations to the exterior and the surrounding site. These were undertaken by associated architects Waldemar S. Nelson; Nolan, Holcombe, Apatini & Seghers; Nolan, Norman & Nolan; James P. Oubre and August Perez & Associates. On 3 July 1975, the buildings were dedicated as the F. Edward Hebert Defense Complex. In October 2013, the City of New Orleans acquired the complex.

Morgan D.E. Hite, editor. "Details of Construction." Building Review (August 1918): pp. 20-21. Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

See also: "Dedication Ceremony: F. Edward Hebert Defense Complex." Brochure. 1975. Project No. 1279. William T. Nolan Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

NEW! Edward Sporl Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently finalized the processing of the Edward F. Sporl Office Records. The collection consists of architectural drawings, specifications and correspondence associated with New Orleans architect Edward F. Sporl (1881-1956). His career spanned five decades and he developed projects for coastal Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as projects for the Cuyamel Fruit Company in Honduras. Read more about the architect and the collection here.

Image above: Edward F. Sporl, architect. Oriental Laundry [for Charles Tung]. Circa 1920s. Edward F. Sporl Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

1919 House Surgery

In December 1919, the local monthly Building Review -- which was published from the Whitney-Central Building and edited by local architect Morgan D.E. Hite -- reported on Hooverizing real estate:

"Henry J. Davison of New York calls it 'House Surgery,' describes it as Hooverizing applied to real estate but with the difference that this form of Hooverizing means conservation rather than self-denial.

'House Surgery, which applies to any building, be it an office or home, is the modern protest against waste. It is converting a liability into an asset. It is converting distortion into proportion, the antiquated and almost useless into the useful, discomfort into comfort, ugliness into beauty. It is Hooverism applied to real estate, but the term should not be misunderstood. By Hooverism is not meant sacrifice, but only the conservation of good material. The world is sick of destruction. Why tear down when one can alter? Many a piece of land to-day is cursed by the building upon it. By modicum of change, the distortion of such a building can be turned into beautiful lines of proportion, and the useless can be made useful as well as ornamental, and in so doing the value of the land and entire property increased a hundred per cent or more in value.

'The desire has always been for something brand new, as though there were a virtue in newness. It is strange that it took the world's greatest catastrophe to teach America, the most wasteful of nations, the schoolboy copybook lesson that a penny saved is a penny earned, and that economy is not meanness. It is in this new spirit that the significance and permanence of "house surgery" rests.'"

Building Review 8:12 (December 1919): p. 12. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Edward B. Silverstein, Architect

New Orleans architect Edward B. Silverstein (1909-1989) developed this 1954 proposal for the Saenger Theatre in Vicksburg, Mississippi. During the early 1950s, he worked on a considerable number of Saenger renovations. While his predecessor Emile Weil (1878-1948) was known as the original architect for many of the chain's southern theatres, including its landmark structure on Canal Street, Silverstein became the architect renowned for restoring them. His work on the Hattiesburg, Mississippi building (201 Forrest Street) brought considerable acclaim.

Image above:  Edward. B. Silverstein, Architect. H.H.D., delineator. Sketch of Proposed Saenger Theatre, Vicksburg, Mississippi [Detail]. Project Number 636. 1954. Pencil and colored pencil on tracing paper. Edward B. Silverstein Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Goodwill Industries

For those wondering about the building located at 2000 Jackson Avenue that is being demolished today (google streetview above), the structure underneath was designed by New Orleans architect Edward B. Silverstein for Goodwill Industries in 1958. His commission required the inclusion of a chapel, loading platform, terrace, kitchen, offices, a large work area and a salesroom for the nonprofit organization's job-training operations. Only the former sales and work areas lasted until 2013, and the exterior had been dramatically altered.

When Silverstein started the project in 1957, he hired surveyor F.C. Gandolfo, Jr. to review earlier surveys and develop new measurements for the existing conditions at the site.

Lot 24A was the Old Hebrew Rest Cemetery, partially bordered by a brick fence and remnants of its foundations, and dotted with "miscellaneous rubble and old tombs" and an established mulberry tree, hackberries, cedars and oleanders. Goodwill Industries acquired the site from Touro Synagogue -- which had owned the property since 1828 -- in August, 1957. The cemetery had not been used as a burial site for decades, and the New Orleans Rabbinical Council made arrangements for appropriate reinterments.

After the site was cleared, pile driving commenced on 30 October 1958. Mayor deLesseps Morrison cut the ribbon at the building's formal dedication on 24 September 1959.

Second Image:  Edward B. Silverstein, Architect. Goodwill Industries. Detail of East Elevation. 17 February 1958. Edward B. Silverstein Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Third Image: F.C. Gandolfo, Jr., surveyor for Mr. Ed. Silverstein, Arch. Lot 24A Square 299 Fourth District. 20 May 1957. Edward B. Silverstein Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Carrie Nation's Visit

In the winter of 1907, temperance leader Carrie Nation (1846-1911) stopped in  New Orleans on her way to winter in Guadalajara, Mexico. On December 19, she entered the St. Charles Hotel Cafe and Bar (image above) at 4:00 pm in order to condemn alcohol consumption. The Daily Picayune reported that customers responded with shouts of 'Put her out!' and 'You've got no chance in New Orleans, Carrie!'

Before reading her temperance poems, Nation berated the decor:

"Glad female figures, scantily attired, adorned the walls, and these were a special object for Carrie's comment. She 'chewed the rug plum off,' as the popular expression goes, and a number of the 200 or more men who crowded the cafe before she had finished her five-minute talk were visibly touched, although the majority were smiling and winking at the novelty of hearing a woman who was bold enough to penetrate the mysteries of the swinging screen doors at the entrance."

Thwarted by her attempts to meet the hotel-bar proprietor, Nation departed to address the Y.M.C.A.

Quoted matter from: "Carrie Nation of Saloon Smashing Fame is in Tub City." The Daily Picayune (20 December 1907): p. 11.

Image above: Gravier Street West from St. Charles. Circa 1907. Photomechanical reproduction from unidentified source. Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Brick Nomenclature

In the summer of 1891, Carpentry and Building magazine addressed the regional nomenclature of brick making and reported on New Orleans specifically

"Down in New Orleans where our friend Blaffer lives, the place where the water runs away from the river instead of running into it which is also the home of the 'manly art,' bricks, too, are made in very great quantities. The Blaffer Brick and Lumbering Company have a yard that is the model of neatness. This is a river yard, and the clay used by such yards is called 'batture.' It is the silt which floats down the river during high water and settles in pockets or eddies formed to catch it. When the water recedes this dries out, and is then carted outside the levees into great banks ready for use. A brick yard has been run in this same place for nearly 40 years. Each year the river is sure to rise and the silt to come down and the batture formed for another season's works. Back from the river the clay is what is called 'buckshot,' because when dug it breaks up in hard, square pieces.

"The bricks at New Orleans are graded; first as 'foundries,' which are the softest and used for lining crucibles; then the 'salmon' for chimneys. They call their best 'bench brick,'and all others 'klinkers,' which are used for foundations. On the old yards around New Orleans they use mud or tempering wheels that would be a curiosity to a Northern man. They are fully 12 feet or more in diameter, with a 6-inch broad solid tire and rim. They clay is only about 6 or 8 inches deep in the pit and is simply mashed in tempering it. The shaft on which this wheel runs has no ratchet, and the wheel is made to travel in or out by being thrown off of a center at its axes. On these yards they use three-brick molds, dumping on narrow pallets split out of hemlock. On one of these yards, run by an old French Creole, he told me that his pallets had been in use over 35 years."

Excerpt from "Nomenclature or Vernacular in Brick Making." Carpentry and Building (1 July 1891): p. 169 as viewed through ProQuest American Periodicals from the Center for Research Libraries, a subscription database available at Tulane University Libraries.

Image above:  Salvaged brick, recto and verso.Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.