Friday, June 27, 2014

Alabama Road Trip

We came across mention of the Birmingham Ornamental Iron Company recently, and wondered about its 1968 corporate headquarters (letterhead above). According to a November 2012 Google Streetview image, the building is still standing at 4363 First Avenue North.

In the 1960s, the Birmingham Ornamental Iron Company supplied ironwork based on models developed by French-born New Orleans wood carver Maurice Heullant (†1981). These were utilized for the column capitals and cornice of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, which opened in  August 1969. Heullant's papers and some renderings are located in the Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Images above:  Birmingham Ornamental Iron Company, Inc. Letterhead. 11 April 1968. Box 141. Koch and Wilson Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Former Headquarters of the Birmingham Ornamental Iron Company, 4363 First Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama. Google Streetview. November 2012.

Monday, June 23, 2014

French Quarter Fisheyes

In April 1973, New Orleans photographer Frank Lotz Miller took these fisheye lens images for architects Curtis & Davis. Both structures are 1960's era French Quarter motor hotel complexes designed by Curtis & Davis in collaboration with preservation architects Richard Koch and Samuel Wilson, Jr. The first to be completed was the Royal Orleans (top image), which opened in 1960. The second was the Royal Sonesta, which opened nine years later (bottom image).

Images above:  Frank Lotz Miller, photographer. Royal Orleans. 5 April 1973. Curtis & Davis Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Frank Lotz Miller, photographer. Royal Sonesta. 5 April 1973.  Curtis & Davis Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Mapping Merriment

In the early 1950s, New Orleans illustrator Beverley Verdier designed a number of promotional materials for the Chamber of Commerce. One of her posters was utilized in travel agency and steamship offices,(1) and her similarly designed brochure was circulated to the 1959 American Institute of Architects national conference attendees, including Walter Gropius. Tulane University, cocktails, jazz and burlesque shows featured prominently in her colorful design.

(1)"Travel Posters Good." The Times-Picayune (22 August 1954): p. 32.

Image above:  Beverley Verdier. "A Map of Merriment and Opportunity." New Orleans: The City You'll Never Forget. New Orleans: Chamber of Commerce, c. 1953-54.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NEW! SEAA Digitization Project

Over the next six months, the Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI) will be digitizing a substantial portion of the Southeastern Architectural Archive's building trade catalogs for inclusion in the Internet Archive's Building Technology Heritage Library.

The nucleus of the SEAA's trade catalog collection came directly from architects practicing in the New Orleans metropolitan area who received them in the course of doing business. Many of the catalogs bear the office stamps of these architectural offices; some include architects' conceptual sketches in the marginalia. The collection has steadily grown over the last thirty years, and the SEAA continues to acquire trade catalogs from a variety of sources. These ephemeral publications document myriad aspects of the building trades, from drawing materials and tools to construction materials and methods, finishes, fittings, furnishings, paving, plumbing and heating equipment, mechanical and electrical systems.

Although the vast majority of the SEAA's catalogs represent the American building trades, the collection includes catalogs of Spanish azulejos, British mantels, French ironwork and Italian terrazzo. It is especially strong with respect to the Southern Pine Association, the largest timber trade organization in the South, which printed and distributed catalogs from its New Orleans headquarters.

Above:  Catalog cover. Albert Weiblen Granite and Marble. Office 824 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA. Circa 1900. Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. View the full brochure here.

Friday, June 6, 2014

NEW! Richard Koch Finding Aid

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently finalized the processing of the Richard Koch Papers and Photographs. The collection consists of photographs, negatives, papers and architectural drawings associated with the personal life and preservation work of New Orleans architect Richard Koch (1889-1971). Papers date from the 1920s-1950s and relate to Koch’s support of various preservation advocacy organizations, including the Vieux Carré Association, the Vieux Carré Commission, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the American Institute of Architects’ Historic Preservation Committee. A majority relate to Koch’s historical reports concerning municipal squares comprising the Vieux Carré. Although the majority of correspondence relate to historic preservation efforts, some letters are personal in nature, and Koch communicated with a wide array of artists, property owners and architects, as well as with extended family in Argentina and Germany. Smaller-scaled sketches representing architectural details are included among Koch’s papers.

Image above: Richard Koch, photographer. Chartres Street [619 Congress Street]. Contact prints mounted to index cards. Richard Koch Papers and Photographs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.