Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Alumaglass Corporation

Alumaglass Corporation, based in New Orleans, was a custom aluminum fabrication business that was very popular with the city's modernist architects. Albert Ledner, Nathaniel C. Curtis, Jr. and Arthur Davis all ordered products from the company, and Alumaglass used the architects' award-winning projects in its advertisements.

The Automotive Life Insurance Building (4140 Canal Street; 1963) was one such project (above). Designed by Curtis & Davis, the office building was the recipient of multiple national and regional awards. Alumaglass used the building's image in its August 1964 Louisiana Architect promotion.

Alumaglass also fabricated Albert Ledner's circular windows that pivoted along the horizontal. These were used in the buildings he designed for the National Maritime Union in Manhattan, New York (1963-67).

Image above:  Louisiana Architect (August 1964): p. 11. Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bungalow Elements

The Southeastern Architectural Archive retains a large collection of building trade catalogs that provides examples of bungalow plans, millwork, interior designs, wallpaper, paint samples and garden features.  Local millwork suppliers included the National Sash & Door Company, the Hortman Company and the Lafayette Sash & Door Company.

Images above:  Bungalow Balusters, Doors, Porch Rails and Windows from National Sash and Door Company. Sash Door Blind and General Millwork. New Orleans, 1919.

Bungalow Brackets, Rafter Ends from Lafayette Sash and Door Factory. Standard Miniature Millwork Design Book. Lafayette, Louisiana, 1928.

Both publications are from the SEAA's Architectural Trade Catalogs, Collection 89.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


The Southeastern Architectural Archive’s Bungalows exhibit is the first such to focus on Gulf Coast  vernacular bungalow and cottage architecture.  Issues of stylistic and typological adaptation, sustainability and climate-specific design are highlighted with the use of original architectural drawings, historic photographs, building trade catalogs, material samples and subdivision surveys. The focus of the exhibit is on regional innovation and adaptation.

The exhibit draws on the holdings of the Southeastern Architectural Archive, the Garden Library of the New Orleans Town Gardeners, the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive, the Louisiana Research Collection and the Tulane Legacy Collection.  The exhibit includes architectural drawings recently conserved with the generous support of the Marjorie Peirce Geiser and John Geiser, Jr. Fund for the Southeastern Architectural Archive and the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library’s Preservation Unit.

Co-curated by Keli Rylance and Kevin Williams, BUNGALOWS  opens 16 May  in the Southeastern Architectural Archive (SEAA) and runs through 20 May 2015.  The SEAA is located at 6801 Freret Street/300 Jones Hall, on Tulane University’s campus.  Hours are 9-12 and 1-5 Mondays-Fridays. Admission is free.


Martin Shepard, architect.  Bungalow for Miss Celia [Cecilia] Dunn. 
Claiborne Avenue. New Orleans, LA.
Pencil and colored pencil on tracing paper.  29 May 1915.
Martin Shepard Office Records.

The 1915 construction of the South Claiborne Avenue streetcar line encouraged speculative house building. Times-Picayune writer Flo Field proclaimed, “A cow moos softly in the sunshine. There will be blackberries—maybe—in the hedges in May. Well, it is a great chance for the bungalow!”

Shepard developed this plan for Marks Isaacs milliner Cecilia Dunn.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

de Montluzin Building

With the former Knights of Pythias Temple (corner Loyola and Gravier) in the Central Business District unsheathed, it seemed a good time to bring out this presentation rendering of its modernized form as developed by New Orleans architects George J. Riehl and R.E.E. de Montluzin. Benson & Riehl's Saratoga Building (1956) may be seen along the left edge of the drawing, and Shaw & Metz's 225 Baronne Street (1963) appears on the right.

It is worth mentioning that Riehl's presentation renderings can be particularly spectacular. He worked as an architectural draftsman for Weiss, Dreyfous and Seifeth before entering into partnership with former Emile Weil, Inc. partner, Herbert A. Benson. The Southeastern Architectural Archive retains Riehl's rendering of a proposed rebuilding of the French Opera House that is especially noteworthy.

Image above:  George J. Riehl and R.E.E. de Montluzin. de Montluzin Building/Chitwood Construction Company. Photograph of rendering. Undated. Benson and Riehl Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The NOLA Bungalow Debate

In 1913, New Orleans architects Nathaniel C. Curtis, Sr. (1881-1953) and Morgan D.E. Hite (1882-1959) debated regarding the suitability of bungalow architecture to New Orleans. Curtis argued that the New England colonial style worked best for the region, while Hite championed the bungalow. Read excerpts from their Times-Picayune opinion pieces here.