Wednesday, December 10, 2014

August Perez III

New Orleans architect August "Augie" Perez III (born Mardi Gras Day 1933) passed away on Friday, December 5th at the age of 81. A 1956 graduate of Tulane University's School of Architecture and once the business manager of the school's student publication, Perez was the son of architect August "Gus" Perez, Jr. (1906-98).

First licensed to practice architecture in 1957, Augie Perez joined the American Institute of Architects in 1960. He served on the board of directors of the Investors' Homestead Association, was a member of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the Metairie Country Club and the Le Moyne de Bienville Club. As spokesperson for August Perez and Associates, he frequently promoted the firm's innovations to business professionals and the media. Upon his father's retirement in 1980, he took over the practice and incorporated it, at the same time hiring a "hotshot stable of talented young architects."(1)

Under Augie's direction, the firm won the public competition to supervise the planning of the Louisiana World Exposition (1984). Responding to the honor, Perez emphasized:

"'The architectural statement made by the World's Fair will be the most important definition of New Orleans to be made by its own citizens during the 20th century. The World's Fair will be a challenge to open the riverfront as it has never been done before and to show that no American city can more perfectly restore and preserve the past than can New Orleans.'"(2)

The Perez firm garnered international attention and supervised the construction of projects designed by other architects such as Frank Gehry, Charles Moore, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

(1)Jeanette Hardy. "August Perez Retires--Leaves Tall Legacy." The Times-Picayune 27 July 1980.

(2)Allan Katz.  "Master Planners Selected for World's Fair." The Times-Picayune/The States-Item 16 December 1980.

Image above: August Perez and Associates. Le Pavillon Hotel, 833 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA. 1970. [Addition to and modernization of the old De Soto Hotel, originally built as the Hotel Denechaud for Justin Denechaud by New Orleans architects Toledano & Wogan. 1905.] Perez Associates Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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