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  7. Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects

Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects

  • 01:00 - 17 September, 2013
Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects
Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects, ©  Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

©  Tim Hursley ©  Tim Hursley ©  Tim Hursley ©  Tim Hursley +40

  • Architects

  • Location

    500 Front St, Natchitoches, LA 71457, United States
  • President / Design Principal

    Victor F. “Trey” Trahan, III FAIA
  • Project Architect

    Brad McWhirter AIA
  • Design Team

    Ed Gaskin AIA, Mark Hash, Michael McCune AIA
  • Project Team

    Sean David, Blake Fisher, Erik Herrmann, David Merlin, Benjamin Rath, Judson Terry
  • Area

    28000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

  • Interior Designer

    Lauren Bombet Interiors
  • Structural Engineer

  • Civil Engineer

  • More SpecsLess Specs
©  Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

From the architect. The Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame in historic Natchitoches, Louisiana merges two contrasting collections formerly housed in a university coliseum and a nineteenth century courthouse, elevating the visitor experience for both. Set in the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase on the banks of the Cane River Lake, the design mediates the dialogue between sports and history, past and future, container and contained.

Section 1
Section 1
First Floor Plan
First Floor Plan

Floor Plans Section 3 Section through Front Porch Diagram +40

Our exploration focuses on three questions. How does our design explore the client brief to exhibit sports and history simultaneously? How does it respond to the historic building fabric? How does it make a connection to context?

Our resolution is, first, to interpret athletics as a component of cultural history rather than as independent themes. While sports and regional history may appeal to different audiences, the exhibits and configuration explore interconnections between the two. The spaces flow visually and physically together, configured to accommodate state-of-the-art exhibits, education and support functions. Visitors however can experience both narratives either separately or simultaneously.

Models 2
Models 2
Models 1
Models 1

Second, historical pastiche is set aside in favor of a design language in response to the site. The internal organization is an extension of the existing meandering urban circulation, while the design mediates the scale and character of the historic commercial core and adjacent residential neighborhood. The "simple" exterior, clad with pleated copper panels, alluding to the shutters and clapboards of nearby plantations, contrasts with and complements the curvaceous interior within. The louvered skin controls light, views and ventilation, animates the facade, and employs surface articulation previously achieved by architectural ornamentation. The flowing interior emerges at the entrance, enticing visitors to leave the walking tour and into the evocative exhibit spaces within.

©  Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley

Third the design reflects the carving of the ancient river whose fluvial geomorphology inspired the dynamic interior form. The dynamic foyer is sculpted out of 1,100 cast stone panels, seamlessly integrating all systems and washed with natural light from above. The cool white stone references bousillage, the historic horse hair, earth and Spanish moss utilized by 17th Century settlers.The flowing surfaces reach into the galleries, serving as "screens" for film and display. At the climax of the upper level, the path arrives at a veranda overlooking the city square, sheltered by copper louvers, further connecting the interior to the public realm.

©  Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley
©  Tim Hursley
© Tim Hursley
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects" 17 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


civilian · June 10, 2014

that must have been an incredibe pitch made by this firm to get this through, perhaps that is what is most notable-

Skate 3 · October 02, 2013

Ohh, a sports shrine. Great.

Ramon · September 21, 2013

Being an architect I would have liked some info on materials and construction of the interesting shapes shown.

Dave S. · September 22, 2013 11:01 PM

Here is some information on the detailing and structural development done for the cast stone:
There are some additional links at the end of that that go into the cast stone fabrication processes as well.

Dave · September 20, 2013

okay, the details are quite beautiful, but that's construction, not architecture. Context is awful, but this building aspires for more. what the reason for the gut-like space inside. sure, looks cool but WHY? what does it have to do with anything? why not? is not an answer.

Andy · June 03, 2014 01:32 PM

Dave... first of all, you are right. 'Why not' avoids answering your question. It, however, does start down the path I agree with. Everyone wants a reason for every move and because of this I fear architects will end up pragmatic construction engineers (not used as an insult) whom only design the most cost effective, environmental, building with the slightest dash of pizzazz to incite a feeling of uniqueness which eventually will become ubiquitous. There is in the end an inherent understanding of form, space, and beauty... and variety. It is, while not necessarily inexplicable, hard to verbalize. It seems to emanate from this project and many of your other 'Why?' projects. The beauty of architecture as opposed to fine art (for me) lies in the rigorous application of practicality to these intuitive forms. This building seems to be detailed amazingly and constructed with the utmost care. Asking 'Why?' is frustrating to me. They took an abstract emotional form... whether it's based off a river system or not is really irrelevant (gets into where art comes from which is a new discussion)... and turned it into a seemingly functional building. That's architecture and if you don't like it go back to *insert appropriate decade or design motif here*.

juss · September 20, 2013 03:22 AM

The interior of building relates back to its site context '..the design reflects the carving of the ancient river whose fluvial geomorphology inspired the dynamic interior form.' I hope thats an answer.

haircut · September 18, 2013

I'm the first to dismiss a generic Schumacher blob but this is quite beautiful. The detailing of the "1,100 cast stone panels" is crisp and the splines are obviously more refined than most of the blob canon.

And come on, look at that front elevation and tell me you don't start drooling.

Marius · September 18, 2013

a great mixture of Herzog/de Meuron and Coop Himmelb(l)au

Croco Dile · September 18, 2013

Making plastic art to a building. Why not !?

JG · September 18, 2013

Yes, that is a good start Dave. Now look into it's contextual relevance and significance in architecture / construction management. The 2012 AIA Technology in Architectural Practice BIM Award, is not easy to receive. Congrats to both teams @ Trahan and CASE

Dave · September 18, 2013

one has to wonder what is the point here.

Kyle · September 18, 2013 07:55 AM

There aren't any, at least in the interior anyways . . .

Sophie · September 17, 2013

Quite similar from the outside to Herzog de Meurons ( In my opinion there is not well designed disparity between the outer appearance and the interior. The entrance exemplifies this in a very strong manner.


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©  Tim Hursley

路易斯安那州立博物馆和体育名人堂 / Trahan Architects