Architects: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple Location: New Orleans, LA, USA Consultants: Canal Construction of Louisiana LLC – General Contractor Client: U.S. Biennial, Inc. Project Size: 300 sf Completion Date: 2008 Photography: Will Crocker Photography, Steve Dumez
Prospect.1 New Orleans , the largest biennial of international contemporary art ever organized in the United States, 81 artists exhibited in museums, historic buildings, and found sites throughout New Orleans for three months. In 2008, the Welcome Center for P.1 was housed in one of these found spaces – the historic Hefler Warehouse – and served to orient visitors to the city and the biennial.
In cooperation with the New Orleans Downtown Development District, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, and U.S. Biennial, Inc., EDR designed the 300 square foot Welcome Center desk. The design was inspired by the shape and scale of shipping containers, a nod to the significance of the port to the city’s economy and a reference to the nature of delivery for much of the art exhibited for the biennial.
Due to constraints of time and budget – the entire project was designed and constructed in 6 weeks at a total cost of $28,000 – a single construction material was selected that was both inexpensive and readily available. Utilizing construction grade plywood as floor, wall, ceiling and structure, the internal form is manipulated to provide a hospitality desk, display counter, refreshment center and seating bench for visitors. Acting as a container within a container, the ribbed plywood exterior construction acts in dialogue with the wood structure of the historic warehouse, contrasting the architecture of old and new.