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Louisiana: The Latest Architecture and News

It’s Time to Be Honest About the Impending Costs of Climate Change

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

The passage of the Biden Administration’s climate change package, the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” has predictably split along partisan lines, with Republicans characterizing the bill as an act of reckless government spending, certain to raise taxes and fuel further inflation. But does this act really represent reckless spending? The legislation authorizes $430 billion in spending, the bulk of which—more than $300 billion—is earmarked for tax credits; other spending, and initiatives aimed at stimulating the clean energy economy; and reducing carbon emissions. (The bill also allows Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies for certain expensive drugs.) The bill is funded in part by a 15% minimum tax on large corporations and an excise tax on companies that repurchase shares of their own stock. Given the scope of the problem, and the escalating future costs of climate inaction, this legislation is an exceedingly modest, but very necessary, first step.

Sasaki Designs a New Future for 660-Acre Greenwood Park in Baton Rouge

Interdisciplinary design practice Sasaki has unveiled new details of the 660-acre Greenwood Community Park and Baton Rouge Zoo Master Plan. The Parks and Recreation Commission of East Baton Rouge Parish (BREC) approved the first phase of the plan to move into design and implementation, and since then the team reached out to over 4,000 Baton Rougians over the course of nine months. The masterplan and park proposal aims to be reflective of the community’s needs as they imagine a new future together.

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These Are Jan Gehl's Methods For Building Good Cities

We now know that first, we form the cities, but then the cities form us.

Meet 81-year-old Danish architect Jan Gehl who, for more than fifty years, has focused on improving the quality of urban life by helping people to “re-conquer the city.” Gehl has studied the relationship between life and form since the mid-1960s, when he started questioning the modernist approach of looking at the architectural model from above instead of from the inside. The architecture of that time was very often "an obsession with architecture for architecture’s sake," and took very little interest in the inhabitants.

Wang Shu: "Architecture is Not Just an Object That You Place in the Environment"

[Architecture can] change the life of people and give them a new one right away. This is not a job for normal people to do. This should be the work of God.

Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Designs Low-Income Housing Prototypes in Mozambique

The Department of Human Settlements at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts' School of Architecture, Design, and Conservation has developed a new low-income housing prototype for Maputo, Mozambique in southeast Africa as part of the Casas Melhoradas research project. The prototype reinterprets the area’s traditional “Casa de Madeira e Zinco,” which is made of wood and corrugated iron sheets, and the "Casa de Blocos," which is composed of concrete blocks.

Brad Pitt: "I Get This Well of Pride" Over Make It Right's New Orleans Work

Brad Pitt: "I Get This Well of Pride" Over Make It Right's New Orleans Work - Featured Image
The Float House / Morphosis, Make It Right. Image © Iwan Baan

Ten years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf coast of the US, hitting New Orleans the hardest. Two years after the wake of this destruction, after seeing the city's lack of rebuilding progress firsthand, Hollywood star and architecture enthusiast Brad Pitt launched Make It Right, a project set to build 150 houses designed by 20 internationally renowned architects.

Over the past eight years, Make It Right has not only helped to rebuild the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans—the area struck the hardest by the disaster—but has also began to spread its work to Missouri, Montana, and New Jersey, with more projects coming soon. While the non-profit organization has had success in its endeavors, it has simultaneously faced a great deal of criticism.

In a recent interview with NOLA, Pitt discusses some of these criticisms, reflecting on the growth of the organization, and the changes it has made. Find out about Pitt’s evolving perspective, after the break.

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Video: Tour Through Trahan Architects' Sculpted Louisiana Sports Hall and Museum

A contemporary museum set within the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, Trahan ArchitectsLouisiana State Sports Hall of Fame and Regional History Museum is distinguished for its sculpted interior and contrasting copper facade. Watch the short film above as Spirit of Space tours through the building, capturing the museum’s historic context and central pathway.

AD Round Up: Mardi Gras Edition

February 17 is Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” traditionally a Catholic holiday that celebrates the last night of indulging in guilty pleasures before participating in the penitential season of Lent. Celebrated around the world with elaborate parties, parades, dancing, and other frivolities, its festivities are most famously celebrated within the United States today in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, the site of the first American Mardi Gras.

Three Finalists to Develop Strategies for Vacant Land Reuse in New Orleans

Three finalists have been selected to move forward in the Van Alen Institute (VAI) and New Orleans Redevelopment Authority’s (NORA) “Future Ground” open ideas competition. Each will be provided with a $15,000 stipend to investigate and develop long-term design and policy strategies for vacant land reuse in New Orleans.

“Too often, vacant land has been seen only as a remnant of or absence within the 20th century city,” described the VAI. “Today, with a critical mass of designers, policymakers, scholars, artists, activists, and residents creating pilot projects, thoughtful studies, and new kinds of urbanism on abandoned properties, it is possible to imagine this land as an integral part of the future city.”

The Debate Over Making It Right in the Lower Ninth Ward

Ever since the New Republic published Lydia DePillis's piece entitled "If you Rebuild it, They Might Not Come" - a criticism of the progress of Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation - numerous blogs and journals have been in a uproar, defending Make It Right's efforts at rebuilding the vastly devastated Lower Ninth Ward and presenting a much more forgiving perspective on the progress of the neighborhood since the engineering disaster that exacerbated the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. To date, 86 LEED Platinum homes have been designed and constructed by world-renowned architects including Frank Gehry and Morphosis, at a cost of approximately $24 million. Make It Right has promised to build up to 150 such homes, but DePillis's article points out how amenities in the neighborhood are low and how the number of residents returning to the neighborhood is dwindling. Make It Right has made a commitment and the debate that ensues questions whether it is going far enough in delivering its promise to rebuilding community.

Find out more after the break.

Holy Rosary Church Complex Succumbs to Redesign

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Courtesy of Holy Rosary Church
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The FLOAT House - Make it Right / Morphosis Architects

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© Iwan Baan

Architects: Morphosis Architects Location: 1638 Tennessee St, New Orleans, LA 70117, USA Project Year: 2009 Project Area: 88.0 sqm Photographs: Iwan Baan

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Make It Right completes Frank Gehry-designed Duplex

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© Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right

Make It Right is proud to announce the completion of the Frank Gehry-designed, New Orleans’ duplex in the Lower 9th Ward. The colorful, LEED Platinum home is part of an affordable and sustainable community that is currently being developed by Brad Pitt’s Make It Right foundation within the NOLA neighborhood most devastated from Hurricane Katrina.

“I really believe in what Brad is doing for the community and was honored to be included,” said Frank Gehry. “I wanted to make a house that I would like to live in and one that responded to the history, vernacular and climate of New Orleans. I love the colors that the homeowner chose. I could not have done it better.”

Continue after the break for more.

Acadia Parish Conference Center / Trahan Architects

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Courtesy of Trahan Architects

Located to the north-east of Crowley, a small town in Louisiana known to be the “Rice Capital of America”, the Acadia Parish Conference Center by Trahan Architects will mediate the threshold between the urban development to the west and the agricultural fields to the east. Envisioned as an extension of the landscape, the center creates a harmonic balance between the two environments, expressing the importance of local agricultural.

Continue after the break for more on the Acadia Parish Conference Center.

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Bayou-Luminescence Installation / ISSSStudio + PATH

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Courtesy of ISSSStudio + PATH

Bayou-luminescence, one of ten site-specific installations commissioned by the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was a collaboration between Igor Siddiqui, the principal of the Austin-based design practice ISSSStudio and Matt Hutchinson, the principal of San-Francisco-based firm PATH. The project was included as a part of DesCours, the annual architecture and art event on view at various locations in city from December 2 through 11, 2011. More images and architects’ description after the break.

In Progress: Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects

In Progress: Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame / Trahan Architects - Featured Image
Courtesy of Trahan Architects - Renders by By-Encore

The Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame (LSMSHOF) celebrates two seemly disconnected subjects within one contemporary venue, combining North Louisiana’s profound history with its influential world of sports. Designed by Trahan Architects, in coordination with Method Design and CASE, the new $12.6 million venue will house donated memorabilia that embodies “the contributions of the diverse cultures that have shaped the state and are crucial to understanding the unique traditions and legacy of Louisiana and the Gulf South.” A complex design, generated with the help of BIM technology, reflects the disparate subjects in one fluid structure encased within a locally inspired facade.

Continue reading for more information and images.

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