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Carver Theater, SoFab museum and PanAm Life building among 18 winners of Louisiana Landmarks Society

24 Feb 2015

The offices of the Tulane School of Social Work, several buildings on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard and the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy in Algiers were among the 18 winners of this year’s Louisiana Landmarks Society Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation. The awards honor renovation, restoration and new construction projects completed last year in neighborhoods throughout New Orleans, except the French Quarter.

“The variety and caliber of the projects were amazing this year,” said Sandra Stokes, a member of the awards selection committee. “They ranged from individual homes to large-scale projects. There also was a major resurgence in one area — the O.C. Haley area — which is great to see.”

The selection committee, which included local architects, historians and representatives of the Historic District Landmarks Commission, was on the lookout in particular for projects that “demonstrated that historic preservation could be a tool to revitalize older neighborhoods,” showed sustainable and eco-friendly elements and supported “the cultural and ethnic diversity of the preservation movement.”

This year’s winners include:

The Tulane School of Social Work, 127 Elk Place: DonahueFavret Contractors, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple architects, Tulane University — Located in the 1917 Elks Building, the School of Social Work’s third and fourth floor offices are housed in a repurposed space that “balances design, safety and security with user need, program and institutional identity, while providing an inviting learning, teaching and collaboration environment,” the award program said.

518 Natchez St.: studioWTA, Vieux Nouveau Properties LLC — Described as “an exercise in urban density,” this project renovated two adjoined three-story brick row houses in the Central Business District. The 8,200-square-foot space includes ground-floor offices and five apartments. “Historic elements of the buildings’ architecture were preserved wherever possible, the highlight being an intricately detailed bathroom within a vaulted brick structure on the ground floor of the building,” the award program said.

850 Tchoupitoulas St.: Trapolin-Peer Architects, Woodward Design+Build — Originally designed by architect James Dakin, this mid-19th century building houses retail space on the first floor and office space on the two upper floors. “In keeping with the building’s historic integrity, the granite sills and masonry walls common to the Warehouse District were preserved and exposed as architectural design elements,” according to the award program notes.

Pan American Life Insurance Building, 2400 Canal St.: Clark/McCarthy Healthcare Partners, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple architects, Landis Construction LLC, NBBJ, Rozas Ward Architects, Southeast LA Veterans Health Care System, Woodward Design Group — Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Pan American Life Insurance Co. building is a “significant representation of post-World War II International Style architecture” with an elevated terraced entrance and interior courtyard. “After being out of service and an eyesore for years, it functions today as the administration building for the new VA hospital,” the award program notes.

Bienville Avenue Residences, 2423-25, 2431-39, 2416-18 and 2415-17 Bienville Ave.: GCE Green Development LLC — Vacant, blighted structures, these residences were renovated by GCE Green Development “to create historic, energy efficient, high quality housing close to the new hospital corridor,” according to the award program.

Carver Theater, 2101 Orleans Ave: Carver Theater LLC, Perez APC — Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Carver Theater opened in 1950 and served African-American moviegoers during segregation. “After the shutdown of the movie screen in 1980, the Carver Theater housed a medical clinic and then sustained damage during Hurricane Katrina,” the award program notes. “Careful rehabilitation and a new addition have returned the historic Carver Theater to its proper place as a community entertainment venue for a new generations of New Orleanians.”

Faubourg Duchamp, an area bounded by Derbigny, Roman, Kerlerec and Columbus Streets: Pat O’Brien Developments LLC — Preservationist Pat O’Brien has restored 20 blighted properties in this neighborhood, starting in 1969 with a Creole cottage at 1717 Kerlerec St., built by Charles Martinez in 1842. “Ms. O’Brien considers her greatest achievement to have been attracting tenants from different socio-economic levels consistent with the long-time character of her neighborhood,” the award program notes.

Il Mercato, 1911 Magazine St.: Concordia Group LLC, Cypress Building Conservation, Joel Catering and Special Events, NANO LLC, Scott Ornamental Iron LLC, Vista Landscaping, YKM Consulting LLC — Originally a market built in 1931, this building has been renovated as an event space. “The rehabilitation of this building puts a neighborhood eyesore back into use and revitalizes a building that might have faced demolition and replacement on valuable Magazine Street real estate,” according to the award program.

1241 Josephine St. Marcy Willmann, MBWillmann Design — This 1880s Victorian home with a corner store was converted to a single-family home. “All original components of the home were kept intact, refurbished and reinstalled wherever possible,” the award program notes.

New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, 425 O’Bannon St., Algiers: NOMMA Real Estate LLC, Woodward Design+Build, Woodward Design Group — Within the Federal City neighborhood in Algiers, this project renovated historic structures and added new construction to create a high school campus. “The resulting school building offers classroom spaces, music and band rooms, a cafeteria, labs, locker rooms and administrative offices for the New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy,” the program notes.

Myrtle Banks Redevelopment, 1307 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.: Alembic Community Development, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Harmon Engineering, Mazzetti, Ryan Gootee General Contractors — This project renovated a century-old fire-damaged schoolhouse into a public food market. “As a result of the project’s successful completion, the Myrtle Banks Redevelopment has become a model for adaptive reuse projects in the Crescent City,” the program notes.

New Orleans Jazz Market, Oretha Castle Haley at Martin Luther King boulevards: Grenald Waldron Associates, Kirkegaard Associates, Kronberg Wall, Landis Construction, Leppard Johnson & Associates, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Redmellon Restoration and Development, Stability Engineering — The renovated Dryades Market is the new home for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. “The historic renovation transformed the former market and discount store into 14,000 square feet of space, including a state-of-the-art 350-seat flexible performance space for NOJO along with practice facilities and educational space,” according to the award program.

PolyBar Project, 1725 and 1731 Baronne St.: Ashe Cultural Center, CCWIV Architecture LLC , FH Myers Construction, Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, Neighborhood Restoration of Baton Rouge, Tulane City Center — The Polymnia-Baronne project includes the renovation of a one-story brick structure constructed in 1926 as a department store and a two-story brick and concrete structure built in 1924 as a New Orleans Public Service streetcar switching station. The properties are “a significant contributor to the revitalization of the Oretha Castle Haley Cultural Corridor,” the program notes.

Professor Longhair House, 1738 Terpsichore St.: Pat Byrd, Project Homecoming, Rick Fifield Architect, Tipitinas Foundation, United Way — The home of musician Henry “Professor Longhair” Byrd was vacant after Hurricane Katrina. The restoration team worked with Longhair’s daughter, Pat Byrd, to renovate the property.

Roman-Bienville Homes, Roman and Bienville streets: CIS Architects, Neville Development, St. James AME Church, Titan Construction of Louisiana — This project encompasses 11 buildings that house 31 affordable housing units in Mid City. “Five of the buildings are rehabilitations of existing homes,” the program notes. “The project has helped redefine the neighborhood and sensitively relates to the streetscape.”

Southern Food and Beverage Museum, 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.: Office of Jonathan Tate, SoFAB Institute, Woodward Design+Build — Built in 1912 as the Dryades Market, this building was one of 34 public markets in New Orleans. The restoration stripped “away the layers accumulated throughout the years to expose what remained of the original structure,” according to the awards program. “The approach attempted to accommodate the programmatic needs of the new museum, while emphasizing the spatial and physical characteristics of the building’s original role as a market.”

Marais Apartments, 1501 Canal St.: HCI Architecture, LLC, HRI Properties , Landis Construction, Rick Fifield Architect — The 17-story, 113,000-square-foot Texaco Building was converted into 112 elderly residences. “This adaptive reuse marks the first housing phase of the Iberville-Treme Choice Neighborhood Project, part of the transformation of the Iberville public housing project,” the program notes.

The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, 1205 North Rampart St.: DonahueFavret Contractors, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Rick Fifield Architect — This 1870s buildings, built by Cuban developer Jules LeBlanc, was once two townhomes that were combined into a single Italianate-style building in the early part of the 20th century. “In the rehabilitation, the façade remained relatively untouched, and the original shape and details of the front classrooms were retained, while being updated for optimal acoustics and energy savings,” the awards program notes. “The rear half of the building, which lacked the historic resonance of the front, was rebuilt from the ground up into a modern performance space. Through a blend of old and new, the Wein Jazz & Heritage Center brings out the best, while preserving its impressive roots.”

The awards will be presented on April 15 during a reception and fundraiser for the Louisiana Landmarks Society.