The American Institute of Architects Board of Directors has bestowed the 2014 AIA Architecture Firm Award to Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, the New Orleans firm that uses rigorously crafted Modernism to repair, restore, and enhance the unique cultural and historic context of their city. The AIA Architecture Firm Award, given annually, is the highest honor the AIA bestows on an architecture firm, and recognizes a practice that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years.
A group of proud New Orleans architects, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (EDR) makes Gulf Coast architecture that’s Modern, but innately attuned to the lifestyle, pace, climate, and cultural context of its city. Curators and preservers of this culture, the firm’s major cultural commissions document New Orleans’ long and diverse multiethnic history in built form. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the firm has taken on an important role as a civic leader charged with repairing the wounded urban fabric of the city.
For all its formal Modernist motifs, smooth surfaces, and right angles, the architecture of EDR takes its strongest precedent from New Orleans’ nearly 300 years of architectural history. Vernacular, wide, expansive porches, bungalow shotgun houses, and industrial warehouse spaces are in its design genetic code.
A few of their most notable projects include:
Reinventing the Crescent: New Orleans Riverfront Development Plan, a 2012 AIA Honor Award recipient that adds a series of public spaces and residences to a six-mile stretch of the Mississippi River, re-urbanizing it and reconnecting it to the city.
Louisiana State History Museum in Baton Rouge, a faintly distorted cube that welcomes visitors with a large covered-porch entry pavilion, framing exquisite views of Louisiana’s Art Deco state capitol.
930 Poydras Residential Tower in New Orleans, which groups together public programs and amenities for this sleek Modernist monolith midway through the building in a “sky lobby” that slyly cantilevers out over the French Quarter.
Make It Right L9 Prototype House in New Orleans, a breezy Modernist house that recalls vernacular shotgun bungalows, updated with solar water heaters, solar power collectors, a rainwater cistern, and more sustainability and energy efficiency systems that can reduce operating costs, increasing affordability for low-income residents.
Prospect.1 Welcome Center in New Orleans, a welcome center in an empty historic warehouse used for an international art biennial. Made entirely out of plywood at a cost of only $28,000, the welcome center showcases a wide range of architectural expressions of wood, contrasting a glowing, pristine heart within a wood structure etched and weathered with age.
Learn more about the firm’s history, design philosophy, and team on the AIA website.
Credits: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (rendering); Timothy Hursley (museum; tower); Will Crocker (Prospect.1).