INDesign 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Celebrating the best of architecture, interiors and landscapes in Acadiana.  By The Independent Staff

It's time once again for the annual - yes, we know, we skipped 2010 - INDesign Awards honoring the finest in architecture, interior design and landscape architecture in Acadiana. The entries this year, like every year, were wide-ranging both stylistically and geographically, from major new projects like the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette to an off-the-radar renovation in Eunice that transformed and gave new purpose to a historic space. What these winners - gold, silver and bronze - share in common is a vision unique to south Louisiana coupled with an abiding respect for the forms and techniques of the past.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Celebrating the best of architecture, interiors and landscapes in Acadiana.  By The Independent Staff

It's time once again for the annual - yes, we know, we skipped 2010 - INDesign Awards honoring the finest in architecture, interior design and landscape architecture in Acadiana. The entries this year, like every year, were wide-ranging both stylistically and geographically, from major new projects like the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette to an off-the-radar renovation in Eunice that transformed and gave new purpose to a historic space. What these winners - gold, silver and bronze - share in common is a vision unique to south Louisiana coupled with an abiding respect for the forms and techniques of the past.

Our judges for this year's INDesign Awards bring a wealth of experience and talent to their respective fields.

W. Geoff Gjertson, an architect and associate professor at UL Lafayette, is co-director of the Building Institute and is both an award-winning private architect and a widely published, highly respected academic.

Painter and landscape architect Lue Svendson has designed landscapes around the world, and her much-coveted work on canvass has hung in more than 20 exhibitions in south Louisiana.

Beth Miller is a licensed interior designer and director of the Interior Design Program at Mississippi State University who has collected an impressive array of state and regional awards.

The Independent Weekly extends a hearty thank you to our judges for their time and diligence in winnowing down a dauntingly creative list of candidate projects into what are this year's honorees.

Those winners will be fêted at 11:45 a.m. Thursday, May 19, at City Club during the INDesign Awards Luncheon. Tickets are $40 a piece or $350 for a table of eight. For details or to purchase tickets, contact Robin Hebert at (337) 769-8603 or via email at [email protected]

In the meantime, following are profiles of the INDesign 2011 Gold Medal winners.

Architecture - Commercial
Community Foundation of Acadiana
Abell+Crozier Architects Inc.

Community Foundation of Acadiana has become a philanthropic rock in Acadiana since its formation in 2000, and its roots in River Ranch are defined by an office building that clearly speaks to the nonprofit's core values: "stability, permanence, creativity, availability and openness."
The Camellia Boulevard home of CFA, designed by Lafayette architect firm Abell+Crozier Architects Inc. and completed in January 2010, was chosen as a 2011 INDesign Gold Award winner in the commercial architecture category.
The brains behind the project combined the concept of a world-class spot for donors to form relationships with the foundation and spread their good will through the organization's numerable charitable avenues, while also keeping in mind the beliefs the foundation strives daily to uphold.
CFA is an organization credited for raising enough private funds to keep an Acadiana state park open amid devastating budget cuts and will serve as the channel through which the horse farm is transformed into a one-of-a-kind public park.
The architecture of its office building is melded with abstract ideas, such as the colossal forms used to anchor the building that represent the foundation's "permanence and stability in the community." The raised ceilings, abundance of windows and all-glass entrances translate into the "openness and availability" the foundation offers to donors who opt for charitable giving as a means to better our community.

Architecture - Commercial
Abell+Crozier Architects Inc.
Abell+Crozier Architects Inc.

Originally a law office in the early 1960s era of downtown Lafayette, the office of Abell+Crozier Architects Inc. on Main Street was built with the opposite of the "out with the old, in with the new" concept in mind.

When the original building was constructed decades ago, it was the only structure on the street. Fifty years later, the development in the area caught up with the building, and the new surrounding construction eliminated the natural light that once defined the lone building.

A gold winner of the 2011 INDesign Awards for commercial architecture, the Main Street office building of Abell+Crozier Architects is designed to "allow the history and previous life of the building to be visible" while creating an interior that stays true to the "vibrant and energetic" setting the company and its staffers work hard to portray.

The challenges of bringing back the building's natural lighting were made even more difficult by the structure's front elevation, which its designers say make it vulnerable to the sultry summers of the Deep South.

Using the side alley as another outlet for capturing natural lighting, the building's exterior was transformed to boast an open storefront and materials, while mixing a terra cotta rain screen to represent traditional brick and a weathering corratin steel to connect to the local industry.

The renovated, award-winning architecture project was completed in mid-November 2010.

Interior Design - Historic Preservation
The Guillory Apartment
Charles Seale

A two-story building built circa 1910 in the heart of Eunice was once home to a department store, a doctor's office and a famous dance hall all at the same time. Fast forward to more than a century later, and a large portion of the building's upper level now houses a well-known Eunice couple who traded in their home in the country for a New Orleans-inspired apartment that sits within walking distance of their own businesses and almost anything else you need in town.

Charles Seale, an interior designer in Eunice who earned two gold 2011 INDesign awards for interior design, took notice of the large, historic building's second story that had been vacant for quite some time. He had the idea to transform the upstairs into a living space with the notion that young professionals practicing at the downstairs Savoy Rural Health Center could make full use of the space.

Once the project got under way, Eunice couple Dexter and Sunny Guillory, who own a crawfish processing plant and a restaurant, respectively, decided the upstairs apartment space could be convenient for more than just young medical professionals.

Thus came the 1,500-square-foot space that Seale designed, filled with opulent accessories and a French Quarter flare.

Seale says it has been perfect for the "empty nest" couple and their neighbors, who all are able to enjoy luxury living in a historically preserved building within blocks of the town's library, national park, post office and other amenities.

Interior Design - Historic Preservation
Corporate Rentals
Charles Seale

Sharing the walls of the award-winning Guillory Apartment designed by Charles Seale is another set of living spaces that spawned from the second level of a historic building that once housed a dance hall and doctor's office.

Seale's second 2011 Gold INDesign award stems from the other half of his Eunice project, which turned abandoned space above a rural health clinic into first-class apartments that are rented by the Savoy Rural Health Clinic and AT&T, as well as a studio apartment that will be occupied by an anxious renter in coming weeks.

The young professionals who lease the spaces are walking into a fully furnished apartment, complete with dinnerware, towels, accessories, cleaning supplies and more. The goal of the project, he says, was to provide a "sophisticated loft interior" that would be contemporary enough to attract the young medical professionals working downstairs.

"The response has been amazing," says Seale, who with the two INDesign awards has received five awards for the upstairs apartment project. "This is an ideal situation with a great location. It's across the street from a restaurant. There's a live theater down the road, a movie house, library, national park, a coffee house, all within walking distance. It's just a great place to be."

Architecture - Residential
Marquis Loft at the Buchanan Loft Lodging Hotel
Jim Sullivan/Susan Kost/Leah Simon

Jim Sullivan, associate professor of architecture at LSU's School of Architecture, and Susanna Kost of Susanna Kost Design have won the 2011 Gold INDesign Award in Residential Architecture for their design of the Marquis Loft at the Buchanan Loft Lodging Hotel for its innovative restraint in detailing and arrangement of space.

"It was just a shell," says Leah Simon, owner and innkeeper of the Buchanan Loft Lodging Hotel. "And [Sullivan] and a young student at LSU, named Tyler Frost completely created the space. Actually we collaborated big time. And I created the design and flow and interior."

The Marquis Loft is located in a former storeroom above Tsunami. The 2,000-square-foot space sat empty for 10 years until Sullivan and Simon got their hands on it as part of the bigger Buchanan Loft Lodging adjacent project. The seven-month renovation included adding an interior terrace, windows, two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a restaurant-quality kitchen.

"It was a think-tank collaboration between Mr. Sullivan and myself," says Simon, "and we came up with different contexts and ideas and models for a way to make that space livable. And working around Tsunami's hot water heater that had to stay in place. That was definitely a challenge because that thing was huge and it had to be put up there so we had to design a living space around the hot water heater."

Architecture - Residential
Le Bois House
Saft Architects

Corey Saft of Saft Architects, an associate professor of architecture and design at UL, earns the 2011 Gold INDesign Award in Residential Architecture for his design of the Le Bois House, which set a high bar for energy efficiency while remaining affordable. The LEED Platinum building is the first Passive House-certified building in Louisiana and one of the first of only 10 single-family residences in the U.S. to receive the certification.

"It was an opportunity for it to be both a research project and a development project," says Saft. "The project continues on as a research project with students. Students live in there, and there's a data logging project so we're tracking temperature and humidity against electrical consumption for a year so we can see if the original energy modeling matched up with the actual performance of the building."

Saft says the house's long and thin design, along with its lighting strategy, solid walls and proportions make it ideal for a dense urban arrangement.
"The main thing about this is it was a test, a prototype for a lot of ideas both about energy efficiency but also about efficiency in a much larger context,"
says Saft. "And so the hope is that this can be a sustainable development model and that it can move into higher density examples of this kind of building, preferably downtown."

Architecture - Commercial
Our Savior's Church
Architects Beazley Moliere

Our Savior's Church is on East Broussard Road, anchoring old beliefs with new construction and modern design. The large pool of water at its entrance contains a traditional Christian cross, standing a few stories tall, marking the ingress to the building and bidding worshippers welcome. The modern columned awning creates a shaded walk for non-denominational worshipers to stroll inside in comfort.

Once inside, the greeting area is warm with greenery and soft yellow walls with comfortable, modern chairs encircling tables in groups of four, feeling almost like the lobby of a four-star hotel. With its acoustical engineering and sophisticated charm, this isn't the Baptist church of old, built in a more linear fashion and based on its Catholic cousins. It seats 1,000 yet the balconies, generous and ample, can fit 700 more once minimal additional construction is complete. Truly a place where people can feel at home in both religion and style.

Architecture - Commercial
Acadiana Center for the Arts
Architects Southwest/Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

Acadiana Center for the Arts is a beacon of hope in a time when funding for the arts is under duress. When the complete revamping began a few years ago some wondered if it would be able to maintain funding for it to finish on time. AcA did, and did it with magnificent panache. At its entrance from right off the intersection of Jefferson and Vermilion streets in downtown Lafayette the glassed front lets you peer into the lobby and peek into its state-of-the-art theater, but doesn't overwhelm - just enough of a peek to pique the interest of passersby.

The ticket office and café (run by The French Press down the street) are visible from the door as is the regal staircase. This sweeps visitors upstairs to the galleries. The main color at AcA is white with warm pine wood tones complementing it, offsetting a modern feel that can often be too clinical and making it cozy instead.

Rather than taking the stairs, stay on the first floor and take a right into the amazing proscenium-style James D. Moncus Theatre. The multiple seats are staggered for perfect viewing and insanely comfortable. When the theatre was debuted, the Lafayette Fire Department accommodated AcA by parking a fire truck outside and running its siren - the theater is so soundproof nothing could be heard. This is a building that elevates the standard for what downtown both is and could be.

Architecture - Urban Planning
West End Redevelopment District
Architects Southwest

New Iberia's West End Redevelopment District is evolving proof that the principles behind New Urbanism - compact, walkable communities with mixed-use development - can work not only in an affluent River Ranch but can also be applied to the revitalization of historic, economically distressed areas.

The project is transforming the 600-acre neighborhood surrounding Hopkins Street, where white flight, urban decay and rampant crime long ago took root.
The renewal began when Bill Doré, owner of Global Industries, wanted to donate land and funding to build a community center in his old neighborhood. But it evolved into a holistic approach to reestablishing the area, home to some 1,200 people, most of them poor, as a true neighborhood.

Doré approached architect Steve Oubre, who designed River Ranch, to take on the community center project. But Oubre and his team knew that a community center alone would do little to transform the area.

Soon a partnership between the city of New Iberia and the non-profit Southern Mutual Help Association was formed. Oubre's firm, Architects Southwest, and Southern Mutual held a weeklong charrette to engage residents who quickly embraced the project. House by house, block by block, the West End is now undergoing a visual and spiritual transformation.

"It's a rich project, and when we took that commission it was intended to say that River Ranch is a model that was successful, but it can be equally successful in a neighborhood that has very little resources," says Oubre.

When it's complete - in 10, 20 years - the West End Redevelopment District will be home to a neighborhood school, groceries, community resources, and sidewalks and porches that promote neighbors knowing and looking out for one another, not to mention homes restored to their 20th-century glory. In a word, it will be home.

Adds Oubre: "At the core of what we did is, we understood the history of the district."

Architecture - Historic Preservation
St. Mary Magdalene Church
The Sellers Group

Architect Gene Sellers doesn't take the collection plate lightly. A parishioner at Abbeville's St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sellers often serves as lector during Mass. Following Hurricane Lili in 2002 and taking a lead from the church's pastor, Fr. William Blanda, Sellers began an almost decade-long project in three phases to restore the century-old house of worship to its early 20th-century form.

Lili destabilized the church's steeple, sending a chunk of masonry onto the roof, which precipitated a leak that had a cascading effect on the structure's integrity.

Thus began a series of capital campaigns spearheaded by Blanda. Phase One replaced the steeple and roof. Custom-formed copper designed to withstand hurricane winds took the place of asbestos shingles. Phase Two saw a complete exterior renovation including restoration of the church's stained glass. Phase Three addressed the church's interior, including the installation of furnishings salvage from a New Orleans church closed in a diocesan consolidation and new paintings.

St. Mary Magdalene had been renovated in the 1960s and, in a time before the concept of historic preservation had any currency, "modernized."
During Phase Three, from Easter to Christmas 2009, the church was closed. But Sellers was there, serving as lector, for the rededication Mass, putting a seal on a very personal project.

"I actually did the whole job, all of the phases, for free," Sellers reluctantly confesses. "It was completely pro bono. I did it because I just wanted to."
In addition to a 2011 INDesign Gold Award for historic preservation, the St. Mary Magdalene project also won a "Special Award" from the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation.

Interior Design - Historic Preservation
The French Press and The Refinery
Poché Prouet

Poché Prouet and its parent company, The Southwest Group, have been a boon for downtown Lafayette, breathing new life into historic properties and helping ensure the future vibrancy of the district.

"As a piece of property comes up for sale, if it's at a reasonable price and we see that we can do something with it we pick it up," says company co-founder Jim Poché. "We understand how to do it. We understand the value of historic tax credits and all these other things, and we're just very familiar and very comfortable with it."

Exhibit A: The French Press on West Vermilion Street and The Refinery on Buchanan. Each, in its way, caters to the burgeoning metropolitan, urban class of young professionals attracted to downtown Lafayette. And each project transformed an aging property into a new purpose.

Built in the 1920s and originally the manufacturing home for Dudley LeBlanc's famed - or is it infamous? - elixir, Hadacol, the Tribune Building on West Vermilion housing The French Press restaurant was for decades a printing plant.

Poché Prouet acquired the vacant building a couple of years ago and went to work, dividing it into three commercial spaces - Recycled Cycles shares the building - but doing so in a way that maintains the brick, stone and cement building's historic character.

Working with sister company Southwest Contractors, the design team stripped the building to its bare essentials, reutilizing existing materials and turning the industrial feel of the structure into a rough-hewn, artistically austere celebration of the building's past - perfect for the nouveau south Louisiana cuisine in which The French Press specializes.

A few blocks away, Poché Prouet's design team worked similar magic with The Refinery, located in the rear section of what was once the Abdalla's department store. The site has been transformed over several years, with Tsunami kicking off Lafayette's sushi craze and, most recently, the addition of the Buchanan Loft Lodging Hotel, another INDesign Gold winner.

A barber-spa for men, The Refinery, like The French Press, celebrates its commercial past while repositioning the space for the present. Designers took pains to reutilize existing materials and designs while giving the space a retro-modern character, and at the same time updating the electrical and plumbing systems to meet both the needs of the business and current building codes.

For Poché, contributing to the revitalization of downtown Lafayette is at once profitable yet personal. "Historically for me, when I grew up in Lafayette as a kid, that's the only place you could go shop," he recalls. "That's where Montgomery Ward's was, Sears, JC Penney's, McCrory's. And I went to school at Cathedral. So, personally, I grew up downtown and lived in the Saint Streets area most of my life. That's where I'm from."

2011 Winners:

Abell+Crozier: Community Foundation of Acadiana
Abell+Crozier: Abell+Crozier office
Architects Beazley Moliere: Our Savior's Church
Architect's Southwest: AcA

Architects Southwest: Asbury Children's Ministry
d&b Architecture: VARCO
Edward Cazayoux, FAIA & Madeleine Cenac: Nature Conservancy Vistors' Center

Ackal Architects: South Crowley Elementary Library
The Sellers Group: Palmetto Island State Park

Architects Southwest: West End Redevelopment District

The Sellers Group: St. Mary Magdalene Church

Poche Prouet: The Tribune Building

Angelle Architects: Buck & Johnny's Pizzeria

Saft Architecture: Le Bois House
Sullivan/Kost/Simon: Marquis Loft

Kevin Stewart: Stewart House

Edward Cazayoux: Nanette & Gene Cazayoux

Poche Prouet: The French Press
Poche Prouet: The Refinery
Charles Seale Interior Design: Corporate Rental
Charles Seale Interior Design: The Guillory Apartment

David Courville Architect: Evangeline Downs Event Center
Roane Interiors: Dozo
Architect & Assoc./Currant Interiors/Ginger Louviere: Spa Mizan
Poche Prouet: Cal-Chlor
Poche Prouet: Heart of Hospice
Poche Prouet: The Southwest Group
Cecilia Blanchard of Lamp Designs: Blanchard Home
Kevin Stewart: Steward Home
W Home Furnishings: 2009 ASO Showhouse Guest Suite
W Home Furnishings: 2010 ASO Showhouse Dining Room

David Courville Architect: Races & Aces Off Track Betting Casino
The Sellers Group: Palmetto Island
Angelle Architects: St. Martin Courthouse
Poche Prouet: St. Michael's Church Hall
Poche Prouet: America's Coffee House
Sullivan/Kost/Simon: Marquis Loft
W Home Furnishings: Pavy House
W Home Furnishings: Sunroom