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||New Orleans, louisiana
|Phillis Wheatley Elementary, Thomy Lafon Elementary School, a number facilities designed by E.A. Christy and the Priestly School of Architecture and Construction, George Washington Carver Junior, McDonogh No. 39 / Avery Alexander Elementary School
||The design for this school by Charles Colbert won a 1955 Progressive Architecture Design Award for education. Mr. Colbert's innovative work represents an integrated approach to form and structure that is unique in its physical expression. Twelve giant, shop-fabricated steel trusses are supported by cast-in-place concrete piers. This allows the building to literally float above play areas, providing shade and protection from the elements. The structural system also provides an inherent flexibility that can easily be adapted to satisfy a variety of modern educational models.
Since this facility was not well maintained, its current appearance raises questions about its serviceability. But restoration and adaptive reuse of buildings like this need to be an essential part of our efforts as a way of setting an example about the issues of sustainability and the importance of adaptive reuse in rebuilding. A great example of how a building of this era can be reused and modified is the recently completed Lavin-Bernick Center for Student Life at Tulane. The former University Center, designed by Curtis and Davis, was recently restored by Vincent James and Associates Architects. The building was gutted and completely refurbished and modernized. Studies that the architects conducted revealed that salvaging the foundations and structural systems realized a 20% cost savings (in total construction cost) compared to the building being completely demolished and replaced.
Renovation and rehabilitation of these schools can become symbolic of the city's ability to recover and renew itself.