d o c o m o m o l o u i s i a n a is a regional chapter of an international committee dedicated to the

documentation and conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monumental auditorium threatened with demolition

George Washington Carver Junior-Senior High School
Curtis and Davis, architects. Progressive Architecture First Design Award 1959. photo: Francine Stock

The School Facilities Master Plan of Orleans Parish has ignored and consistently threatened to eradicate important mid-century modern public schools from New Orleans’s historic neighborhoods. From the outset, DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana identified the George Washington Carver Junior-Senior High School as one of the most architecturally significant buildings of its generation.

In the early 1950s, the nationally recognized New Orleans-based architectural firm of Curtis and Davis won a design competition, and responded by creating an elegant school complex. The most compelling structure is a dramatic cast in place concrete auditorium building.

The monumental structure utilized parabolic concrete hinged arches that extend beyond the building and rest on hinged concrete buttresses, creating a modern stoa that shelters one from rain and sun. The Federal Emergency Management Agency assessed the building's innovative auditorium as eligible for the National Register, thereby triggering the National Historic Preservation Act’s Section 106 Process.

DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana, in an effort to save the building, has agreed to participate as a Consulting Party in the Section 106 Process. DOCOMOMO US/Louisiana advocates for the adaptive reuse of George Washington
Carver’s auditorium space: allow its inspiring vaulted
space to continue its function as a gathering space for new generations of Ninth Ward students.

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