Eskew+Dumez+Ripple’s Commitment To Rebuild New Orleans Earns Them 2014 Architecture Firm Award
NEW ORLEANS – In 2014, New Orleans architecture firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple was the 51st recipient of The American Institute of Architects (AIA)’s Architecture Firm Award and the only practice in the Gulf Region to receive this honor.
The AIA has a long tradition of recognizing individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements in support of the profession of architecture. Given annually, the Architecture Firm Award—the highest honor the professional organization can bestow on a practicing architecture firm—began in 1962, has remained a highly respected award of distinction throughout its 52-year history and is given to a practice that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years.
Recognized for using modernism to repair, restore, and enhance the unique cultural and historic context of New Orleans, EDR was honored at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago.
Founded in 1989 by Allen Eskew, FAIA (1948-2013), reps say much of the firm’s success has derived from its commitment to build a culture centered on mentorship and the development of young talent—earning the firm two AIA National Intern Development Program (IDP) Outstanding Firm Awards—in addition to its enduring core values: design excellence, environmental responsibility, community outreach and client commitment.
Housed in an open studio offering expansive views of the Mississippi River and the French Quarter, EDR’s New Orleans-based multi-disciplinary practice is comprised of 45 professionals.
Reps say their firm size and management protocols are structured to provide hands-on principal involvement in every commission they undertake from conception to completion.
EDR participated in a number of committees and initiatives intent on rebuilding New Orleans post-Katrina including the Bring New Orleans Back Commission Urban Planning Committee, the Sustainable Restoration Plan for the Holy Cross/ Lower 9th Ward neighborhood, the New Orleans AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT), the New Orleans Civic Center Planning Task Force, and more.
EDR’s projects have included:
• 930 Poydras Residential Tower – 930 Poydras St.
• Civic Theatre Restoration – 510 O’Keefe Ave.
• U.S. Mint Jazz Theatre Renovation – 400 Esplanade Ave.
• New Orleans Bioinnovation Center –1441 Canal St.
• Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center – 4300 S Broad St.
• Kate & Laurance Eustis Chapel at Ochsner Clinic – 1319 Jefferson Hwy.
• L.B. Landry High School – 1200 L B Landry Ave.
• New Orleans Museum of Art Expansion and ongoing renovations – 1 Collin Diboll Circle
• Champions Square – 1500 Sugar Bowl Dr.
• Prototype House/ Make It Right – 1826 Tennessee St.
“Eskew+Dumez+Ripple lead a deeply nuanced practice born out of a critical engagement with their own surroundings, an exemplary approach that allows them to deal with an incredibly rich level of cultural specificity,” wrote AIA Gold Medalist Thom Mayne, FAIA, in a recommendation letter. Speaking of the firm’s Reinventing the Crescent plan, he said, “This careful and collaborative pursuit of civic solutions, which are at once pragmatic, environmentally responsible, and deeply context-driven, exemplifies the firm’s singular methodology, and is an outstanding example of the best aspects of American architecture.”
“As a practicing architect and department head of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, I know the education of an architect does not, and must not, end with receiving a degree,” wrote Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, in a recommendation letter. “It takes the tireless effort of firms like Eskew+Dumez+Ripple to construct a positive working environment within their offices that develop skills, disciplines, and deep values to empower every intern to achieve their own measure of success and purpose.”
“The firm’s active civic leadership provides a stimulus for thoughtful urban reconstruction as the city heals,” wrote Julie Snow, FAIA, of Julie Snow Architects in a letter of recommendation. “This kind of leadership demands a generosity of time, a patience for the public process, and a lack of self-interest that is worthy of recognition.”
Reed Kroloff, director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and former dean of Tulane’s architecture school, said, “Rather than embracing the fundamental abstraction of Modernism as a point of departure and then inflecting it quietly toward the context of New Orleans, EDR revels in the complicated reality of New Orleans, and then abstracts it to create a Modern architecture that transcends its very particular place, an architecture that may be born of Louisiana, but not necessarily beholden to it.”