PRINT March 2006

Huff + Gooden

New Orleans is a city where style has always been intimately linked to the substance of culture. In a place where funerals are a public spectacle, why should the act of reconstruction be wholly determined by a sense of pragmatic functionalism? Huff + Gooden suggests that a reconstructed Big Easy without the flash may as well be postwar Berlin. In the firm’s design for a new school, community center, and adjacent housing the architects bring some life back to a ruined environment.

The proposed structure is a sprawling, crystalline object. Glassy fragments cantilever across roads and public spaces, attempting, in the architects’ words, “to catalyze an infrastructure that seeks to spatialize the cultural landscape within the urban fabric.” What this means, quite literally, is that the form of the building reaches out of the traditional spatial envelopes that tend to define urban development—setback

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