Thursday, 27 April 2017

New Orleans Courthouse Exemplifies Beaux Arts

The following features define the Beaux Arts design:

  • symmetrical articulation
  • lavish surface decoration
  • a single architectural element set as a grand gesture ex. overscaled archway, triple archway, short but dramatic colonnade
  • coupled columns
  • facades composed around advancing and receding wall planes
  • entablatures that advance and recede to mark the locations of columns below
  • an active roofline with dramatic rooftop sculpture
  • fully and boldly formed ornamental sculpture 
  • employed elsewhere on the facades
  • monumental (and sometimes multiple) runs of steps approaching building's entrance
  • floor plans that culminate in single grand room
  • axial floor plans that establish vistas through different spaces

The Vieux Carre Louisiana Supreme Court fills the square between Chartres, St. Louis, Royal and Conti streets.  The Beaux Arts building, opened in 1910, is a massive structure of terra cotta and white marble.  The Supreme Court vacated the premises in 1958 and the building fell into a state of disrepair.  However, in the 1990's interest in the building returned and it was renovated, reopening in 2004.


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