Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Study of Architectural Life, Part 1

Blogger's Note: The Louisiana Speaks: Pattern Book is an amazing resource that we recently discovered.  In this series we will explore selections from pages which intimately discuss the styles of Louisiana architecture, and the sound environmental reasoning behind them.  With this detailed accounting of what is traditional, it is apt that it would also include ways to modernize a structure while retaining the archetype.  Participants in the creation of the Pattern Book repeatedly stressed the importance of preserving the local culture and social traditions and the particular aspects of house and community design essentials to doing so.  With the interest of highlighting some of this style guide's content, we hope to encourage authentic rebuilding and awaken a desire to preserve historic places, a continuation of what southern architecture has to offer.  The Pattern Book is available for free download in its entirety on the Louisiana Recovery Authority website.  Download Here

"The Purpose of the Pattern Book
The Pattern Book contains patterns and techniques for building housing, neighborhoods, and towns at a greatly accelerated pace while remaining true to the values and traditions of the people of Louisiana.  These traditions provide guidance for rebuilding in harmony with the state's natural environment and climate in the design and construction of environmentally responsible houses that incorporate many of the traditional architectural features of the region.

Architectural Patterns
The Pattern Book identifies those patterns among Louisiana house and building types that are important to maintain in the rebuilding process.  Individual builders and homeowners, as well as production house builders and developers will find the architectural patterns presented in this section of the Pattern Book useful as they rebuild the fabric of Louisiana's neighborhoods and towns.

The Influence of Climate on Architecture
The unique climate and geography of Louisiana play an important role in the daily life of its residents.  The intense heat and humidity, extended summers, short winters, and prevalent gulf breezes provide a backdrop to the lifestyles and traditions of South Louisiana.  Over time, builders, designers, and home owners have developed architecture and landscape patterns that are a direct response to the extreme climate of the region.

Vernacular architecture from all regions of South Louisiana a share the pursuit of providing relief from the sun and rain while still capturing as many breezes as possible.  Generously scaled porches, tall ceilings, full-height windows, shade gardens, porch fans, and wood shutters are all elements that distinguish the traditional architecture of South Louisiana from elsewhere in the the country.