600 st. roch avenue, NEW ORLEANS, LA

600 St. Roch Avenue was built in 1953 as a sheet metal shop, replacing a four room cottage original to the site. The building was purchased in 2004 for conversion as my studio. It was a simple concrete block shell with a perfectly flat roof supported by substantial open web steel joists. Following Hurricane Katrina my wife and I decided that with a small addition and some modifications we would enjoy living and working in the building. The initial studio renovation reduced the floor area of the warehouse by about 440 sq ft to create an interior courtyard. The first floor uses glass topped walls, daylight and natural finish woods to focus attention on the simple volumes of the rooms and the open web joists. The 2007, second floor addition is positioned to take advantage of the southern orientation of the building (for sun control) while not having a negative effect on the available sunlight in the courtyard. The addition is scaled and detailed to fit into the neighborhood which was largely constructed in the mid-19th century. The design adapts forms typical of the historic buildings (roof shape, overhangs, scale of openings, horizontal wood siding) while using contemporary materials and design aesthetic (opening treatment, and rolling shutters…) to create a passive solar residence that sits comfortably in the context of historic Faubourg Marigny. The mural “A Peace Offering” at the front corner of the building was re-painted in 2009 by Jonathan Blum. It replaces a 1992 mural by the same artist titled “Rabbi with a Red Hat and Green Beard” that was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina.