1200 Baronne

1901 gas station renovated to personal residence

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11 Forest Lane

Bathroom renovation.

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2330 St. Thomas

New house with attached apartment built in a traditional Greek Revival style.

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2700 Coliseum

Entablature Restoration

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440 Homestead

Room addition with custom built-in collection display cases.

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6509 Marshall Foch

Traditional single family residence.

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Riverwalk Clay Originals

Description here

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About Michael Rouchell

A

lifelong resident of New Orleans, I graduated from Tulane University School of Architecture in 1989.

During the time when I was enrolled at Tulane, I became interested in traditional architecture. I would travelto and from home on the Saint Charles Avenue Streetcar, where I would observe all the late nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture of Saint Charles Avenue and the Central Business District.

I became more and more interested in traditional architecture, and by the time I was in fourth year, I was fully committed to designing traditional architecture.

In my fifth year my thesis project was for a Classical Expansion of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Tulane, as well as most architecture schools at the time, no longer taught students how to design classical buildings, so I had to learn on my own by observing the traditional buildings around me and studying old architectural journals from the early twentieth century.

During a semester break, I entered the American Plywood Association’s 1989 Innovations in Housing Competition with my design of a single family residence suitable for the northeastern part of the country. That entry received a citation of merit award.

I passed the Louisiana State Architecture Review Exam in 1994 and became licensed to practice in Louisiana in 1995. I became licensed in Alabama in 2006.

I became affiliated with the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA), whose mission is to teach classical architecture and design to architects and architecture students. In 2014, I began a local chapter of ICAA covering the State of Louisiana.

I am a board member and consulting architect for Felicity Street Redevelopment, Inc. since 2013.

I am a member of the New Urban Guild, a group of architects and planners dedicated to designing better places through traditional design.


Projects

6509 Marshall Foch

This project is a new traditional single family residence to replace a house that was damaged by flooding after Hurricane Katrina. The house is 2850 square feet.

1200 Baronne

I renovated this building, a gas station built in 1910, into my personal residence with studio space on the first floor.

Clay Originals, Riverwalk Mall

I designed the three surrounding walls of this Riverwalk shop to resemble shotgun houses with louvered shutters that could be used to hang the merchandise.

440 Homestead

I designed a room addition to display the owner’s ever expanding collection. The project included custom designed display cases with LED lighting.

2700 Coliseum St.

This project restored the entablature of this home, damaged in 1965 by Hurricane Betsy, to match the original design by William Freret.

2330 St. Thomas Street

A two family residence with the apprearance of a typical Greek revival cottage that replaced a similar Irish Channel house that was too deteriorated to save.

Single Family Residence, Metairie

This project, never built, formed an “L” on the property to give the rear yard the maximum privacy. The house was designed in a formal classical style with formal rooms, to be laid out on a small lot.


Blog | Michael Rouchell on Traditional Architecture

AN ALTERNATIVE DESIGN FOR 336 DECATUR STREET

A new building is presently being proposed for 336 Decatur Street, a vacant site in the Vieux Carré that sits directly across the street from Bienville Park and the statue of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.  It is a highly visible site where North Peters Street and Decatur Street split off forming the triangular Bienville Park and creating a unique trapezoid site that has frontages on three streets.  For awhile the site was occupied by a small, vacant gas station that had a large billboard on its roof.  The gas station and its billboard have since been demolished and now there is a great opportunity to build an attractive building that can enhance the neighborhood.  The project has been reviewed by the Vieux Carré Architectural Review Committee (ARC) several times throughout the past year.  Instead of pushing for the best design solution for the site, the ARC has unfortunately persuaded the architects to design a more modernist design.  A recent iteration had glass curtainwall systems at the North Peters-Conti Street corner and dark grey metal panels everywhere else, and with a gallery on all three sides.  The proposed building has a flat roof, part of which is supposed to be a roof terrace, and another part contains mechanical equipment that is concealed behind a taller facade that screens the equipment. The preservation movement originally was a reaction to modernist architecture.  Demolishing old buildings and replacing them with new building is as old as architecture itself.  The expectation has always been that the new replacement building would be a better, more attractive building than the one that was to be demolished. ... read more

THE CRISIS WITH TODAY’S MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Modern architecture has reached a crisis point.  The original intention of early modernists was to seek out an architecture that was non-traditional and free of historical precedent.  The mistake made by architecture schools was to abandon the teaching of classical architecture in favor of only modernism and thus creating the multi-generational gap in the continuous transfer of architectural knowledge and training from one generation to the next.  Just as the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution provides the right to bear arms, it also provides the right to NOT bear arms if one chooses.  Similarly, to truly be free of historical precedent in architecture, one should also be free to engage in historical precedent.  One is not free if they are restricted from pursuing a certain design solution that may seem relevant.  It was very unfortunate that this clear, logical way of thinking was not present when all the architecture history books and plaster casts were purged out of the architecture schools.  This anti-traditional architecture, with its lack of ornamentation and mouldings can only take you so far. Modern Architecture has reached that point.  Considering the Form Follows Function philosophy of architecture, there was nothing that could be done that wasn’t done before.   With no where to innovate, the Form Follows Function philosophy was replaced by Form can be Anything philosophy.  Now modern architecture has reached the point where any shape or form can be passed off as a great work of architecture, worthy of publication in any of the architecture trade journals. There are no rules, no guidelines, no principles, therefore anyone can do it. Anyone who has... read more

21st CENTURY CLASSICISM

The current state of architecture is in decline, and has been for the last 75 years or so.  It is the result of a collective decision by architecture schools to abandon the teaching of classical architecture in lieu of the new modernism, despite the fact that the early modernist masters, Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Adolph Loos, Frank Lloyd Wright, and others were all trained as classical architecture before their pursuit of abstract architecture.  I can’t fault the design exploration of these early architects, but the decision to abandon all prior wisdom and knowledge was a poor one.  The thinking of the time was that this new architecture was so extraordinary that there would never be any need of a historical style revival from then until perpetuity, and therefore no need to continue teaching classical architecture in the schools.  They could have looked at a timeline of the past 2000 years of architecture and seen how architectural styles come and go, how the evolve, and how revival periods occur, yet they concluded that within the next 100 years, 1000 years or 5000 years, the new abstract architecture would always be the relevant style. I believe that preservationists were the first to sense that something was not quite right when replacement buildings for demolished landmarks were not aesthetically up to par with the buildings that they replaced.  Gone were the times when a building was demolished and replaced by a better, more beautiful building.  The emergency response by preservationists was to increase preservation laws and easements, create more historic districts, and to provide landmark status to buildings that were good... read more

RANDOM GOOGLE STREET VIEWS OF BUDAPEST

Below are random Google street views of Budapest.  Notice how much the surrounding architecture contributes to the experience and aesthetics of the street and compare this to the previous post on Random Street Views of Tel Aviv. Source... read more

RANDOM GOOGLE STREET VIEWS OF LONDON

Below are random Google street views of London.  Notice how much the surrounding architecture contributes to the experience and aesthetics of the street and compare this to the previous post on Random Street Views of Tel Aviv. Source... read more

RANDOM GOOGLE STREET VIEWS OF PARIS

Below are random Google street views of Paris.  Notice how much the surrounding architecture contributes to the experience and aesthetics of the street and compare this to the previous post on Random Street Views of Tel Aviv. Source... read more

RANDOM GOOGLE STREET VIEWS OF TEL AVIV

New Urbanism is an urban design movement that promotes walkable neighborhoods that are inspired by older, historic neighborhoods.  In recent times, more modernist architecture is being built with these new urban developments, and often times it is allowed because there are no rules that forbid modernism, or require buildings to be done in a traditional style.  Often times the modernist building will have shop fronts and windows on the street to promote walkability, but what is neglected is just how much traditional architecture contributes to the experience of a street.  Tel Aviv is a city that experienced most of its growth after World War II and therefore has all modernist architecture, and very little, if any, traditional architecture.  This is perfect, because it is now possible to see how much traditional architecture contributes to the overall aesthetic of the street by showing what it looks like when it is absent.  Here is modernism in the context of modernism.  Often times you see a modernist building in the context of an historic neighborhood, where the modernist building is dependent on the surrounding architecture to provide a counterpoint of contrast to the modernist’s work.  Here there is no contrast or counterpoint, just endless modern architecture.  In fact, it seems that the best streets of Tel Aviv are ones that have large enough trees so that a tree canopy hides the architecture beyond. The random Google street views are just that:  Scanning across Google Maps, and randomly dropping the man icon onto a random location on the map to see what the street view is, and then saving the view for use here. Future posts... read more

ADVICE FOR THE CLASSICAL ARCHITECTURE STUDENTS

This post is inspired by a Facebook post by Architecture MMXII.  An anonymous architecture student writes: “Hi, I’m in uni studying architecture (going into second year in September),  I was hoping you could give me some advice. When I design in a classical manner, my lecturers say ‘we don’t design buildings like that anymore, and that’s just copying, no imagination, etc. What do I do? How can I respond to these criticisms? As i have seen from your photos, architects still design in a classical manner.  Please help.  Thank you.” Here’s my advice to him/her, and all other architecture students interested in designing in the classical tradition: 1.  The architectural style of the building is of little importance.  Just as there is more to a person than the color of their skin or their ethnicity, there should be more to a building than its architectural style.  A building is built for its intended purpose (program) and needs to comply with current building codes and local zoning ordinances.  The purpose for the building codes, and purpose for hiring an architect to design the building, is to protect the safety of the public and the building’s users. Become familiar with the building code.  Make sure your building has sufficiently sized fire exits that are remotely located, and make sure that there are no dead end corridors that could trap someone during a fire.  If the building is to be used by the public, you may also need to make it wheelchair accessible.  Become familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Design Guidelines to assure that clearances on each side of... read more

THE NEXT BEST THING TO SYMMETRY IS THE APPEARANCE OF SYMMETRY

Awhile back, I did this conceptual design for the Dury Hotel expansion in New Orleans, which is currently under construction, but unfortunately, this design was not developed as I originally designed it.  The program includes five levels of parking over first floor meeting rooms and topped by three floors of guest rooms.  The upper floors of guest rooms are set back one bay on the Lafayette Street (left) side.  Whereas this building fronts on Carondelet Street, the main hotel building fronts on Poydras Street, on the right side.  The main hotel building is set back by a large surface parking lot on the corner of Carondelet Street and Poydras Street, so the connection to the main hotel occurs at the rear corners of both the main hotel and this annex. The Carondelet Street facade has a rusticated base with segmental arched openings, a large cornice, and a mid section with arched openings below where the parking levels occur, and punched openings with double hung windows where the guest rooms occur.  The upper floor of guest rooms have windows that are located below the main cornice, and have a continuous architrave band in place of the sill, creating a complete entablature with the band of upper windows and the recessed panels between the windows forming the frieze of the entablature. The lowest parking level occurs at the transom of the first floor segmental arched openings.  The arched openings are articulated as two floors and an arched transom, but actually the two floors are actually concealing three parking levels.  These deceitful devices are necessary on parking garages because the floor-to-floor heights... read more

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