Phillis Wheatley Elementary School

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Phillis Wheatley Elementary School

This unique school facility provides abundant sheltered play space, natural light and ventilation. Supports are in the middle of the building. The extensions are cantilevered about 35 feet from the supports - a very muscular kind of support, more often seen in bridge design. The elevated structure has a regional architectural sensibility. The earliest buildings of the French Quarter and around Louisiana were all elevated, not just for flood protection, but also to increase natural ventilation. The breeze is always a little bit stronger when you get above ground.

The Recovery School District abandoned the Phillis Wheatley Elementary School after Hurricane Katrina. The RSD intends to demolish the facility and replace it with new construction. It was deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places which triggered a FEMA 106 consultation. Docomomo Louisiana has been an active advocate for its preservation. It was named to the World Monuments Fund Watch List 2010. In August 2010 The WMF, Docomomo US and Louisiana chapters, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Resource Center and AIA New Orleans presented the RSD with a proposal for a free, short term design charrette to explore design solutions to adaptive reuse of this historic modern school. FEMA and the RSD refused this offer and the school will likely be demolished soon.

Francine Stock, president, docomomo louisiana

Building Activity

  • Denis Drachev
    Denis Drachev commented
    very cool for 1954 year!
    about 7 years ago via