2016 / Best New Architecture / New Orleans Magazine
"Here is an important recent building in the rapidly revitalizing Oretha Castle Haley corridor, a major mixed-use structure occupying most of a Central City block. It has a four-story commercial/office component and a five story residential wing, the King Rampart Apartments. The idea for the project originated with the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, a nonprofit developer with extensive engagement in the neighborhood. Working with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, they saw the potential of the site; multiple properties were acquired, and eventually NORA moved its offices from the CBD to the building. The project required complex and time-consuming financing, but the result is a real winner.
The architectural treatment of the two primary programs is distinct. Most assuredly contemporary is the King Rampart Apartment façade with its corner entrance facing Martin Luther King Boulevard. There is a handsome lobby with a high degree of transparency, a well designed reception desk and brightly colored mailboxes in the elevator lobby. On the upper floors small lounges along the corridor break down the scale and provide some wonderful views of the neighborhood. Another positive design element is a courtyard outside the lobby, where residents enjoy gathering on warm evenings, engaging passersby.
On the Oretha Castle Haley side, the building is more urban, coming tight to the sidewalk along its face, with a sculptural projecting entry canopy. There is an inset ramp for accessibility and glazing for the first floor commercial space. The brick wall is neutral in color, but the curtain wall elements and windows are a colorful counterpoint. Only the slightly discordant corner tower detracts from the overall composition. The exterior of the apartment building is distinct, with multiple materials and bold accent colors. This provides just enough articulation in what otherwise might be an overwhelmingly large scale project."