New Orleans U.S. Custom House to Receive Preservation Honor Award
The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented General Services Administration with its Preservation Honor Award for the restoration of the New Orleans U.S. Custom House. The project is one of 22 award winners to be honored by the National Trust during its 2012 National Preservation Conference on November 2, in Spokane, Wash.
The city of New Orleans knows plenty about weathering a storm – and so do its buildings. Its U.S. Custom House, one of the oldest and most significant works of federal architecture in the country, has been a New Orleans landmark since 1848. In August 2005, the Custom House withstood the winds of Hurricane Katrina, but succumbed to severe water damage resulting in a collapsed roof. For the first time in 150 years, the 300,000 square foot National Historic Landmark was completely empty.
The General Services Administration turned this disaster into an opportunity for a comprehensive rehabilitation and restoration. GSA’s determination was rewarded throughout the restoration process as they uncovered treasures such as vaulted ceilings, skylights, and original signage hidden beneath insensitive alterations. Energy efficient systems were added while the historic fabric of the building was maintained.
“While each is unique, this year’s outstanding Honor Award winners all reflect the importance of protecting what is special and irreplaceable,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Whether it’s the restoration of an iconic post office in Philadelphia or the transformation of a Greyhound bus station into a Civil Rights museum in Montgomery, this year’s Honor Award winners demonstrate how saving places is bolstering local economies and creating jobs in communities across the country.”
Co-recipients are: Audubon Nature Institute; Gibbs Construction; PDG Architects; Waggonner & Ball Architects; and Woodward Design + Build.
The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation. The winners of the National Preservation Awards will appear online at www.PreservationNation.org/awards.