The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest History Museum is located in Natchitoches (pronounced NAK-uh-tesh), a city of almost 20,000 people that last year celebrated its 300th anniversary, making it the oldest settlement in the vast area that in 1803 was included in the Louisiana Purchase. It was founded as a French outpost in the alluvial plain of the Red River and in the nineteenth century served as a port for the shipment to New Orleans of the cotton produced in the entire region. Today, the historic character of Natchitoches is maintained by a cadre of retirees and more than a million annual visitors. The city is home to Northwestern State University, Cane River National Heritage Area, and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training.
Even prior to its completion, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, as it has become known, gained the attention of the design and industry press. Designed by Trahan Architects of New Orleans, the museum’s many accolades include recognition for its use of digital technologies and materials of cast stone and copper and as “best of the year” by several architectural journals. Its design has received AIA Honor Awards from both local and state chapters, and this year the museum attained an AIA National Honor Award for Interior Architecture. One might ask: How did this award-winning museum, requiring a team of consultants from as far away as Boston and Copenhagen to design and detail the structure, actually get built in the heart of a historic district in a mostly rural region of the Deep South?
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Small-Town Avant-Garde: The Building of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest History Museum
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest History Museum. All photos by Timothy Hursley.
Site and context. Courtesy Trahan Architects.