Photo by Alan Karchmer

Photo by Alan Karchmer
Site Plan
Site Plan by McNaughton Architects
Photo by Alan Karchmer

Honor Award, Gulf States Region AIA,1994
Merit  Award, New Orleans Chapter Region AIA,1994
Honor Award, Louisiana Architects Association,1990

International Biennial of Architecture
Buenos Aires Argentina, 1990
National School Board Association
New Orleans, Louisiana, 1990

Highly Magnetic, Architecture South, Vol. 2, No.1, pg.14-15. (by Errol Barron, FAIA)

“All of the jurors have looked at schools all over the country, and this one is exceptional in terms of what is being designed today. We like the juxtaposition of different masses of buildings which form the courtyard. The courtyard sets up a very nice scale of the complex to an inviting, community scale. The plan’s organization is excellent.”

Gulf States Region AIA Jury Comments, 1994
Benjamin Franklin High School
New Orleans, Louisiana

Project Profile:
This nationally recognized public magnet school for gifted children is sited on the University of New Orleans campus. The design responds to the clients desire to create an identity of place for the students and faculty. The program provides for three distinct functions - academic, fine arts, and physical education. The school is organized around a central courtyard.

The courtyard acts as a cloister, symbolizing learning and providing security. It becomes the center where activities of academic and social life unite - a place for gathering, the exchange of ideas, spending leisure time and enjoying lunch.

On three sides of the courtyard a raised, colonnaded walk for the students to access the lobby, library, cafeteria, physical education building, and the stairs to the upper level classrooms. The colonnade provides a sheltered environment from the frequent precipitation and the damp north winds of winter. Deciduous pear trees provide relief from the hot, tropical sun.

The building is didactic. Each function of the school's program generated its own unique form. In keeping with the philosophy of probity, the structure and materials are openly expressed. Careful consideration was given to the penetration of natural light into the buildings. All classrooms have windows sized in response to their solar orientation.

The three-story lobby space celebrates the main entrance and creates a direct link between the academic and fine arts functions. A nineteenth century statue of Benjamin Franklin by Hiram Powers serves as a focal point within the atrium.

Cost: $9,383,000

Completed: 1990