Renovation and facade restoration of a severely modified historic building for residential and retail use.
Interiors, Adaptive Reuse, Mixed-Use Multi-Family
New Orleans, LA
Located in the historic Warehouse District of New Orleans, 800 Magazine was originally constructed circa 1844 as a livery and undertaker’s establishment. The corner was altered into a grand Italianate design in 1884, and underwent additional significant architectural changes over time.
Between the 1930’s and the 1980’s, most of the ornately detailed stucco and brick work was lost, the prominent covered gallery was removed, and an unsightly 3rd floor was added. The original stable openings on the ground floor were infilled with factory style glazing and brick, the beautiful millwork of the wood windows and doors was thoughtlessly sanded and painted, glass transoms were boarded up, termites ate through much of the original wood structure, and a maze of pipes and machinery was installed on the interior to service a coffee roasting plant until 2009.
Fortunately, 800 Magazine was eligible for both state and federal tax credits, prompting the new owner to restore the exterior back to its 1880’s stature while transforming the interior into a modern, mixed-use retail and multi-family property. Trapolin-Peer, well known for the firm’s expertise in adaptive reuse, was enlisted early to guide the project though the complex tax credit process and help to capitalize on all available public funding. The project also took advantage of the Façade Easement program for additional tax benefits by donating an easement on the building to the Preservation Resource Center.
The building revealed little of its historic skeleton to the eye in its 2011 state, and its extensive alterations meant that learning about the original appearance would be an archaeological exercise. As more and more of the original structure was revealed through construction, the more the façade plan evolved to unveil the historic bones. The detailing of the façade and gallery ornament was intensive, with only a single 1903 photo of 800 Magazine available for reference.
800 Magazine is now a series of two-story townhouse-style apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors with ground floor retail. The residential units are spacious and modern with large terraces and luxurious appliances. Yet it still calls attention to the historic nature of the building by exposing original ceiling joists, beams, columns and exterior brick walls. The applied finishes throughout the building, including wood flooring, stair treads and decorative wood and steel elements are salvaged from the building itself. 800 Magazine Street is an interesting and seamless merging of modern and historic, a symbolic metaphor for the Warehouse District itself.