Good Counsel Apartments

Historic renovation of a former school into 22 apartment units and strategic use of historic tax credits.

Adaptive Reuse, Mixed-Use Multi-Family, Interiors

New Orleans, LA

29,767 SF


Designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style in 1926 for use as a parochial school on the Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish campus, the blighted property sat vacant for over thirty years and was gutted after damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Originally three floors of classrooms with a large auditorium behind, the building shell was intact but the interiors had been partially demolished. Through careful and strategic intervention, the historic details and character of the building were maintained, allowing the creation of 22 one- and two-bedroom apartments with additional amenities including a pool, pool pavilion, and a dog run.

TPA recognized that the existing stairs, corridor, and classroom layout in the Louisiana Street building were well-suited for the building’s new use as apartments. To take advantage of available historic tax credits, special consideration was given to preserving existing elements wherever possible. Existing partitions dictated apartment layouts within reason, converting classrooms into apartments with high ceilings and abundant natural light. This clever use of existing elements reduced demolition, construction costs, and preserved many historic elements, including the proscenium arch in the rear auditorium.

Designers inserted parking on the ground level of the auditorium beneath a newly-inserted mezzanine level. The mezzanine also raised the rear apartments away from ground level to enjoy natural light and increased security. An existing raked-seating balcony was preserved and encapsulated, creating a reversible intervention without sacrificing leasable area. Careful code review informed a layout designed to reduce the loss of existing windows and to preserve operability of windows wherever possible, allowing natural light into the building, even in the stairwells. By preserving these elements, the design was able to offset roughly 40% of construction cost with state and federal historic tax credits.

Recognition for Our Lady of Good Counsel