This building on the banks of the Cane River Lake is the confluence for two important collections: The Louisiana State Museum and the Sports Hall of Fame have been brought together under one roof in the historic little city of Natchitoches. It’s the oldest settlement on the Louisiana Purchase – a huge swathe of land that that America bought from France in the 1800s, and although forward-thinking, the building’s historical influences are many.
Externally, the copper slat cladding recalls the wooden window shutters on plantation properties, and internally, the flowing curves reference the carving of the River Cane. The stone sections incorporate elements from bousillage – a Louisiana building material of horse hair, clay and moss dating back to the 17th Century – and fittingly for a project in a state of New France, Paris makes its presence felt; those curves are reminiscent of Zaha Hadid’s Mobile Art Pavilion – now at home in the French capital’s Institut du Monde Arabe. Contemporary firm Trahan Architects designed the building, handing the tricky task of completing the 700-ton stone jigsaw that forms the interior structure to David Kufferman Structural Engineers and Method Design. If that sounds like your kind of puzzle, you can read a bit more about how they did it. Clever stuff.