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Alumni Firm Brings People, Past and Future Together in New Orleans

Kronberg Wall, an architecture, planning and development firm in Atlanta, founded by Eric Kronberg and Adam Wall (ARCH ‘97), is leading urban infill development and conscious urban placemaking in the Southeast, including two award winning projects in New Orleans. The New Orleans Jazz Market, home of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) and Iberville Offsites, a restoration project of more than 100 dwellings in the heart of Treme, 7th Ward and Central City.

The New Orleans Jazz Market, hosts 360 seats on its floor, a partial wrap-around balcony, and a retractable stadium seating section. The performing arts venue includes classrooms, a digital Jazz archive and administrative offices for the non-profit organization. One of the greatest design challenges was to provide suitable acoustic design that could add vibrancy and energy, creating an inspiring experience in the undisputed birthplace of jazz music.

The project opening this Spring, was mentioned in the New York Times as one of the 52 places to visit in 2015 ‘the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra opens in a new home that has a state-of-the-art performance space, as well as exhibits of current and former jazz greats.’ In addition, the New Orleans Jazz Market has been honored with a 2015 Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation by the Louisiana Landmarks Society, recognizing projects completed in Orleans Parish (outside of the French Quarter) that represent outstanding examples of restoration or rehabilitation of historic buildings. The Jazz Market was also recognized by AIA Georgia with a 2015 Design Award, the grand prize in the Renovation category.

The New Orleans Jazz Market demonstrates that preserving historic buildings and cultural sites is a tool to revitalize unique neighborhoods like Central City and the Oretha Castle Haley corridor.  Neighborhoods that portray communities and create a sense of place. Many of New Orleans first jazz musicians lived in Central City including Buddy Bolden, Kid Ory, Jelly Roll Morton and Jordan Noble. The building reflects the deep roots of the organization to jazz culture, while still reinterpreting the past and expressing the culture of today.

The design is highly driven by the mission of the nonprofit organization “to create Jazz, to enhance life, transform place, and elevate spirit. NOJO inspires freedom and culture in the individual and the global community by creating authentic, engaging Jazz experiences that celebrate the origins and transform the future of Jazz.”

Kronberg Wall was also the architecture firm behind the unprecedented Iberville Offsites project, awarded the 2015 Grand Prize Charter Award by the Congress for the New Urbanism, as well as National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. This completed project consists of the rehabilitation of forty six scattered historic homes in New Orleans that were formerly vacant and blighted. This is the second phase of a larger project by the same team that includes a total of more than one hundred dwellings. The current sensitively rehabilitated homes are part of a larger Choice Neighborhoods Redevelopment Plan, a program by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development that supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation.

One of the unique aspects of this affordable housing project is the fact that restoring scattered homes in diverse functional neighborhoods avoids concentrations of poverty in small areas. Affordability is particularly relevant for this site because New Orleans is a city in recovery that struggles to remain affordable. Rent has more than doubled in the last four years, while medium income has remained the same. Another unique quality is the historic preservation component. Historic preservation is too often seen as the domain of the affluent and white, but in the case of this project it becomes relevant to the lives of a significant percentage of underprivileged people of color that are able to afford historic homes in neighborhoods where they would otherwise be out priced from.

This multifaceted project proves that it is possible to use innovative and replicable strategies to sensitively rehabilitate neighborhoods in sustainable ways, broadening the ethnic and cultural diversity of historic sites and demonstrating that older buildings are excellent examples of sustainable construction and new urbanism models.

Preservation, renovation and adaptation of buildings is becoming even more crucial in today’s construction market. The New Orleans Jazz Market and Iberville Offsites reflect the textured layers of historic New Orleans while adapting to contemporary uses that honor the past and look towards the future.

New Orleans Jazz Market:

AIA Georgia Design Award

Louisiana Landmarks Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation


Iberville Offsites:

National Trust Conference Presentation

Congress for the New Urbanism Charter Award - Grand Prize

National Trust/HUD Secretary's Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation

Press Release by Kronberg Wall