Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Rivergate Virtual Reality Exhibit (and Joan of Arc)


Photo of color rendering of Rivergate, 1965. TESLA, delineator.
Tomorrow night, July 26 from 6pm - 9pm the New Orleans Architecture Foundation, along with the Preservation Resource Center, is presenting "Mid Mod NOLA: Virtual Reality Tour of the Rivergate," a virtual reality exhibition of the demolished Rivergate building in New Orleans. Built in 1968 at the foot of Canal Street as a convention exhibition hall, the building was known for its remarkable undulating concrete roof. Designed by New Orleans architects, Curtis and Davis, with Edward B. Silverstein and Associates, and Mathes, Bergman, and Associates, the building fell into disuse, and was demolished in 1992 to make way for a hotly contested land-based casino. The Louisiana Landmarks Society, not known for advocating for saving modernist structures, spearheaded a movement to save the Rivergate, and was supported by architect and preservation leader, Samuel Wilson, Jr. before his death in 1993.

Original drawings and photographs from the holdings of SEAA were used to create this virtual reality exhibit. We were able to test drive its capabilities ourselves, and felt very on point trendy (if not a little dizzy). 


Original publicity photos for Rivergate, ca. 1968. Photographer unknown.

Photo of scale model for Rivergate, ca. 1967. Frank Lotz Miller, photographer.
International Trade Mart (later World Trade Center), showing corner of
Rivergate at right. Photo from Edward Durell Stone's office. Ca. 1968.

Joan of Arc statue upon delivery to New Orleans, 1964.
Leon Trice Photography.

In 1972, a casting of the gilded Joan of Arc statue, by French sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet, was placed in a small park designed by Samuel Wilson, Jr. between the Rivergate and International Trade Mart (later World Trade Center), Edward Durell Stone, architect. The statue was a gift of Charles de Gaulle to the city of New Orleans in 1964, but it sat in a warehouse until it was dedicated at it's original home in front of the Rivergate. Joan of Arc was relocated in 1999 to Decatur Street in front of the French Market.



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