Kronberg Wall Receives Merit Award for People’s Health New Orleans Jazz Market
The New Orleans Jazz Market, located on the Oretha Castle Haley corridor, is a contemporary jazz performance space and the permanent headquarters for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO). The new space inside the former Gators department store (1990s) at the intersection of Oretha Castle Haley and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards used to be the site of the former Dryades Market (1850s-1940s), an outdoor market where a diverse group of merchants thrived at the turn of the 20th century.
The 14,000 SF building 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.
We collaborated with acoustic engineers Kirkegaard Associates to design convex stage projectors made out of reclaimed wood to carefully balance the distribution of sound throughout the space. The rest of the space is wrapped in similar reclaimed wood panels that capture sound after its initial projection. The integration of these acoustical elements intends to combine both amplified and unamplified instruments simultaneously. The end result is a fully successful space that balances visual and acoustical performance. The acoustic approach was an all-encompassing effort to provide a space that sounds as warm as Louis Armstrong’s horn, a specific design request of Irvin Mayfield, Grammy-Award winning artist and NOJO’s artistic director.
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 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.”
Preservation, renovation and adaptation of buildings is becoming even more crucial in today’s construction market. The New Orleans Jazz Market reflects the textured layers of historic New Orleans while adapting to contemporary uses that honor the past and look towards the future.
The project has been submitted for LEED Gold Certification.