Remembering Wayne J. Troyer, FAIA (TSA '83)
The Tulane School of Architecture community is saddened by the loss of Wayne Troyer, founder of Studio WTA and an accomplished architect. He was an alumnus (TSA '83), former adjunct lecturer, and frequent guest lecturer and guest critic at the school. Above is a photo of Wayne (far left) giving a tour of Mussafer Hall on Tulane's Uptown campus to a group of Tulane architecture students. Below is the remembrance written by his colleagues at Studio WTA.
On Friday, May 3rd, our founder, mentor, and friend, Wayne Troyer, FAIA, passed away after a two and a half year battle against pancreatic cancer. As the founder of Wayne Troyer Architects and, most recently, the Design Director of studioWTA, Wayne led the efforts of our team in creating some of the most distinctive and relevant built work in New Orleans. His tireless enthusiasm for the practice of architecture and love for his city have left an indelible mark on everyone whose lives he touched, and his compassionate, transformative design will continue to enrich lives years into the future.
Throughout his 36 year career, Wayne completed award-winning projects both large and small, for private and public clients, which have left their mark on New Orleans and our community. At Tulane University, Wayne created a dynamic vision for several projects including the recently-opened Mussafer Hall on Tulane’s historic front campus which stands as a beacon for students, staff, faculty and alumni. His architectural contributions are too numerous to list fully, but some of his most memorable work include the Rice Mill Lofts, Hotel Peter and Paul, The Pythian, Arthur Roger Gallery, The Julian, 511 Marigny, the St. Joseph Rebuild Center, 566 Emerald Street, and PJ’s Coffee at Tulane University. During his prolific career, Wayne also partnered with several nationally recognized architecture firms including VJAA on the sustainable renovation of the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, Scogin, Elam and Bray on the Willow Street Housing, and Wilson Butler Architects on the design and conceptual planning for St. Tammany Performing Arts Center. Earlier this year, Wayne’s renovation and addition to his personal residence received an Honor Award from the New Orleans AIA.
Wayne’s passion for Mid-Century Modern architecture, evident throughout his career, led to his heavy involvement in advocacy for the preservation of significant buildings throughout the New Orleans area such as Charity Hospital, Phillis Wheatley Elementary School, and many more. He counted lauded New Orleans architect Albert Ledner as one of his greatest friends and influences, playing an instrumental part in drafting Albert’s AIA Louisiana Medal of Honor submission [awarded in 2008]. His love and respect for Ledner shone in the spearheading of several current projects at studioWTA, including the renovations of Albert’s private residence and his Unitarian Church on Jefferson Avenue. Wayne was a founding member of the Louisiana Chapter of Docomomo US, and as a Board Member he brought his conviction and knowledge as invaluable strengths towards highlighting the importance of our built heritage.
Alongside his professional work with the studio, Wayne was active on civic and cultural commissions and boards, including the Historic District Landmarks Commission, the Architectural Review Committee, the Preservation Resource Center, the New Orleans Film Society, and the Contemporary Arts Center.
Wayne’s legacy within our firm is one of guidance and mentorship; he believed strongly in the independence of the young designer, and created a nurturing environment where even the newest graduate could feel accomplishment and ownership of their work while participating in collaborative design as part of the studioWTA team. Whether we have been part of the studio for one year or fifteen, we all feel this loss profoundly, and share a collective desire to take the lessons Wayne imparted to us and continue to create inventive, contextual architecture that is responsive to its time and place, and which brings daily joy to its inhabitants.
Taken from the book of the same name by Pema Chödrön, Wayne often encouraged us to be “comfortable with uncertainty.” This has never rung truer for us than during this time. We take comfort and strength in our studio family and friends, and we thank you all for your support and love for Wayne through the years.