Borders Books

This unique project involved the conversion of the Bultman Funeral Home on St. Charles Avenue into a Borders Books, combining historic preservation of the building’s exterior while building a steel-frame structure within the the building’s original facade. This created a unique challenge for Woodward Design Group, Woodward Engineering Group, Woodward Steel Group and the Woodward Design+Build construction team to create a modern retail space in the shell of a historic and well known structure.

Varying floor heights, existing structure and multiple roof lines did not support the tenant’s design criteria. The Engineering Group designed a new structure that fit within and connected to the existing exterior walls. The addition of a new rear entry juxtaposes contemporary design against the backdrop of the existing exterior facade. Reminiscent to George Washington’s Mount Vernon in the front elevation, a noteworthy reappearance is detected at the new rear entrance by the repetition of the eminent columns that flank St. Charles and Louisiana Avenues. In addition, the Design Group and owner worked closely with the Historic District to ensure both neighborhood support and the desired historical detail.

After the partial demolition, steel bracing was put in place to support the original remaining wooden structure. Incorporating the wood exterior walls into the new modern commercial building allowed for innovative design concepts in the exterior building. Historic preservation restrictions prevented the removal of the exterior siding, which also prevented the installation of a continuous weather-resistive barrier. An exterior wall was designed that actively dries out any moisture entering the cavity by utilizing high borate cellulose and the building HVAC system.

Navigating the multiple challenges of design and construction within the existing building footprint defined this project. The result is a functional retail space that maintains the historic integrity of the exterior building shell.

Project Information

  • Category
    Historic Restoration Projects
    Retail Center Construction
  • Owner
    Borders Books
  • Design
    Woodward Design Group (John Dalton, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP with Stephanie Ory, Associate AIA)
  • Size
    23,000 Square Feet
  • Budget
    $4,000,000
  • Location
    New Orleans, LA
  • Completion
    October 2008

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