In honor of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple’s twenty-fifth anniversary, each week in the month of September we will highlight a project designed by the studio and revisit the world events and pop culture that defined the times. Calling all Millennials and Generation X: 2000 is your year!
The dawn of a new millennium struck fear into the hearts of many with the Y2K debacle. Concerns that computers wouldn’t shift from 1999 to 2000 correctly caused a minor panic and inspired a frenzy of basement-to-bunker conversions and canned-goods stockpiling not witnessed since the Cold War! All that worry amounted to nothing of course, and the dawn of a new millennium was celebrated the world over with incredible feats of pyrotechnics, fanfare and revelry.
This was a promising start to the year in which the human genome was first mapped; on the big screen Haley Joel Osment confessed that he could see dead people in Unbreakable and teenage heartthrob Devon Sawa narrowly cheated death in Final Destination.
The use of mobile phones continued to revolutionize the way we communicate and the Nokia signature ringtone and the expression, “can you hear me now??!” came to symbolize our growing dependence on technology, even if we’re exactly sure how to use it. America Online announced an agreement to purchase Time Warner for $162 billion (the largest-ever corporate merger then on record) and prompted millions of American households to explore alternate uses for the endless compact discs and software updates issued in the mail.
And who could forget the Presidential elections and the calamity of ‘hanging chads,’ as election officials scrutinized ballot after ballot to determine which candidate actually won.
Here in New Orleans, the firm was celebrating the promotion of Tracy Lea, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Mark Ripple, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and Kurt Hagstette, AIA to Principal and more than a decade of successful practice. This was also the year in which the firm’s longest running project, the Charleston Aquarium, reached substantial completion much to the relief of Project Manager, Chuck Hite.
The same year, construction on the award-winning Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge was coming to an end. One of the firms most successful cultural projects, the 70,000-square-foot facility includes two main galleries for thematic exhibits displaying the diverse aspects of Louisiana history, industry and culture; in addition to staff offices and archival storage, set amid the ancient oaks and landscaped commons of Capitol Park and the historic art-deco architecture of the surrounding state offices.
The result is a contemporary building that is of its place but not beholden to its past; a design approach that is fundamental to our practice. Visitors to the facility enter through an open, two-story galley; a modern reinterpretation of a front porch that opens to the north offering a spectacular view of the historic Capitol Tower. From here, there is no better way to explore the unique heritage of the State.