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. This will be the final installment of our four-part series and as September draws to a close we’d like to thank you, dear reader, for joining us on a stroll down memory lane and celebrating a remarkable journey 25 years in the making.
By many accounts, 2010 is a year worth forgetting. Remember that volcano in Iceland that spewed plumes of smoke for days essentially grounding air traffic throughout continental Europe? Or the Deepwater Horizon debacle which killed 11 workers and so severely polluted the Gulf of Mexico that we’re still experience the fallout? Julian Assange and WikiLeaks??!? That was 2010.
And just when it seemed all hope was lost, Beyonce released, “Single Ladies,” prompting a wave of YouTube uploads that made us laugh, cry and consider dancing in leotards, fishnets and high heels; Lady Gaga’s bold sartorial choice of “the meat dress,” made waves across the fashion world and the deli counter; and people began to assess their true worth and potential in the context of surviving in a dystopian Zombie apocalypse thanks, in large part, to the critically acclaimed adaption of the graphic novel ‘The Walking Dead.”
For those of us here in the Big Easy, arguably the most important event of 2010 was the Saints winning the Superbowl. Going undefeated for the first 13 games of the regular season, they advanced through the playoffs to win the championship over the Indianapolis Colts. The celebration that followed was unparalleled—800,000 people attended the official Superbowl Parade the following Tuesday.
In preparation for the 2013 Superbowl, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple and Ellerbe Beckett, in a joint venture, began work on a $190 million dollar enhancement package to one of the city’s most iconic and recognizable structures: the Mercedes Benz Superdome. No small undertaking, the improvements—new scoreboards, video boards, sound and lighting system, concession stands, box suites, club lounge, elevators, windows and seating bowl, additional suites and retail vendor opportunities--were carefully phased to accommodate the facility’s dynamic schedule of ongoing events. Champions Square—a 60,000 square foot outdoor public space—a separate, yet equally important project, was realized in the 6-month break immediately following the Saints’ Superbowl victory. Doing so created one of the largest public spaces in the city that plays host to the pre- and post-event activity at the Mercedes Benz Superdome and New Orleans Arena.