In honor of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple’s twenty-fifth anniversary, we’re taking a look back at the year it all began – 1989—but before we get ahead of ourselves, a bit of history:
It was 1984, the year of the highly anticipated Louisiana World Exposition. This pivotal event in the city’s redevelopment, managed by the late Allen Eskew, FAIA, prompted Allen to establish his own firm, and Eskew Vogt Salvato & Filson (EVSF) officially opened for business in the spring of 1986. By 1989, EVSF had disbanded, and Eskew Filson Architects was actively designing in the New Orleans region and laying the foundation for a practice of distinction transforming one man’s vision into the 52-person collaborative honored with the 2014 Architecture Firm Award.
So what was happening in 1989?
Architects were still drawing their designs by hand while Milli Vanilli and Paula Abdul tunes serenaded tweens on the radio. The nightly news reported on the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Both Seinfeld and The Simpsons’ appeared on our televisions for the first time and forever changed pop culture. At the box office, our hearts would declare, for the first time, “O Captain, My Captain” with the release of Dead Poets Society.
Here in New Orleans, the Aquarium of the Americas was nearing completion, ready to become one of the most frequented aquarium attractions in the United States. Allen Eskew, FAIA led a five-firm joint venture to design and implement Phase I of this project: a 115,000 square foot glass and white stucco structure and adjacent 16-acre linear park located along the Mississippi Riverfront. Phase II, also a joint venture, developed a 65,000 square foot I-MAX theater, an 8,000 square foot flexible gallery space, and a 3,500 square foot sea otter habitat and reproduction laboratory.
Most importantly, the project represents a long-standing commitment to revitalizing the City of New Orleans and its riverfront, a legacy we at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple have proudly supported and championed for the last 25 years.