Now in their 9th year, IND Monthly/ABiz’s INDesign Awards continue to recognize excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation/restoration throughout Acadiana. This year our judges bestowed the highest honor, INDesign Gold, on only two projects each in the commercial and residential competition. For the first time, we separated the residential and commercial awards between our two monthly publications. The residential awards were published in the April issue of IND Monthly and can be found at www.theind.com. The Gold awards for commercial design are presented below.
The awards are presented each spring at the annual Smart Growth Lecture. This year’s lecture, featuring keynote speaker Nathan Norris, the Downtown Development Authority’s new executive director, will be held Friday, April 19, at the Petroleum Club in connection with INNOV8 Lafayette 2013. A group of licensed faculty members from UL’s School of Architecture and Design, represented by Associate Professor of Architecture Corey Saft and instructor Ashlie Latiolais, judged this year’s entries.
Judy Dunn needs little introduction. Her inimitable sense of design has won her plaudits from customers across Acadiana and even the world. She once designed the interior for a drilling rig in Indonesia, so tackling the MegaDrill interior was old hat.
For Dunn, coming up with the concept for a commercial interior begins with creating a comfortable environment for the employees. “You want that office to feel great, and you get a lot more productivity from your people if they say they love to come to work because their office feels comfortable, it feels like them and they don’t mind being there,” Dunn says.
The MegaDrill project involved repurposing an existing building for the new company’s needs. Gossen Architects handled the architecture, Dunn and her team of licensed interior designers went to work on the inside, using the company’s logo colors and a creative mix of materials to create an interior space that is both modern yet warm and inviting.
|Photo by Robin May|
|Bryan Ameigh, Judy Dunn and Brady
Latiolais of Dunn's Furniture & Designs
“Even in the offices, you have overhead lighting, but everybody has to be there eight hours of the day and you want their offices to feel comfortable, so lots of times we used table lamps to make it more comfortable and not so industrial,” she explains.
But MegaDrill was a new company getting off the ground, and sparing no expense wasn’t an option. So Dunn and her crew focused on the use of cost-effective materials in innovative ways. “Because the company was a startup we chose furnishings that had [an expensive] look but maybe not the highest end, but it still looked that way from the seating in the lobby to some of the conference tables — it looks amazing but the price was reasonable,” she says, adding that the materials were purchased locally: “We are very fortunate here in Lafayette that we have great places right here.”
Although she’s not a licensed designer, Dunn has always leaned on her “God-given” knack for spacial arrangements and colors, making her a sought-after talent. And for a project like MegaDrill, making the employees feel at home was the name of the game. “No matter what business you’re in it needs to look comfortable because you’re there all the time.” —ABiz Staff
Evangelicals are multitaskers. Sunday services. Wednesday services. Prayer meetings. Concerts. Conferences. Designing a worship center — at 42,000 square feet no less — that serves as sanctuary, meeting hall, concert arena, café and convention center is a tall order, hence the INDesign Gold Medal for Commercial Architecture awarded to Architects Southwest for their work at Crossroads Church in Lafayette was well-deserved.
Like the INDesign Residential competition, our judges were stingy with the commercial designers, too, handing out just two Gold awards.
The modernist worship center at Crossroads is at once stately and impressive yet austere and elemental. “The objective was to create for them a building that represented their new way of thinking about religion and Christianity. And the building transcended style,” says Architects Southwest’s Steve Oubre, who adds that designing religious buildings begins with sound. “Any time you deal particularly with religious buildings acoustics are very, very important.
“Dealing with crowds and the flow of people is always complicated, and in this particular case the need to have more than one entry way into the building but still have an understandable path for people to work their way in and out of the building was important.”
The 42,000-square-foot worship center at Crossroads Church, Oubre explains, had to meet a multitude of tasks, especially accommodating a 1,500-person congregation with flexible seating in a 9,200-square-foot space that must also readily transform into a flat floor space for other uses. The designers — five from Architects Southwest contributed to this project — also created spaces throughout the facility that, through the use of natural light and materials, magnifies the intimate, spiritual setting.
But Oubre maintains that his firm was just a conduit for the final product: “One of the centerpieces of our work is that it isn’t our work, it’s the work of our clients, and we are the vehicle that carries that work forward,” he says. “This is every bit their building; they participated in discussing their needs and their desires and we were just the medium to bring it across.” — ABiz Staff