Posted by: PatrickJL | October 21, 2010

lecture series: STEVE DUMEZ

This post is of a series on lectures I attend entitled “lecture series.”  As much as I enjoyed lectures back in school, which I really did, attending these today remind me that there is still learning to be had.

I went back to Springfield last weekend for the 25th anniversary of the Hammons School of Architecture.  Part of Friday’s program included a lecture by Steve Dumez of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, a research driven firm based in New Orleans.

At the beginning of his lecture he stressed the importance of “how relatively small gestures can a powerful impact on how we understand our place.”  I was impressed with every project that was presented but two projects in particular stood out based on his design philosophy.


Eskew+Dumez+Ripple designed the education center for LIGO in Livingston, Louisiana.  While the budget only allowed for a simple metal box, they were able to take the concept of learning and integrate it into the building.  Square aluminum tubes pivot along an axis when the wind is blowing, creating a kinetic sculpture that reacts to the immediate environment.   Each tube is linked to each other with a magnet so that it moves fluidly like a wave to depict how energy is transferred from one object to another.

The design of the fenestration also interested me on this residential building [930 Poydras].  The process was explained that after laying out the design, the facade was meant to be primarily glass.  When the cost estimate came back, they had to drastically reduce the amount of glazing.  To meet the budget, they were only able to have 30% +/- of the facade covered in glazing.  The glazing from the nine level parking garage at the base of the building were replaced with perforated metal panels which not only allowed all of the glass to be applied to the upper occupied levels but allowed the parking deck to become naturally ventilated thus saving energy from heating and cooling.

Steve referred to his work as “investigative design” where research is critical during the design phase and I think it shows here.  While needing to stay within an established budget, he is still able to create these little gestures that may have gone overlooked if he was not concerned with budget at all and it is because of this budget that required him to focus on a detail to express his design that makes it powerful.


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