School of Journalism 2006
New Orleans was founded on a fraudulent premise. Its location at the mouth of the Mississippi River makes it an economic stronghold, yet its geography situated below sea level and susceptible to flooding makes it an uniquely inhospitable place. The history of New Orleans is the history of overcoming the landscape, and the culture in which it has been appropriated.
In response to a reading of Sir John Soane’s Bank of England after the Great Fire of London in 1666, the School of Journalism in New Orleans embeds disaster in its siting and design. It is sited at a place of contention: an historic dock for boats and also the former Customs House at the corner of the old city fortification that connects the waterfront, the French Quarter, and the central business district on all sides. Instead of imposing an autonomous form on the site, the School of Journalism consists of fragments that float on, above, and below the datum of the levee exposing the ground plane’s mutable character.