The design of the Taylor Farms Headquarters was inspired by the site's history, nearby historic buildings, and the owner's love of the French Quarter's French and Spanish Colonial influence in New Orleans. The site was a central downtown in-fill lot turned into a city parking lot after demolishing a cherished, elegant Italianate-style hotel. The building owner required a timeless, contextually sensitive structure that would invigorate the city economy and provide entertainment for years to come.
This 5-story "U" shaped office building has 24,300 sq. ft. retail/commercial space on the main floor, four floors of offices, a 10,000 sq. ft. open-air assembly deck terrace with built-in bar-b-q and landscaping, an underground parking garage with 125 spaces. Inside, glass atrium stairs and full-height windows face the southern courtyard.
The French/Spanish style building features a rusticated base with reveals throughout, ornate base and caps at the pilasters, and stylized banding. Copper awnings complete the building's ambiance with scrolled wrought iron brackets, tall French doors, handmade copper colonial wall sconce lanterns, and bronze-colored metal double-hung windows.
As intended by the owners, the building had to be built rapidly and with high-quality materials. To attain this degree of quality and detail for the façade, the architect, in consultation with the precast producer, immediately chose Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC).
GFRC provided the solution due to its weight, durability, shape flexibility, quick installation, and the precast manufacturer's innovative application of the fragile brick. Additionally, the site is in a high seismic area and needed increased structural requirements due to the assembly deck terrace, so every effort was made to find a lightweight solution for the façade, and the thin-shell system of GFRC was a perfect choice.
No obstacles arose in achieving the desired appearance due to the adaptability of GFRC in creating shapes with forms. The integral color of the GFRC gave the façade a solid look and feel. In addition, cutting the brick at the precast facility reduced cost and lightened what would have been a heavy brick façade. The thin brick was then adhered with adhesive and grouted to resemble standard bricks. Frieze panels above the windows on the third floor were initially intended to be metal but proved costly. Using a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machine, the precast producer created forms to produce the frieze panels in GFRC, allowing incredible attention to detail and craftsmanship. The installation of the façade was completed in record time and completely transformed the architectural landscape of the downtown area.