Despite the fact that Natchitoches is the oldest municipality in Louisiana Purchase territory (est. 1714), the city is home to a remarkably futuristic-looking structure. It’s not some tech mogul’s third home or a space lab, this building houses the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Trey Trahan grew up in the town of Crowley, outside Lafayette, spending much of his childhood playing in the bayou in his backyard. So when his New Orleans-based architectural firm was approached to design the state’s sports hall of fame in 2007, he channeled local architecture as well as the region’s riparian form throughout the process.
The white stucco exterior is wrapped in louvred copper strands that not only nod to the area’s traditional shaded porches, but also occasionally twist and turn like the Cane River that the building affronts. By design, the copper will oxidize with time in ways even the architects can’t quite imagine yet.
The building’s angular shell opens up to an interior seemingly devoid of corners altogether. Smooth white phalanges, like so many waves in suspended animation, stretch from wall-to-wall separating various exhibits while defying conventional understandings of the word “wall.” Over 1,000 stone-cast panels—no two alike—coat the 28,000 square-foot interior that is, at once, unpredictable, calming, and otherworldly.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, located on the ground level, spans a range of activities and levels from high school wrestling, to NFL quarterbacks, to Olympic rowers and just about everything in between. Upstairs, the Northwest Louisiana History Museum casts its gaze at the regions’ storied past through objects donated by local families, preservation societies, and indigenous groups.
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