DesCours was an annual city-wide New Orleans architecture and art event that spanned five years from 2007-2011. This project was developed, curated and directed by Melissa Urcan CEO/President of LERATA. Original project description for the 2009 event, and original guide files, maps, artists installations, and event images are all available below.
- DesCours 2009 Installations
- DesCours 2009 Event Images
- DesCours 2009 Map Guide Page 1
- DesCours 2009 Map Guide Page 2
DesCours 2009 is an ambitious, week-long event held the second week of December that includes 14 architecture installations placed in ‘hidden’ locations across the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans districts. This event features location sites that are either private or generally inaccessible to the public, including courtyards, rooftops, and empty buildings, that are opened up and paired with contemporary, cutting-edge architecture installations. This event is national in scope, attracting crowds in the tens of thousands, with this year’s participants reflecting five countries, and spanning coast to coast in the US. Over the past two years architect participants have gone on to win national awards and recognition for their work in DesCours.
This event has served as a platform for experimentation in new methods, materials and technologies in architectural design. It has offered new and emerging architects the chance to design, build and show their work – getting ideas off of the boards and into the public realm. It also features a wide array of rich architectural sites that are steeped in history, paired with the ideas and imagination of the architecture of tomorrow.
DesCours is regarded as a prestigious showcase of contemporary, cutting-edge architecture installations, and is respected by architects, artists, critics and audiences for its balanced selection of innovative design expression and for the unique architectural sites in which they are held. DesCours invites any architect or designer engaged in contemporary work focused on new technologies and materials to apply. The 2009 DesCours presentation is the 3rd for the event and received 65 applications for jury review. Through a two-tiered process of evaluations, the curatorial team culled this group down to a final set of 14 architect and design teams representing five countries across the world.
The 2007 and 2008 presentations of DesCours gave AIA New Orleans the opportunity to exhibit the works of nearly 60 architects, designers and musicians. These innovative installations are often comprised of large, three-dimensional works that one walks through, under or around, thus experiencing the work in a very direct and interactive way. Examples include benches that change color depending on the sitters clothing, a glowing solar powered overhead canopy, a 12-foot-high shell comprised of thousands of digitally modeled wood veneer pieces, and a miniature eco-system complete with rows and rows of swinging bamboo one must walk through. The past DesCours events also uncovered 22 ‘hidden’ sites in New Orleans’ French Quarter and Central Business Districts, including private courtyards, rooftops, unused walkways, and other rich architecture sites that are less traveled and/or inaccessible to the general public. Nightly musicians play within the installation sites as unique collaborators attracting their own diverse set of audiences per performance. DesCours has been favorably received by critics and media and enticed large audiences of 16,000 on-site visitors over the course of two years.