The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO) houses over 1 million contiguous linear feet of event space for their customers, leaving endless possibilities only limited by the show designer’s imagination. Even with this impressive statistic, many convention-goers are drawn to events at MCCNO largely due to the culture, history and experiences New Orleans has to offer.
With this in mind, NANO’s prime design directive takes a two-fold approach: modernize all meeting rooms, corridors, public gathering spaces, and pre-function spaces while incorporating the experience of New Orleans into the facility through art, lighting, texture, color, food, rhythm, movement, and visitor interactions.
- Terri Dreyer
- Ian Dreyer
- Kristine Kobila
- Samantha Johnson
- Lance Dickman
- Ivy Leleux
- Kelsey Chappuis
- Ana Chu
- Maria Ory
- Evie Bentch
In 2021, NANO was hired by the New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority as the Architect of Record for the Stage 1 Interior Upgrades, marking the “largest contract the [Exhibition Hall Authority] has ever awarded to a Small and Emerging Business”.
Beginning in 1984, the facility was built in three phases over the course of 10 years; continuity was achieved at the building transitions, but over the years has become disconnected. A key ambition of NANO’s design team is to utilize the inconsistencies as opportunities for improvement, growth, and stability throughout the framework of the facility. NANO identified where the disconnects existed between MCCNO and their end goal before being able to address them and find the inherent opportunities. Interviews with staff were combined with research and on-site observations to identify and address all challenges and considerations.
Currently, NANO is responsible for the improvements of over 580,000 SF of space consisting of first floor lobby areas, pre-function corridors and skylight areas, and over 120 meeting rooms.
The team is utilizing the patterns, typical urban archetypes, and the natural forces of the Mississippi River that historically determined our unique urban grid system into the design of the facility. Abstracting typical materiality, exclusive to New Orleans and cultural context, we are producing a heterogenous design strategy for a holistic experience that emulates New Orleans without imitation.
Other crucial goals that are driving the design of the facility are the AIA 2030 Commitment, modernizing infrastructure and technology in a post-COVID environment, promoting local small businesses, cultivating a better connection with the New Orleans community, and strengthening MCCNO’s identity that captures the essence of New Orleans.