While NANO was designing a renovation of the New Orleans District Attorney's office, the city elected a new District Attorney who had a more holistic vision for serving the city and a belief that architecture could help him realize it. So we paused our work, listened, learned from the District Attorney. We adapted our plans to better support the people of New Orleans while improving the quality of life for the incoming team.
- Terri Dreyer
- Ian Dreyer
- Samantha Johnson
- Kelsey Chappuis
The DA wanted to balance the traditional role of the office as the city’s prosecutor with a focus on community outreach and safety, public dialogue, and trust-building. While our original plans called for extending the building's second floor across an under-used double-height lobby, our updated scheme transformed that lobby into a grand public forum for hosting important conversations — as well as conferences, job fairs, and other community-building events.
Although the plans expanded, the budget didn't. But our responsive team was able to design a solution that made the yawning space feel warm and welcoming. Taking cues from hospitality projects, we developed a wood-clad "ribbon" circulating through the lobby to create new spaces, suggest new uses, and generally humanize the imposing brick-and-concrete space. Its angled forms are inspired by understated features of the original mid-century Brutalist structure
To make the incoming DA's staff more comfortable and productive, we learned about their goals and organizational structure before redesigning our plans. We created new open-office areas to foster collaboration, updated cubicles to improve privacy and acoustics, and transformed a former file storage area into a much-needed break room. And to help keep the building cool on even the hottest New Orleans day, we implemented strategies for reducing the building's natural heat gain and improving AC performance.
The building, which contains 10 divisions and related office support staff required workspace expansion due to continued personnel growth. The scope of work is to utilize existing structural columns to add second floor office space at an open span area. Additions will include but not be limited to structural floor members, subfloor, finished flooring, modular cubicles as required, wall assemblies, ceilings, lighting, office furniture, and associated electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and data systems.