Reusing historic buildings come with challenges and reviving one in New Orleans’ French Quarter was no exception. The dilapidated 1816 Seignouret-Brulatour House has been reused and preserved while adding the new Tricentennial Wing.
The 16,000-square-foot renovated museum provides galleries that depict history in the French Quarter, as well as the building’s architectural evolution. The building has seen many changes throughout its lifetime, from the home of a wine merchant and furniture maker to serving as the first television station in Louisiana.
Selecting an HVAC system that kept historic elements intact was solved with an energy-efficient floor-mounted water-cooled variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system. The units are disguised with removable enclosures to minimize visual impact while permitting access for maintenance. A 12’ x 12’ elevator was added to the historic building to assist in moving display materials. A theatre in the existing building and virtual reality viewers on the balconies allow visitors to view the courtyard as it appeared through the 1900s; both required extensive engineering coordination.
Recognizing New Orleans’ third millennial, the Tricentennial Wing is a new 15,500-square-foot, three-story building connected to the Brulatour Courtyard that houses three modern gallery spaces, as well as a museum shop and cafe. To protect artwork and artifacts on display, a pre-action fire system was selected as an added level of protection against inadvertent discharge.
The complex is served by a completely new HVAC system that incorporates both dehumidifiers and humidifiers in the gallery spaces to manage humidity levels and preserve art pieces.