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Fall 2018

Residential Genius

Louisiana Architecture Foundation, Hilliard Museum explore A. Hays Town homes

Residential Genius

Photo by Greta Gerstner of Hays Town Home Tour

Visitors peruse original A. Hays Town drawings of the Episcopal Church of Ascension in Lafayette as part of a July architectural tour.

A. Hays Town was a practicing architect for more than seventy years, from early Modernist designs of commercial work to civic buildings to his iconic residences, which garnered national exposure. This fall the Louisiana Architecture Foundation (LAF) and the Hilliard Museum in Lafayette partner on two tours of Town’s single-family houses.

Town was born in Crowley in 1903. Working for the Mississippi-based architect N.W. Overstreet, he gained prominence in the 1930s for his commercial work, including commissions for bank buildings, schools, and governmental offices around the state. In the mid-1960s, Town began to focus almost exclusively on residential homes. Integrating French, Spanish, and Caribbean building techniques and details, he achieved sensuous patinas of age through his use of recovered materials from demolished buildings — including cedar beams, heart-pine flooring, and imported marbles — as well as antique furnishings and decorative fixtures. Town arranged principle rooms to emphasize views toward the landscape and often worked with clients to design their gardens. His beloved and often imitated homes are evocative of the archetypal residential architecture of Creole Louisiana, indeed, a Louisiana Style.

A preliminary sketch by A. Hays Town for The Martin House in Baton Rouge, 1984. Courtesy of Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University Library.

LAF is a statewide, non-profit organization  that works to engage, educate, and promote on behalf of Louisiana architecture and architects. The organization hosts architectural tours, an annual architecture film festival, and  educational seminars.

The architectural tours of Town’s homes take place on Sunday, October 21 in Baton Rouge, and Saturday, December 2 in New Iberia. Both events are produced in conjunction with the Hilliard Museum’s exhibition on A. Hays Town, which opened in June. The exhibition includes a rich assemblage of drawings, furnishings, photographs, architectural models and architectural records.

For more information visit louisianaarchitecture.org or call 504-266-0560, or visit the Hilliard Museum at hilliardmuseum.org.