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A. Hays Town and the Architectural Image of Louisiana

Imperial Calcasieu Museum

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A. Hays Town and the Architectural Images of Louisiana exhibit will open September 10 thru October 24. A pre-opening cocktail party will be held in a local A. Hays Town home. 

The focus of the exhibition will be Town’s residential architecture, for which he gained national renown. It will also showcase the evolution of Town’s work over more than 70 years of practice, from the Modernist designs of his earlier commercial and civic buildings to his later iconic residences, which were inspired by the historic architecture of the American South. A rich assemblage of drawings, furnishings, photographs, architectural models, and archival records will introduce visitors to his design approach, as well as his impressive career. In his single-family houses, Town integrated historic motifs from a variety of cultural traditions, drawing upon 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. He arranged principal 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 defining aspect of Town’s practice was his attention to long-term, intimate, and trusting relationships with his clients, who came to consider him a member of their extended families. The exhibition will emphasize the important social element of his work through videotaped oral histories, not only with Town’s original clients but also with second-generation owners of Town’s houses, who take pride in caring for his legacy. Homeowners throughout the region, as well as Town family members, have participated in this significant initiative to honor an architect whose approach encompassed not only architecture, but also interior and landscape design, art, and the interpretation of what might be termed “lifestyle.” The Louisiana Architectural Foundation will partner with the Hilliard Museum to present tours of select Town-designed ©Philip Gould Vermilion Parish Courthouse Page 2 of 2 homes and businesses throughout the region in conjunction with the exhibition.