To the chagrin of many forward-thinking architects, the new developments are costumed in a nostalgic style meant to blend them with neighborhoods that took decades to develop.
“The kind of difference that’s being produced now is quite false,” said Scott Bernhard, a professor at Tulane School of Architecture, of Harmony Oaks. “Everyone can see that the buildings are being done all at once by one entity and given rather silly superficial differences to seem as if they’re not.”
The combination of 9-foot ceilings — low by Crescent City standards — with rails, balconies and other features meant for traditional New Orleans buildings produces a squat, disconcerting “Disney-scale” miniaturization, in Bernhard’s view.
The impulse to architecturally revisit the past is a popular precept of 21st century American design, New Orleans architect Steven Bingler said. The trouble is, it may not advance architecture. And it can seem contrived.