Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Hays Town: Sketches

Always a popular topic, looking at the architecture of Louisiana’s A Hays Town, even repeated viewings never fail to reveal a previously unnoticed nuance so common to the work of Mr Town. One can spend hours poring over designs, sketches and photographs, but unfortunately the material available to enjoy that hobby is often hard to find. One of the hard-to-find books that offers a treasure of architectural sketches is a 1985 limited printing of The Architectural Style of A. Hays Town, which includes 106 sketches in colored pencil of the architect’s projects.

From the book’s introduction written by Blanche Town Gladney…

A Hays Town developed his own unique style, calling on his background experiences and his God-given artistic ability. His travels to Europe, Mexico, Central America and other parts of the United States were educational experiences. He always returned with sketch books filled with architectural details that he found interesting. Years of studying and measuring the antebellum mansions of the south, roaming the streets and parks of New Orleans and living the impressionable time of childhood in Acadian country all contributed to the culmination of a style indigenous to his part of the world.

The demolitions yards in New Orleans became inured to seeing elegant ladies with Mr Town poking into the nether region of the yards, selecting blinds, bricks, wood and beams. An innovator of the use of these old materials, he liked the softness and interest the old materials gave to his houses. He felt that they added an element of warmth and hospitality to a family’s home. Local millwork shops retooled their machinery to run moldings and muntins to his specifications. His abundant use of windows and French doors in these traditional houses brought in the outside whenever possible, making the rooms seem part of the outdoors.

A signed copy of the book: “Best Wishes A Hays Town”

The Freeman House, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1964

The Smith House, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1967

The Marchman House, Monroe, Louisiana 1970

The Ellison Law Office, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1976

For more on A Hays Town look here and here.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. One never tires of looking over the designs of A. Hays Town. Every building or house is so much a part of the environment around them. And there is added pleasure in living in a town where so many of his structures stand and add so much to the architectural landscape.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America