Magnolia Mound Visitors Center / Trahan Architects


© Timothy Hursley

© Timothy Hursley
  • Architects: Trahan Architects
  • Location: 2040 Iowa St, Baton Rouge, LA 70802, United States
  • Lead Architects: Victor F. “Trey” Trahan, III, FAIA
  • Team: Brad McWhirter, AIA, Mark Hash, Ben Rath, Michael McCune, Kim Nguyen, AIA, Sarah Cancienne
  • Area: 4000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Timothy Hursley
  • Landscape Architecture: Reed Hilderbrand
  • Mep Engineering: AST Engineers
  • Civil Engineering: ABMB Engineers
  • Structural Engineering: McLaren Engineering Group
  • Cultural Planner: Lord Cultural Resources
  • General Contractor: Omega General Contractors

© Timothy Hursley

© Timothy Hursley

Text description provided by the architects. Situated on high ground adjacent to the Mississippi River, Magnolia Mound was a working plantation established in 1791. Today, Magnolia Mound’s mission is to illustrate and interpret the French Creole lifestyle through educational programs, workshops, lectures, festivals and other special events. The design intent of the project is to emphasize the importance of site and topography as it relates to Magnolia Mound.


Site Plan

Site Plan

Section and Ground Floor Plan

Section and Ground Floor Plan

The minimal intervention seeks to elevate the existing historic buildings and site by establishing a clear threshold for visitors as they circulate around the base of the mound. As one transitions through the new visitor center and ascends to the top of the mound, the building merges with the landscape to become unobtrusive and imperceptible. The top of the new structure aligns with the elevation of the high ground of the mound, establishing a datum which links old and new architecture on site.


© Timothy Hursley

© Timothy Hursley

© Timothy Hursley

© Timothy Hursley

Translucent channel glass was selected to subtly obscure occupants within and around the new building like an impressionist painting – blurring the distinction between new and old, building and landscape. The museum display cases were designed as a complementary element to the new architectural intervention. Inspired by the work of Donald Judd and Sol Lewitt, these solid aluminum fixtures attempt to bridge between sculpture, furniture, and architecture; providing storage space, display opportunities, and point of sale.


© Timothy Hursley

© Timothy Hursley

Program Diagram

Program Diagram

Courtesy of Trahan Architects

Courtesy of Trahan Architects