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A. Hays Town changed the face of the Louisiana house. In a career that includes designing more than five hundred homes, he led architects, builders, and homeowners to embrace the finest elements of Louisiana's architectural past. Almost every home built in Louisiana during the last twenty years is in some way inspired by Town's work. The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town honors his legacy as Louisiana's premier residential architect. Color photographs of numerous homes -- including Town's own -- by Philip Gould combined with an illuminating text by Cyril E. Vetter produce a volume that captures the appeal and beauty of the state's finest architectural tradition. Born and raised in rural southwest Louisiana, Hays Town graduated from Tulane University with a degree in architecture in 1926 and worked for a firm in Jackson, Mississippi, for many years. He established his own successful commercial practice in Baton Rouge in 1939, but in the 1960s, Town turned to his abiding passion -- residential architecture. Throughout this chapter of his career, he perfected his inimitable style and emerged as one of the most prominent architects in the South. Town's residential designs are perceptibly influenced by the diverse culture of south Louisiana. His synthesis of the classic Acadian cottage, Spanish courtyards, and exterior French doors with Creole-influenced full-length shutters achieves an original confluence of seemingly disparate yet elegantly balanced themes and forms. Other Town trademarks include pigeonniers, tree alleys, thirteen-foot ceilings, heavy use of such woods as cypress and heart of pine, plantation-style separate structures, and brick floors with a special beeswax finish. The Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town illuminates the momentous effect Town has had on the look of Louisiana. Crafted from the perspective of two people, Vetter and Gould, who are not architects but admirers of one man's exceptional talent, this delightful book demonstrates that each Town house is a work of art that fits both person and terrain. At the door of each home, proud owners hang a bronze plaque that says it all: A. Hays Town, Architect.
This is the first thorough and substantive examination of architect A. Hays Town's work. His 70-year career provides an ideal case study in the evolution of 20th century American architecture, spanning from a period dominated by Beaux Arts formalism, through a period characterized by the assimilation and acceptance of European Modernism, to a period once again receptive to traditional and regional influences. This examination reveals the remarkable talent and logic which enabled him to assimilate a wide variety of influences from his education and early career as well as influences from the historical examples of his region. It contributes both to an understanding of the potential use of vernacular traditions in general, and specifically, of the rich architectural influences present through Louisiana's long and intriguing history. The study also includes a discussion of the Town's habits, values, and relationships, providing valuable insights into typical issues involved in the practice of architecture.