Deutsches Haus can proceed with its plan for a new building next to Bayou St. John and that structure can be as Germanic-looking as the German cultural organization wants it to be, the City Council said Thursday, overruling a recommendation from the New Orleans City Planning Commission that called for the project’s architects to revise the building’s design.
Councilwoman Susan Guidry, whose district includes the site, called the commission’s position “a little misguided” and said the structure as originally designed would be a welcome addition to the Bayou St. John area.
Guidry said she received numerous letters in support of the building’s design, which incorporates architecture from across Germany’s landscape.
The proposed design includes steeply pitched “jerkinhead” or half-hip roofs that are embellished with a patterned tile design. The building was designed by Mathes Brierre Architects.
In a report recommending approval of the proposed construction, the Planning Commission staff expressed concern that the proposed design did not “mesh well” with the surrounding neighborhood or the city as a whole. The commission then voted to approve the proposed building with the proviso that it should be redesigned and another plan submitted for review.
The City Council eliminated that requirement Thursday.
Deutsches Haus has been temporarily located in Metairie since its century-old headquarters on South Galvez Street was expropriated by the state and then demolished in 2011 to make room for the new University Medical Center in Mid-City. The organization’s annual Oktoberfest celebration has been held in Kenner since then.
When the new facility is complete, the public celebration will return to Orleans Parish.
The site identified for the new facility is a nearly 5-acre parcel of land facing Moss Street, between Esplanade Avenue and Parkview Place.
The building itself will mostly operate as a private club, hosting membership meetings and social and cultural events.
The organization has proposed building an 18,342-square-foot building. A large event hall, kitchen facilities and classrooms will occupy the first floor, while the second floor will contain member areas, restrooms and a balcony. A paved outside beer garden, a 197-space parking lot and a 3,500-square-foot maintenance building are planned for the rest of the space.