[Editor's Note: In no way could this brief tribute have captured the life and many contributions of the late architect Dave Perkins, but we did miss an important part of his professional career. We apologize and thank architect Charles Beazley for pointing it out. We'd also like to remind all local architects who worked with Perkins over the course of his incredible career that they will be invited at the luncheon to be a part of the commermorative photo honoring his many achievements. Below is a note we received from Beazley:
The tribute to Dave Perkins is most appropriate; he was a leader in the architectural community throughout his life. However, a significant part of his legacy has been left out. Having worked for and with Dave over 20 years, I am proud to point out that the firm he established in 1955 is still in existence today. Of the protégés listed in the article, only one was ever Dave’s partner. Larry Guidry and I worked for Dave from the 60s and 70s and later became his partners. We continued the firm after his retirement as Guidry Beazley Architects and I continued the firm after Larry passed away in its current form of Architects Beazley Moliere. The firm Dave established is the oldest firm in Lafayette and continues to thrive and win INDesign Awards. We are proud to be a part of the legacy Dave established and thrilled to see that he is being honored at the luncheon.]
The INDesign Awards is an annual juried competition to recognize excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Winning architects and interior designers and decorators will be honored at the INDesign Awards Luncheon, formerly called The Smart Growth Lecture, which is part of IND Media’s annual Lecture Series. The winning entries in the residential category are featured in this issue beginning on Page 18; the commercial winners will be featured in the next issue of our sister publication ABiz.
IberiaBank has sponsored the Lecture Series since its launch 11 years ago. “Thanks to IberiaBank’s support, we’ve been able to bring cutting-edge thinkers to Lafayette to cover a variety of topics, especially the importance of planning responsibly for growth in our parish,” says IND Media Co-Publisher Cherry Fisher May. “We know it’s had an impact on community leaders as we plan for our city’s future, and the bank’s role has been pivotal in that success.”
Keynote speaker for this year’s April 24 event is the French architect/historian Stephane Kirkland, author of Paris Reborn, a highly acclaimed and engrossing account of the transformation of Paris from a dirty, congested and dangerous city into one of Europe’s most beloved landmarks during the tenure of Napoleon III. Of French and American descent, Kirkland holds degrees in architecture, architectural history, urban law and economics and has an MBA. His career spans architecture, business consulting and writing in London and Parish, where he currently resides.
Van Eaton & Romero is a legacy sustaining sponsor of the INDesign Awards, joined this year by Uniglobe Associated Travel, which handled all arrangements for Kirkland’s travel from Paris. Returning as supporting sponsors in 2014 are Paul Michael Company and Top’s Appliances & Cabinetry, underwriter of the INDesign Awards photo gallery in this issue and at theind.com.
This year’s awards ceremony will also include a special tribute to the late Dave Perkins — a trailblazer for Lafayette architecture — who died Feb. 7 after battling cancer. He was 88.
In addition to playing a pivotal role in the creation of UL Lafayette’s architecture program — then SLI — Perkins also helped define Lafayette’s contemporary architectural landscape, which was mostly non-existent in the early 1950s.
“He started the architecture program at SLI in August of ’54 as a feeder system for Tulane,” says Dave’s widow, Edna Perkins.
After leaving the program in 1957 — the school wouldn’t allow him to teach and hold a private office simultaneously — Perkins opened his own firm.
“Practically everybody architecturally came through our office, most came after they finished their third year, and we’d start hiring ’em and putting ’em to work in the drafting room,” recalls Edna.
Perkins’ work can be seen city-wide. Some of his more noteworthy designs include the downtown branches of the Lafayette Parish Library and the old Guaranty Bank (now IberiaBank) as well as J.W. Faulk and S.J. Montgomery elementary schools and L.J. Alleman Middle School. He’s also responsible for a number of homes in the Bendel Gardens and River Bend subdivisions, and designed the College Oaks office building and the office of Dr. Craig Straight, both of which are located on South College, along with a number of designs and redesigns in the Oil Center.
“For many years, and especially during Lafayette’s first oil boom years, Dave was the architect,” says local architect Lynn Guidry. “Dave was designing much of the Oil Center as well as many outstanding homes, churches and other facilities. A large percentage of the current architects in Lafayette either worked for Dave — including myself — or worked for someone who worked for Dave; his legacy lives on in us, as well as his buildings.”
Among Perkins’ protégés are Don Breaux, Bob Barras, Herman Gesser Jr., Jack Tolson, Wayne Corn, Lyle Bergeron, Fabian Patin, Jim Ziler and Pierce Meleton.
As the result of a partnership with INNOV8 Lafayette, each year an INDesign INNOV8tion Award is presented to commemorate inventive projects or concepts within the local built community. This year’s honor goes to Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Comprehensive Plan, which is entering its final phases of development. “Unlike past efforts, this plan has been well-funded, driven by a respected national firm experienced in building broad community engagement using the best research practices of the day,” says May. “It comes at a pivotal time in our growth and will provide a solid blueprint for Lafayette to evolve into a competitive, livable city in the 21st century.”
City-Parish President Joey Durel, who will be traveling with family the week of the luncheon, has tapped his assistant Carlee Alm-Labar to accept on behalf of LCG. “No one has worked harder on the comp plan than Carlee,” says Durel. “We are thrilled with the honor.”
The INDesign Awards is a kick-off event for INNOV8, a week-long series of events coordinated by The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce to foster inspiration and connectivity among innovators in our community.