From iron foundry to wartime weapons, the PRC is one of few surviving commercial Gothics
Founded in 1974, The Preservation Resource Center, called the PRC, is as important inside as it is outside.
The organization was formed to promote the preservation of New Orleans’ historic architecture. Until then preservation work had been done behind closed doors, in architectural firms and non profits. Now, it was being taken out into the public. Citizens and neighbors got involved in preservation projects and the Preservation Resource Center became a household name.
The Leeds-Davis building that houses the PRC is a perfect example of commercial Gothic, which was not uncommon in New Orleans back in the day. It is uncommon now though because very few of this type have survived.
This building was designed for the Leeds Iron Foundry. They had been operating in New Orleans since 1825. They hired the firm of Gallier Turpin & Company to be the architects and builders in 1852.
The building is made of Cast Iron. It used a series of bolts and tie rods to join prefab parts together. Cast Iron buildings were the forerunner to the development of the steel framed skyscraper. They also foreshadowed the modern use of prefabrication.
The Gothic style is very evident in the facade of the building. Pointed arches, columns, and window hoods are all present.
By 1861 Leeds changed from an Iron Foundry to manufacturing war materials. It was here that the Saunders rifled cannon and other guns were manufactured.
The storied history of the company and the intricate surviving Gothic design give this piece of architecture a life of it’s own. It has a story to tell and the Preservation Resource Center is very good at passing along the stories to future generations.
By becoming the modern office building it is today, the Preservation Resource Center is an excellent example of adaptive reuse.