Master of Architecture
John A. Chrestia
Photographed by Greg Miles
Tell us about your background. Growing up in New Orleans I always felt a kinship to its varied architectural styles. Inspired by a family friend who taught at the Newcomb Art School, I pursued architecture and art history at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. After working for several large architectural firms (and obtaining my architectural license), I was selected as one of the architects to select the location for the new Mississippi River bridge and then worked as architect in residence for former Mayor Moon Landrieu.
After initiating and coordinating such projects as the award winning Piazza d’Italia, the Growth Management Program (currently the Downtown Development District) and the Armstrong Park development, I formed my own firm with Tom Collum and Edwin Jackson. Chrestia Staub Pierce is an outgrowth of my original company. Our practice ranges from large new construction and restoration projects to high-end residential.
Who are the principles of your firm? We expanded our offices to New York in the late 1980s and 1990s, but now we are solely based in New Orleans. Sandy Staub and I are principals of the firm, and Denise Pierce is a long-time associate.
How does New Orleans affect your profession? What are
the benefits and challenges? Our city is a great aesthetic inspiration for our design practice, both locally and regionally. Talented professional artists and artisans, who help realize our visions, abound in the New Orleans area. The challenges pose only a problem with sources that are more available in much larger cities.
Tell us about your current projects. Currently our design work includes a “contemporary villa” on the Mississippi River near Poydras Street, a large banking and commercial development in Mississippi, the architectural interiors for an extensive addition to the New Orleans Country Club, corporate banking headquarters/executive offices for Iberia Bank as well as numerous high-end residential projects.
What else would you be doing if you weren’t doing this? As I spent a number of years teaching art history, I would focus on artistic endeavors as some of my fellow architects have done.