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Master of Architecture

Albert C. Ledner

Photographed by Greg Miles

AIA Emeritus 278

As a child, Bronx-born, New Orleans-raised Albert Ledner found an early form of artistic expression carving bars of soap – a mere hint of the creativity to come. At 91, the semi-retired Ledner is internationally known for his contributions to Modernist architecture. A graduate of Tulane’s School of Architecture and a veteran of World War II, he attended the Frank Lloyd Wright Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin. In 1950, he was commissioned to design his first house (House Beautiful featured the Metairie house in June, 1953) and other commissions followed. Ledner has designed residences, office buildings, churches, schools and commercial buildings. Among his best-known works are three landmark nautical-themed buildings originally designed for the National Maritime Union in New York City. His local legacy includes the Galatoire House, the Cointreau House and the Ash Tray House, all located on Park Island; the National Maritime Union Building on Tchoupitoulas Street (now the home of Camp Bow Wow) and the former Unitarian Church on Jefferson Avenue (now a private residence). He also has designed lighting fixtures and glass mosaic panels and invented and patented both a thermal gravity pump and a device that provides descent from high-rise buildings in case of emergency. Influenced by Wrightian Organic Architecture and aspects of the International Style, he experimented in form and ornamentation, creating structures and idiosyncratic landmarks that diverge from the work of his contemporaries. “The benefit of a lifelong architectural experience in New Orleans is having this wonderfully cultural atmosphere as an influence in the fascinating design process,” says Ledner.

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