Within the dense fabric of the French Quarter, nuanced use of spatial thresholds has been a critical element in differentiating between public and private space. At the scale of the aperture, the louvered shutter plays a critical role in this public | private gradation. The word louver is derived from the French ‘l’ouvert’ or the open one. Functionally, the louver provides privacy and shading while still allowing the critical airflow that was needed before the advent of air conditioning. At night, the louvered shutter takes on another more abstract role performing in a figure field reversal with the buildings they articulate. In absence of daylight, the window assembly is transformed from penetration to object. Through its louvered slats, the shutter casts light out from the historic homes into the street while also allowing an almost voyeuristic view of the street life from French Quarter homes.
L’ouvert proposes an ethereal and interactive shuttered object which transforms the traditional vertical proportion of the historic French Quarter window into a horizontal element. The proposal, viable for both exterior and interior installation, consists of a large scale CNC cut EPS* volume with concealed LED tape lighting and operable light wings referencing the slats of the louvered shutter. The proposal allows users to control the light exposure throughout the space and on other visitors through manipulation of 3 vertical bays of louvers and lighting level controls. Both are controlled from the interior corridor where a series of secondary vertical penetrations allow the user to view through the volume to the effects of their manipulations on the illumination of the site.