Lordy, lordy, the Superdome is 40. The spaceship-like structure opened its doors on Poydras Street this day in 1975, and since then the building of the future has experienced Hurricane Katrina, a corporate acquisition, and the infamous Beyonce Bowl blackout.
The Superdome was designed by architect duo Curtis & Davis, who built modern homes around New Orleans (like this Lakeshore West mid-century modern that popped up on the market in 2014). When the dome — dubbed "the superdome" by onlookers even before construction began — opened in 1975, message boards flashed to guests "Welcome to the Future," according to The Advocate. In developing conceptual models for the structure, architect Nathaniel Curtis "stressed the building's legacy as a classical amphitheater envisioned in modern terms, a challenge to both the past and the future." With a diameter of 680 feet, it's the largest fixed domed structure in the world.
The dome has had its good and bad times over the past 40 years: It became a sad symbol of New Orleans' chaos after the levee failures when thousands of residents, stranded in the city as the storm approached, sought refuge there. The roof of the dome could not withstand the storm and peeled off, causing the inside the flood. It celebrated its first Saints home game there with a bunch of fanfare. Mercedes-Benz acquired the dome's corporate rights in 2011. And then of course, the dome hosted Beyonce Bowl — sorry, Super Bowl XLVII — which was marred by a huge power failure.
But today, in this city with a love for the past, let's celebrate this hulking, 1960s idea of the future on Poydras Street that's become a symbol of New Orleans.
· Designed to be 'greatest building in the history of mankind' Superdome still amazes even on 40th birthday [The Advocate]
· Live in a Home Designed by the Architects of the Superdome [Curbed NOLA]
· Exhibit Highlights Superdome [Southeastern Architecture blog]