On May 4, 2017, Kevin Harris and Melissa Sullivan enlisted five architect students from the LSU College of Art and Design to begin measuring the architecture of Eldorado Planation in Fluker, LA.
The students that joined Harris and Sullivan were Anastasia Nunez (4th year), Natasha Sachania (4th year), Jacob Lyons (2nd year), Sarah Eikrem (4th year) and Andrea Thigpen (4th year).
New Orleans businessman Samuel Gilman built Eldorado in 1849 near a railroad when the state legislature moved the state capital from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. In 1942, the Dedric H. Gill family purchased the home from former governor Jared Y. Sanders. Since then, the house has undergone many additions and renovations similar to the one Harris and the students are currently performing.
On this trip, the students learned how to measure and record the existing building. They started with the exterior perimeter, established running dimension locations for all fenestration and then moved inside to record the first and upper floor plans. After that, they recorded as many vertical items as time would allow as well as wall thickness and molding profiles.
“They split us into two teams,” Thigpen said, “one for measuring the interior of the house, and one for the exterior. Then, they subdivided teams, giving each of us a specific job. We, the students, did most of the measuring, while they compiled our measurements into drawings and took notes about the house. These hand sketches where then going to be entered into a computer program and made into a digital model.”
I really loved learning about the documentation process,” Eikrem said, “it wasn’t something I’d ever seen up close and I was really surprised by how little technology was used. I thought it was a really interesting process.”
“They really did a good job,” Sullivan said. “I was happy the students were intrigued. They stayed focused and helped us accomplish a great deal of what needed to be recorded.”
“I was impressed with the student’s ability to measure and accurately draw what they saw,” Harris said, “especially the historic moldings, trim and classical details. This is a wonderful credit to the SHiP (Students for Historic Preservation) organization within the College of Art and Design at LSU.”