VergesRome Architects | New Orleans Architectural Firm



VergesRome Architects was retained by Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College to assist with their Strategic Plan, looking ahead to the next 100 years for the monastery and seminary. VRA focused on campus facilities, both existing and previously planned, and site planning. Delineating and protecting the private cloistered areas of the Monastery and Seminary College was very important, as the campus also contains public areas such as the Abbey Church, Christian Life Center, Benet Hall Auditorium, and Rouquette Library. 

Seminary buildings on the wooded campus are notable examples of the mid-century Regional Modernism style exemplified by the architect, New Orleans’ Lawrence and Saunders. The mission was to preserve the seminary buildings’ unique architectural character, make them more energy efficient and suited for contemporary use, and attract more seminary candidates through the availability of modern facilities with desired amenities. 

New HVAC systems in all seminary buildings were a high priority. A new Central Plant Building housing the Chiller System was constructed as part of the $4.1 million Vianney Hall renovation to service five seminary buildings totaling 103,000 SF. 

Vianney Hall, a 1960 dormitory used for 40 years as a storage building, underwent full renovation, returning to its originally intended use, completed February 2014. One of three adjacent mirror-image buildings that form three sides of a revitalized Quadrangle green space, Vianney Hall’s renovation is Phase One of the Campus Strategic Plan program that creates an academic nucleus on campus with a serene outdoor quad and separates cloistered portions of the campus from public and semi-public areas. 

The 20,000 SF, two-story dormitory building is now a modern residence hall with 40 one-bedroom units, each with a private bath, two Dorm Deans’ suites, and common areas, including a Lobby on the first floor and Prayer Room on the second floor. Built-in, custom dorm room furnishings were designed by VRA. 

2018 AIA Louisiana Award of Merit 

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

In Joint Venture with Jerry Campbell and Associates of Baton Rouge, the noted New Orleans architectural firm, Kessels Diboll Kessels (KDK), acquired by VergesRome Architects in 2010, has designed a 752-car parking garage for the Louisiana State University campus. Located on a parcel of land bounded by Highland Road, Raphael Semmes, and East Campus Drive, the $22.8 Million facility was completed in March 2013. The six-story LSU parking structure was designed to complement the existing architectural fabric of the University. 

The project also included the design of a space for the new location of the Barnes and Noble LSU Bookstore that is accessed on the Highland Road frontage, as part of the complex containing the new garage. The bookstore can also be accessed from the garage. Additional ancillary space has been included on Level One of the garage for the use of various campus organizations. 

Port Sulphur, Louisiana 

VergesRome Architects designed South Plaquemines High School for the Plaquemines Parish School System, on the site of the former Buras Middle School in destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Designed to accommodate 650 students in over 125,000 SF of area, the school provides for the school district’s projected population growth. Flood and storm surge risks are mitigated through the design at 18’ above grade, in compliance with FEMA mandates. With a cost of $37.3 Million, the school opened for students in Fall 2013. VRA also designed a new vehicular access bridge to the school in a separate, CDBG-funded improvement project. 

Five science laboratories and a library/media center are outfitted with modern cutting-edge equipment and technology capabilities.  A 700-seat Gymnasium with 200-seat Auxiliary Gym, training and equipment rooms, locker/shower/toilet rooms, and offices are provided for Physical Education. 

Arts education is supported through Band/Chorus, Drama/Speech classrooms; Music Library; offices; and music performance practice rooms. The Visual Arts room is augmented by a Kiln Room. A 700-seat Auditorium with stage, dressing rooms, prop construction room, and costume room was completed in early 2015. 

In addition to the core academic areas, South Plaquemines High School also contains a Special Education Department serving Middle and High School Special Education students, with a daily living kitchen; resource and conference rooms; a Speech and Therapy classroom; and seclusion space. A Career and Technology Education Center is incorporated within the school. The school has 5,000 SF of administrative and guidance offices, and 8,000 SF in foodservice, dining and common areas.