Louisiana Music and Heritage Experience Museum

This 120,000 sq. ft. contemporary new museum concept design is intended to showcase and highlight the contributions that the city of New Orleans has made to the music industry as a whole. The museum's mission is to educate, inform, celebrate, and enjoy the rich history of New Orleans in terms of music and the rhythm provided by the city itself.


New Orleans, LA




120,000 SF

Located across the street from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in Downtown New Orleans, the museum will serve as a premier destination for visitors and locals alike to enjoy. The Louisiana Music and Heritage Experience will provide visitors a comprehensive experience in a newly constructed building, complete with state-of-the-art exhibit space, a performance theater or soundstage, a research/archival area, facility sales space, an attractive lobby, museum store, and classroom/education areas. There will also include a music club and restaurant for museum visitors to enjoy the sounds and tastes of New Orleans culture.

While there are several smaller museums in the state and region that celebrate specific genres of music, the complete view of music as it relates to the people and past of the city of New Orleans and state of Louisiana are not yet represented in one space. The goal for the Louisiana Music and Heritage Experience is to create a unified story of music in the Pelican State and to "solidify their music communities' roles in the ongoing story of American music."

The design team sought inspiration from music and its source: instruments. The architects knew that instruments were created in particular ways to create specific sounds. For example, the outer shell of the Museum took inspiration from the hollowed-out body of a guitar, designed to create sound waves through vibrations resonating throughout the body itself.

Seen in the design of the rooftop terrace and full exterior façade, this mimicking of shape creates a "symphonic" relationships between exhibit and architecture.

Precedent images are utilized during the architectural design process to spark inspiration; our architectural team employed the latest in image-generating software to create precedent images, aided by artificial intelligence (AI) program Midjourney. With access to a vast archive of instrument images, these algorithms can discern the nuances of form, texture, and proportion that define various musical instruments.

Images of guitars, violins, saxophones, and cymbals were input, accompanied by descriptions like "Zumthor architecture," "dramatic lighting" and "cinematic" to add dimensional instructions for creative outputs.

AI image generation command: "Cello violin cymbal architecture"
AI image generation command: "Violin cymbal saxophone architecture"
AI image generation command: "Cinematic volumetric lighting Zumthor Cymbal"
AI image generation command: "Zumthor cinematic lighting violin cymbal piano"

Artificial intelligence was utilized during the design process to generate a vast spectrum of architectural forms and styles in the form of massing studies, mainly drawing inspiration, again, from instruments like guitars and saxophones. The production of creative massing studies led to the aforementioned "guitar-like" design that can be seen in the Museum's outer shell. Form and function pair together in both cases: to produce sound from a guitar and to provide a multifunctional outdoor terrace feature for the celebration of Louisiana's contribution to the music industry.

The outlines and silhouettes of various instruments were used as design inspiration for the exterior facade of the museum. Viewers can sense the intricate design notes taken from violins, guitars, and various brass instruments throughout the outer building details. Sinuous and flowing lines shown on the instruments here are reflected and incorporated throughout the architectural design, both inside and outside the building.

Instrument silhouettes used for inspiration for the Museum's design
View of the Box Office area
The Record Store located within the museum.
The Sound Stage performance theater will be used for live musical sets.
View of the Rooftop Terrace
View of the vertical gallery perspective
View of the vertical gallery perspective

While this creation is still in the "concept design" phase, the Louisiana Music and Heritage Experience museum board of directors continues to make a solid case for the community's need for the museum, crafting feasibility studies and garnering support for the construction of the Museum. Various Louisiana musicians have spoken in support of the museum, including Kirk Joseph of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band: "It needs to be done on a grand scale because New Orleans music has offered so much to the world over the centuries."