Move over Zaha Hadid, there's a new undulating, albescent museum design in town. The town of Natchitoches, La., that is, is now home to the Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame, whose interior looks like something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Trahan Architects, the New Orleans–based firm behind the design, apparently channeled the "fluvial geomorphology" of the nearby Cane River in creating the dynamic interior of the space, which is made up of more than a thousand cast stone panels. It's harder to see how the exterior, covered in pleated copper slats, alludes to "the shutters and clapboards of nearby plantations," but with a structure this modern, it's probably for the best that historical pastiche was kept to a minimum.
As with the Getty Museum in L.A., it's easy to imagine the architectural experience of the place overshadowing the educational one for all but the most ardent devotees of, in this case, the local history and sporting culture of Louisiana. But a memorable museum experience is a memorable museum experience. The Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame combines a pair of collections that, until recently, were housed in a courthouse and a university colosseum, so the new setting—which also happens to be the site of the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase—is undoubtedly an upgrade for the heirlooms of the Bayou State.