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River Ranch, Traditional Neighborhood Development, Lafayette, Louisiana
Before River Ranch was begun in 1997, a community hadn’t been built from scratch for more than 100 years in the Lafayette area. Architecturally, the creation of River Ranch was as much about fostering a neighborly social structure as it was about infusing regional elements into the development. River Ranch today is a mix of about 1,300 single- and multi-family residential structures and numerous commercial buildings. Residents meet and mingle as they walk to the gym, restaurants, city club and shopping.
River Ranch’s non-gated traditional neighborhood development (TND) design emphasizes a congenial, walkable community where people can get to know one another. In eras prior to WWII, communities were, in large part, built in response to living patterns. TND attempts to resurrect and update that concept. Well before homogenous suburban neighborhoods and long automobile commutes were norms, people—singles, families, young and old—lived and worked in the same place and walked to markets, eateries and the town square. The River Ranch TND nestles a community-centric philosophical ideal within a relaxed, charming neighborhood. The challenge, however, was to find a wood window company that offered rot-resistance, performance grade ratings, and the sizes and styles necessary for the diversity of commercial and residential structures that would be built in River Ranch.
The first TND in Louisiana, River Ranch was considered at its inception to be the twentieth TND in the United States. The development has been well received and garnered national attention in the design community.
JELD-WEN® Wood windows were specified in numerous projects for two compelling reasons: they are visually pleasing in terms of traditional look and proportion, and the proprietary AuraLast® Wood treatment withstands the Louisiana humidity by guaranteeing rot resistance for 20 years.
Architect Kirby Pecot calls River Ranch one of the most successful TND neighborhoods in the South. One of the development’s first commercial buildings is the Onebane, named for a Lafayette law firm. Its 56,000 square feet are broken into distinct facades that echo the visually mixed look of traditional neighborhoods. Other traditional elements, such as brick and mortar exteriors and JELD-WEN® Clad-Wood windows with 7/8” simulated divided lites (SDLs), figure prominently in the design.
The windows’ wood interiors are appropriate aesthetically and the high performance structural ratings (minimum design pressure rating of 35) are critical. In addition to looking good, the windows have to perform in severe weather as well. Hurricanes Rita and Katrina were good tests; the windows held up beautifully, making it possible for the traditional look to endure.
- JELD-WEN Clad-Wood Windows with AuraLast® Wood (pine) and SDLs
- River Ranch Architect: Steven Oubre, principal architect and planner, Architects Southwest
- Onebane Architect: Kirby Pecot, principal architect, Pecot & Co. Architects
- Onebane Builder: The Lemoine Company
- Dealer: Doug Ashy Building Materials
- Developers: Robert Daigle, Rodney Savoy