Billes Architects, LLC was formed in 2003 and re-established in 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana as a professional architectural, planning and interior design firm. In the spring, of 2010 we were named one of 50 Companies Louisiana Can’t Do Without, by 10/12 Corridor Magazine.
Our model maintains expertise at the highest level, keeps our overhead stable and manageable, and allows us to select the best partners and consultants to collaborate with for each project. Mr. Billes has developed close working partnerships with manylocal and national firms providing further capacity for architectural, engineering, planning and other consulting services.
Billes Architects provides visioning + pre-design, planning, architecture, and interior design services to clients who want innovation in their projects while supporting and enhancing the existing communities and the lifestyles of those that use the completed buildings and environments. The range of services we offer to our clientsprovides a complete project from initial scoping and feasibility assessment, environmental remediation coordination, architectural and interior design, FF&E purchase and installation, construction, substantial completion, and finally project occupancy. Mr. Billes initiated the design of his products company, named Billes Products, in 2007, has built prototypes which have been patented, has produced preformed financial models for the sale of many products and is in the process of launching these modern furniture products to the general public shortly. There will be a website link to the Billes Products website through the www.billesarchitects.com homepage. Billes also has produced individual home designs specifically geared to smaller lot sizes typical in New Orleans and can be viewed through the same website. Our offering of services is further expanded through close relationships with financing lenders, engineering firms, project management, developers, contractors (general contractors), systems furniture sales and delivery, and other specialized consultants throughout the gulf south region and the country.
We have worked extensively with neighborhood groups, project stakeholders and governmental agencies to provide comprehensive solutions to complex problems. Billes Architects’ awareness of codes and regulations, the value of the collective agreement, and historical context support our problem-solving skills. Coupled with our design and technical abilities, we can provide optimal solutions and rapid response to implementation needs. We can focus on innovation, creativity and the overall quality of our projects.
Our firm includes individuals who have designed and implemented some of the more visible projects in the New Orleans area: the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Phases II & III, the Renovation of Concourse “C” and Art installations of Armstrong International Airport, the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, the Hilton Riverside Master Plan, the design of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Aquarium ofthe Americas, and the Louisiana Superdome Repairs after Hurricane Katrina.
Billes Architects personnel have managed commercial and institutional projects with budgets totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as smaller individual projects.
Billes Architects is a minority-owned business and is community focused. The State’s Unified Certification Program certified usthrough the aviation board. Recently, Billes Architects received from the U.S. Small Business Administration the designation of HUBZone certification as a qualified HUBZone small business concern (SBC). This certification as a SBC now places the firm eligible for HUBZone opportunities and included on the list of qualified HUBZone small business concerns on U.S. Small Business Administration’s website.
Billes Architects, LLC is a certified DBE firm through the New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport’s DBE & SLDBE program.
Billes Architects has been established under a new, state-of-the-art model of operation. Mr. Gerald Billes serves as the company’s CEO and has over 40 years of experience as a licensed architect, licensed interior designer, and licensed commercial building contractor (consulting), supported by a core team of advisors and consultants:
Michael Todd has over 35 years of experience managing financial operations and multi-million dollar portfolios in the banking, higher education, nonprofit, and corporate sectors. He is a proven leader with a successful track record of managerial and fiscal operations acuity. Todd also brings executive leadership quality and experience from mentioned sectors.
Geoffrey Hartnett – 35 years of experience as a licensed architect and historian.
Gerald Billes is an active Board Member of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, and in the recent past has served on many public and private boards and commissions. He has been the President of two neighborhood Associations(Algiers Point Association and Park Timbers Neighborhood Association). He has served as the President of the New Orleans Chapter of AIA (American Institute of Architects) and has received many awards for projects under his direction. He has served as President of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). He served for many years on the Vieux Carré Commission Architectural Review Committee as well as the New Orleans Board of Building Standards and Appeals. He has taught design and professional practice courses at two university schools of architecture in Louisiana (Building Design at Tulane University and Professional Practice at Southern University in Baton Rouge).
Billes Architects, LLC (Billes) has worked on many of the projects that have shaped our city, from large, civic complexes to more modest community-based projects.Our work hashelped shape the New Orleans Riverfront, the City’s skyline, and its recovery after Hurricane Katrina. A sampling of some of our notable projects are listed (including somefor which Mr. Billes was the Principal-In-Charge with his previous firm):
- Feasibility Study and Financing Options for a New Orleans Hotel and Apartment Complex (name and location is confidential)
- Mali School of Music in Kita Mali
- Residential Doubles in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans
- Hattiesburg Implementation Master Plan Phase 3 (Twin Forks Rising-Ward 2)
- Shreveport Hotel and Retail/Restaurant Renovation
- Broad Street Apartments
- New Orleans African American Museum Renovations and New Construction
RECENTLY COMPLETED PROJECTS
- Mercedes Benz Louisiana Superdome Renovationas 3-way Joint Venture
- New Orleans African American Museum Renovation of Administrative Building
- Artspace Artist Lofts Housing (Bell School Renovation)
- Audubon Nature Center in Joe Brown Park (East New Orleans)
- Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church
- Make-It-Right House Designs (Lower Ninth Ward New Orleans)
PREVIOUS PROJECT EXPERIENCE
- Joe Brown Park Design (Shelters, Ball Fields, walks, parking, signage)
- William Frantz Elementary School Renovation and Addition
- New Orleans African American Museum Master Plan
- Tax Credit Preparation for the NOAAM Make It Right Project
- Lambert Advisory Plan –Planning District 3
- Hattiesburg Master Plan –Phase 2, Ward 2 (Twin Forks Rising)
- Hilton Riverside Rebuild and Master Plan (after the Brightfield Ship incident)
- New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA)
- Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Expansions, Phases 2 and 3
- Riverfront Streetcar Planning and Station Stops
- Aquarium of the Americas, Phases 1 and 2
- Regional Transit Authority (Rebuilding multiple facilities after Hurricane Katrina)
- Louis Armstrong International Airport, Concourse C Design, Concourse C Artwork integration and installations
One client described the selection of our firm for their project with the following statement:
“Billes Architects was chosen because the firm is creative, budget conscious, and client specific.”
These qualities can be seen in our firm philosophy and in our work.
Visioning + Pre-Design
Innovative ideas inspire us – especially ideas that relate to innovative architectural projects and those that positively affect communities, places we live, and places we work. Turning an idea into reality starts with the expression of the idea and sharing it with others who can support it.
When such an idea relates to an architectural project, Billes Architects, LLC can help by taking an idea, developing it and presenting it in a Visioning Package that can be used to garner support from potential funders, partners and authorities.
The Visioning Package also serves as the foundation for the design of the project moving forward. It will establish specific goals for the facility – goals for its functions, users, economics, safety, sustainability, and visual quality. It will also set the scope and scale of the project aligned with a project budget. Once the scope is fully defined, the project team can move forward into design and construction.
SCOPE OF SERVICES
The components of the Visioning Package can be tailored to a specific project. On occasion, a client may want to use an existing site for its highest and best use. That same client may need assistance in developing a mix of uses acceptable for a specific site based on the existing zoning and other location parameters. If necessary, we may suggest variances or other regulatory changes to achieve the owner’s goals and vision. In this case, a conceptual or massing model, feasibility report and discussions with various governmental officials may be appropriate to get a sense of the likelihood of success if pursued in a manner that requires such changes or variances. We are very familiar with the processes and will be able to assist an owner in their mission. Typically, the following services may be provided either together or separately whichever the client may need and could include the following:
- Architectural Program – We will facilitate a programming working meeting(s) with you to ascertain the spaces required in the facility, the size requirements for each space, which spaces must be adjacent or near each other, equipment to be located in each space, security, technology, parking and other specific requirements for the facility.From there, we will develop a written space program that will document the space requirements including overall building size and particular requirements for each space, key issues the design must resolve, and anticipated costs. These anticipated costs may set the initial construction budget for the project. Additionally, we will provide a project overview schedule identifying steps and phases needed to complete the project.
- Site Assessment – We will work with you to determine the feasibility of the selected potential site for the project. This task may include review of site data and regulatory requirements (set-backs, zoning restrictions, code requirements, etc.), providing a massing diagram of the building(s) on the site, and recommendations for the feasibility of the site. If the site originally chosen does not support the project, we can make recommendations of site requirements for the site selection by the owner which would meet the needed land configuration of a potential new site.
- Conceptual Design – Once you have agreed to a space program for the facility and a site, we will prepare conceptual design options that that will indicate how the new facilities will fit on the site in relation to existing site features and the context of the site. The conceptual design will include a site plan, indicating parking, traffic flow and exterior activities, and conceptual floor plans indicating the space size requirements outlined in the space program.
Rendering – Inclusion of an exterior rendering of the conceptual design may be used for presentation and fundraising purposes.This is a useful visual tool that, while not yet the actual design of the facility, clearly expresses the possibilities available. We find that in seeking support of any kind, most people respond more easily to this visual representation than to numbers or other more data-driven information.
Other services that may be useful during this phase, depending on the project and site, include measured drawings of existing buildings, precedent analysis of similar facilities, review of other code and funding regulations, community engagement plan, site survey and market analysis.
Once the above services are completed, we will compile them into a Visioning Document, including a narrative clarifying the project vision. The Visioning Document will aid in sharing your vision with potential partners and in fundraising.
Once you decide to move forward with your project, we would move into the architectural design phases. The following general timeline indicates the normal phases of the architectural work. The Visioning Package is included in the Pre-design Phase.
Billes Architects is dedicated to determining the best path forward from idea, to design, to funding and construction. We bring the experience, innovation and creativity needed for challenging opportunities. We look forward to working with you to realize your project idea.