A couple of years ago on a bright fall day, I walked down the section of Woodrow Wilson Avenue in Jackson between N. State and N. West Streets taking pictures of all the buildings on the north side, which date to the 1950s and 1960s mostly and represent the professionalization and growth of the healthcare industry during that period, after the University Medical Center opened in the mid-1950s. I came upon this building with an interesting textured brick facade and didn’t think much more about it until I read the article in the October 1963 issue of Mississippi Architect reproduced below.
What I found most fascinating in the brief description of the building’s plan was that it was built for an oil and gas company. As you might recall, one of MissPres’s popular posts a while back was a game to identify the old Petroleum Building in downtown Jackson, built in the late 1950s. You can see the oil and gas boom in Mississippi in these two buildings.
Note also the emphasis on secrecy–very Cold War-ish. Maybe they should have installed a cone of silence for good measure!
Designed originally as a headquarters office building for occupancy by a firm of independent oil operators and producers, the listing of rooms on the accompanying floor plan indicates the general program of requirements. After a few years occupancy, the building was acquired by Mississippi Industries, Inc., and is now called the Warren A. Hood building.
When the site was acquired, it had already been partially graded to several feet lower than its original natural grade elevation. In the final design is was necessary to cut still further, and some portions of the site ended up as much as twelve feet below original grade. This, coupled with the generally bad soil conditions of the area, dictated concrete pile foundations and a “structural” floor slab raised above the ground and not depending upon it for support.
Sun control was an important factor in the design concept. The shape of the lot dictated arrangement of most office windows facing due east and west; the plan development around a central landscaped court, with the conference room facing south, emphasized further the necessity for careful attention. Tables giving the sun’s elevation and azimuth at critical days were studied, and shadow shapes and areas laid out correspondingly on the floor plan for the equinox and solstice dates. The size of the sunshades was thus determined, and they became an outstanding feature of the design. East and west of the court, walls of the interior passage ways are without door openings, serving both to shield the office from glare, and to provide a surface for hanging of pictures.
The conference room is both accoustically treated and sound isolated, for utmost privacy.
The planning of the receptionist and waiting area at the public entrance was likewise influenced by the need for secrecy in certain situations. The receptionist also operated the telephone switchboard, and the latter is placed in an accoustically-treated recess, partially screened by a wall; the building has a piped-music system, and its volume is turned up a bit higher in the waiting area.
Lyle Cashion Company
Jones & Haas, A.I.A.
Briggs & Lambeth
Mechanical and Electrical Engineers
Jordan Construction Company
Hegwood Electric Company
Prather & Seal Plumbing Company
Dent Air Conditioning Company
Construction cost $127,000.00
Area, including carport (@ 1/2) 7,350 sq. ft.
Photos by Joseph W. Moliter
This article is reprinted from the October 1963 issue of the Mississippi Architect, with permission from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. View the full October 1963 issue of Mississippi Architect in a digitized format, or for other articles in this ongoing series, including the pdf version of each full issue, click on theMSArcht tab at the top of this page.