You are on page 1of 8

LARRY ALBERT

A R C H I T E C T, E N T R E P R E N E U R , H U M A N I TA R I A N

R ESPECTS THE P AST ,
BUILDS FOR THE
FUTURE STORY BY ROBYN JACKSON
PHOTOS COURTESY ALBERT & ASSOCIATES

30 • south mississippi scene

” new projects. You look out the back of it and you just feel the history of the state. Convention Center and the probably don’t know how which sits next to the Natchez Trent Lott Center.” said Ken P’Pool.”It’s a modern build. ings.” Brookhaven. ber of high-profile. but I don’t know if I’ve She points to the contem. such as the deputy state historic preserva. as an under construction at the these projects.” example. Rowell. executive director of Hattiesburg-based Albert “Larry is very important. Petal and Forrest ever met a finer individual porary. award-win- work. Mississippi School of the Arts Archives and History. the Library of tects. including the Mississippi Department of Rowell said. It becomes part of the Natchez Trace. “He’s able to cap. Hattiesburg. University of Southern south mississippi scene • 31 . “We ture something with his build. whether he’s restoring an old building or designing something new and modern. the Historic Hattiesburg & Associates has done a num- he’s done a lot of outstanding Downtown Association. icon- ic design with modern aesthet- Albert brings a sense of place to his designs. and tion officer with the be proud of for generations. thanks to his deft touch at combining traditional. are people places.” ics. “He builds buildings that ning restorations. the Lake Terrace than Larry. L Larry Albert has emerged as one of Mississippi’s top archi- tects. HATTIESBURG CONVENTION CENTER Architecture became Albert’s passion when he was a student at Hattiesburg High School in 1970 and took a drafting class that would change his life. Student Life Center in work with a lot of fine archi. which is much free work he does for Trace in Ridgeland. said Betsy ing. cutting edge design of County. A lot of people the Mississippi Crafts Center. but it becomes part of the land. that we can Perry County Courthouse.

TRENT LOTT CENTER .

was almost washed ber telling my wife if there was and got to work rebuilding the away by Hurricane Katrina on anything left.” the wrap-around porches and my lifetime. including some of Davis’ manu. “It’s going to be nicer and we knew it would be a massive The main house remained. 1852 and purchased by Davis 14 office faxed us a pass. south mississippi scene • 33 . LAMAR COUNTY COURTHOUSE PERRY COUNTY COURTHOUSE Mississippi. which was built in got power back. buildings on the 52-acre prop. I remem. The Biloxi was the first day my company was. million project.” antebellum structure and Aug. and rods to make the structure vive the storm. installed stainless steel braces Mississippi Gulf Coast to sur. Eight inches of water Jefferson Davis lived in it. doing the gone.” P’Pool built for Confederate veterans should be completed by the end said. “We Albert had started restoring graceful front staircase were made it back like when Beauvoir in 1990. recalls. “I literally was crying to Jefferson Davis. ing class that would change his He was one of the first non. But it’s his restora. emergency workers allowed the sound by the storm surge.” work bit by bit as money inside the main house had left Architecture became became available. and is one of the Albert was shocked by the repainting the murals. tion of Beauvoir.” Albert said. erty. but more authentic than it’s been in project. including the cottages that even stronger. Irreplaceable artifacts. the last home down to the beachfront in the “I was devastated. School in 1970 and took a draft- said. were washed away. but Larry and his staff have and the old hospital that had ten national news coverage. 2005. The governor’s But instead of giving up. Five of the seven out. The 8th see how much devastation there his crowning glory. “It was obvious. museum. done an excellent job. which has got- ect. were swept back into life. Workers few historical structures on the damage. when we and was later turned into a of the year. 9.” Albert of Confederate President days after Katrina. 29. Albert said he got his steam up years later. it will be saved. “We had just mold and stripped away paint Albert’s passion when he was a a little more painting and it from the handpainted wall student at Hattiesburg High would have been finished. scripts. saw there was extreme damage. He said the $4 “That’s a very difficult proj.” he murals.” landmark. that could be “I went on Sept. flanked the raised main house.

” an architecture degree from In Houston. new structures that reflected a student there himself.” said Albert. Eventually. and opened Albert & Surprisingly. construction admin- improbability of such a thing before opening his own firm. his classmates architectural firms in Associates in 1995. Texas. when his drafting teacher told make a living. which was one of the largest the past. project archi- Albert studied art at the to return to his hometown of tect Sarah Newton.” “It was a God-given gift. istrators Jimmy Stewart and happening today. he began to envision a Architecture.” Albert said.” but he wanted to restore juniors and seniors at the high from 1978-81 with Jackson. a doctor. and then moved to 13 full-time employees. who was Mississippi for a year but his Gail. though. historic buildings and design school even though he was still based Barlow and Plunkett. one catch on as fast as Albert opened its School of “They loved Houston. But become an architect so he could city and all its attractions. Mississippi State University children back. in 1978.personalities: larry albertcontributors “My mom wanted me to be University of Southern Hattiesburg. includ- all seemed very natural. it Mississippi. About that time “I dragged my wife and him that he’d never seen any. “At the time. he decided Randy McCaffery. landscape WOODLAND HILLS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH HATTIESBURG. They had. adding that he was MSU. working on “glitzy glass tow- allowed to teach art classes to Albert served an internship ers.” he Houston. chuckling about the another firm for four years Robinson. MS MS CRAFT CENTER PHOTO BY ALAN KARCHMER HATTIESBURG PUBLIC LIBRARY . and Albert thought we had moved to the career as an architect. and children were not so even president of the Pre-Med mother encouraged him to happy about leaving the big Club at Hattiesburg High. It now has respected him. became the first student to earn podunkest town. Albert was Albert said. to work for ing senior architect Chris said. although his wife.

” Hattiesburg Downtown examples of his design philoso. which houses his is a replica of the stairs on the rendering of the dome of the firm. which example of this. The iconic design had a big ment. in new design.” he said. “and I certain continuity of design. BILOXI MS .” Rowell said. Hattiesburg’s Lake Terrace Association. He really cap. When he’s commit- right corner pays homage to the ovation of the Aubrey Lucas ted to something. which is now which was designed by Coast A Gallery is now located. so there’s a “modernizing the heck out of the state. over Hattiesburg. work with. Albert. where wife Gail’s on Main Street. was named Best phy is the new Hattiesburg Convention Center is another Design Professional in 2007 by library on Hardy Street.” ate about it. near the “He has been a huge sup- Center. The massive red tile entrance to the convention cen. “He really recall the old library.” think our track record speaks These are projects that are total.” Presbyterian Church. up on icons in the community design. design “He’s an excellent architect The Trent Lott Center at visualization artist Bo Howard. but Albert said he is “We have the best talent in that have meaning. “If the Mississippi Main Street won the Governor’s Award for you look at that building. Albert said. you Association because of his work Excellence in the Arts for its see elements of buildings all restoring several buildings in design in 1997. Piano House. porter of downtown develop- roof and huge. The curving. He’s terrific to Mississippi Tower on the front “I had just finished the ren.” ly new design. and the influence on him. I have respect chapel in Hattiesburg.” Albert said. but that fit their terms as president of the One of the most obvious need in the community. he’s passion- bell tower at Bay Street Administration Building. “He’s very sensitive in picking ments and classic architectural and office manager Janet Wade. who has served two for itself.” also proud of the atrium of the SAENGER THEATRE HATTIEBURG. MS BEAUVOIR. arched windows ter.” ing the 1905 Bufkin-Cadenhead the main room of that building Albert said you can see a Building.designer Sally Hughes. includ- double staircase at the back of tures the community. downtown Hattiesburg. “The profile of the Albert said his favorite proj- “I spent a lot of time in the dome is on the front of the con. but he is it. ect is the Salvation Army old building and had a love for vention center. USM also includes iconic ele- intern architect Sean Bensley. Rowell said.” P’Pool said. and the former Roseberry outside of the original library USM Administration Building. the Hattiesburg Cultural architect Vinson Smith. it. for those old heritage icons. is committed.

” shell of the building. old Hattiesburg High “He doesn’t build a School on Main Street. building will inspire pride ects is the renovation of the in Hattiesburg residents. It years.” but adds that only seen it come together it can be done. “It’s like seeing each kind of person. he which was gutted by an builds it for a hundred arsonist’s fire in 2007. With the building still P’Pool calls that project under construction. he’s “Herculean. Larry’s that tinues. it’s not a covered by plywood to pro. OFFICE OF ALBERT & ASSOCIATES HATTIEBURG. “Those who in bits and pieces.” he said. and that the Associates’ next big proj.” Rowell said. really understand historic razzo tile floor has been buildings and how they’re laid. All that circular. doubt Albert will get the One of Albert & job done.” little piece of it come Rowell said she has no alive. remains now is the brick pended glass staircase. MS Trent Lott Center. he said. The ter. from at all. but it’s now put together. THAD COCHRAN CENTER UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MS SALVATION ARMY CHAPEL PHOTO BY HUBERT WORLEY HATTIESBURG. process that we back up tect it as construction con. building for a few years. was slated to become the “It’s one of those spaces home of the Southern Miss that’s real simple in that it’s art department. but it’s got a sus. MS .

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI ADMINISTRATION BUILDING .