This month's opening of the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge is thrusting the Southern city into the architectural spotlight. Designed by Schwartz/Silver Architects of Boston, the $55 million, six-story complex on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River houses the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, a 300-seat, multipurpose theater, and a rooftop restaurant. Fourteen galleries, which occupy the entire fifth floor, are filled with the museum's vast holdings of British and American paintings and sculpture and one of the largest collections of Newcomb pottery and pre-Civil War New Orleans silver. The aluminum-and-glass building contrasts with the city's historic streetscape, but incorporates the original brick façade of a 1930's Art Deco parking garage, over which the center is cantilevered.
—Clara Ogden