In Barry Fox’s hands, a client’s residence blends the gracious charms and classical proportions of older eras into new forms, some of them larger than their antecedents by an order of magnitude, perhaps to reflect today’s heartier appetites for life and the resources that sustain them. Neither shy nor modest, this architecture proudly resonates aspects of a remembered or imagined Old Deep South as it celebrates the highly energized Grand New South through a new synthesis in the dialectic of design. This architecture may itself be read as an expression of its place and time.
Further, Barry Fox’s contributions to this originally reminiscent style, and to modern residential building, represent an acme of that new synthesis, an apotheosis within the contemporary genre. As he borrows visual elements from the region’s manifold past and combines them to augment each other, he melds them into near-orders of new building styles that all share a program (in the architectural sense of the term). A residence designed by Barry Fox’s firm appears to have three principal traits: rarely understated, in overall appearance, it evokes a traditional or period style; in both exterior form and countless interior vignettes, it displays an extraordinary attention to historically inspired detail; and in each building’s program it comfortably provides all manner of modern amenities like a home movie theater, exercise suite, and state-of-the-art appliances to accommodate a range of activities that suits the particular client family’s manner of living.
Suffice it to say that in our time there is quite enough new among the inventions that continually advance our lives (and often assail our senses), enough of such stuff that a return to traditional forms can be exceedingly comforting, even stimulating to those who inhabit them. Further, more richly than the merchant prince in Hanoverian London and morerationally than the penseurin Enlightenment Paris, we moderns can borrow esthetic elements moreintentionally from a wider, longer range of traditions. We can pick and choose as we see fit, and as our architects enable us to do. Thus one might find that Barry Fox, in his own collection of design idioms, conventions, and details, shares the essence of the conviction that Ayn Rand espoused for Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. In practicing his personal form of southern classicism, Barry Fox of New Orleans sets out to prove that “Architecture [is] . . . a consecration to a joy that justifies the existence of the earth.”
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