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Sunkel House (Ashtray House)

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1961–1962, Albert C. Ledner. 28 Park Island Dr.
  • (Photograph by Lake Douglas)

Nestled in the center of Park Island, a small and verdant enclave surrounded by Bayou St. John and developed in the 1950s, is this unusual house. From the porte-cochere at one end, the one-story building stretches along its lot to a glass-walled two-story unit at the other. The flat-roofed, one-story portion is composed of three layers: a painted brick wall, a band of windows, and a tall white-painted cornice. A surprising row of closely spaced amber-colored glass ashtrays decorate the cornice. The house’s idiosyncrasies of plan, form, and ornamentation characterize both Ledner’s interpretation of the International Style and attention to his clients’ personalities. Adrian and Patricia Sunkel wanted something decorative on the exterior of their house and, because they both were both smokers, Ledner proposed the ashtrays, a suggestion the clients loved. Albert Ledner studied briefly under Frank Lloyd Wright, and Wright’s influence is apparent in the horizontality of the one-story unit. The house, which was flooded by Hurricane Katrina, has been restored for its current owners.

Ledner also designed the two-story house (1962) at 11 Park Island for Leonie Galatoire, using materials (inside and out) salvaged from demolished local structures. A later addition now installed on a waterfront deck is the aluminum Tree Domes by sculptor Kent Bloomer that was part of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition.

Writing Credits

Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas


What's Nearby


Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas, "Sunkel House (Ashtray House)", [New Orleans, Louisiana], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

buildings of new orleans book

Buildings of New Orleans, Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 244-245.

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