Lake Charles businessman Oliver “Rick” Richard has received the Patron of Architecture Award from the Louisiana Architectural Foundation. The award was given at the American Institute of Architects – Louisiana affiliate annual Design Awards Luncheon on September 11 in Baton Rouge.
Richard was instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Lake Charles through rehabilitation of several downtown buildings, along with his leadership as chairman of the Lake Charles Downtown/Lakefront Development Board, and as president of the Downtown Development Authority.
Under his direction, the Downtown Development Authority adopted a smart code for downtown, which provided development regulations to improve downtown construction and encourage rehabilitation of historic buildings. The downtown streetscape and lakefront beautification and development was also approved during his tenure.
Besides working through these organizations, Richard also has been a leading developer of the area by purchasing and restoring downtown buildings, including the Calcasieu Marine Bank and Warehouse, home to an event center; Botsky’s Gourmet Hotdogs, Noble Building, and the Phoenix Building, which is home to multiple tenants. His restoration of the Cash & Carry building received an award from the La. Trust for Historic Preservation. In addition, he restored the old Calcasieu Marine National Bank building.
Adley Cormier of the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society noted that Richard is a “strong and active supporter of excellence in both the architecture of preservation projects and new infill construction.” In addition, Cormier said Richard steered recovery and new construction downtown, which have provided “significant regional impact for economic development and improved quality of life.”
George Swift, president of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, said Richard’s “vision for the revitalization of downtown Lake Charles is infectious and the groundswell of support and followers is a true credit to his leadership.”
Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach noted that Richard “knows that architecture without activation is just a shell. He has strongly committed to hosting community activities at these buildings, and shares multiple ways that spaces can be activated and used for public enjoyment.”