Dean's Blog: 2014 AIA New Orleans Design Awards

At the Tulane School of Architecture we are often reminded of our role in the larger architecture community in New Orleans and beyond. The New Orleans Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently honored three projects associated with the school at the 2014 AIA New Orleans Design Awards on March 27. A Seattle-based jury of architects selected the projects from more than 60 submissions. The three award-winning projects were the Tulane City Center’s LOOP Pavilion, the Magellan Community Garden, and URBANbuild’s LaSalle Street Market. In addition, Tulane faculty member and Favrot Professor of Architecture Ammar Eloueini was honored in two separate awards. I would like to take a moment to highlight each of these excellent projects and congratulate the winners on their accomplishments.

The Tulane City Center’s LOOP Pavilion was designed and built by students in the fall 2013 TCC design/build studio. The pavilion was built for the Louisiana Outdoor Outreach Program (LOOP), which brings local students to City Park to participate in adventure-based outdoor education and leadership programs. Conceived as a shade structure to support LOOP’s events, the pavilion includes storage and seating under a large, flexible canopy made of blank aluminum yield signs. This project was led by Adjunct Assistant Professor Emilie Taylor (TSA ’06) with support from Adjunct Lecturer Sam Richards. The students who designed, fabricated, and then constructed this project did an amazing job in the short timeframe of a single semester.

Having visited the site several times during the construction and after its completion, I am impressed with the way the structure appears simultaneously large and surprisingly light – almost ethereal. The jurors applauded the “ingenious use of...common material[s]” and “the collaborative design and construction process.”

The second Tulane City Center project to win an award was the Magellan Community Garden, designed and built by students in the spring 2013 TCC design/build studio. Located in Algiers on the Westbank, the project provides a place for youth, veterans, and other community members to gather and learn about food and food production. This project was led by Adjunct Associate Professor Doug Harmon, also with support from Sam Richards.  There has been a good deal of media coverage of this inspiring project. The story of Mr. and Mrs. Lee is quite moving.

The Design Awards jurors praised the Magellan Garden for its clear focus: “Water is the theme that links all parts of the project -- from architecture, to ecology to agriculture and community.” A large, butterfly-roofed shade structure was prefabricated and transported to the site, where it collects rainwater that then flows into a constructed wetland filled with fish and indigenous plants. The design also provides raised garden beds, tool storage, teaching space, and other amenities to support the community’s needs.

The Tulane School of Architecture URBANbuild program was recognized for its LaSalle Community Market project, built in the spring of 2013. The first non-residential project completed by the URBANbuild program, the LaSalle Market includes six movable pods that provide small-scale retail spaces for local vendors. As with all URBANbuild work over the past nine years, Professor of Practice Byron Mouton provided excellent leadership while another faculty member, Adjunct Assistant Professor Tom Holloman, joined him and the hard working students on this unique project.

The jurors commended the project for its success on many levels, from the community down to the materials and detailing of each pod. “This project brings much needed new activity and vibrancy to abandoned sites, helping to re-build community. The deployment plan throughout the neighborhood is well thought out and the booths themselves are functional and attractive.” This highly active market is a great asset for the neighborhood that will also host the latest URBANbuild house (

I would also like to recognize TSA faculty member and Favrot Professor Ammar Eloueni, who received two separate awards. The first was for Pleats Please, a store design for Issey Miyake in London, England. A remarkable architectural design for an equally remarkable fashion designer, this project was praised for its ability to “beautifully reflect the sensibility of the showcased designer, while accommodating a variety of needs.” Professor Eloueini’s second award recognized his design for the Platy School, an un-built competition entry for a primary school in Switzerland, which the jurors commended for its organization, quality of light, tectonics, and the overall quality of both the design and renderings.

Other recognized projects with Tulane connections include:

LA State Museum / Trahan Architects – David Merlin (TSA ’08) was involved with this project.

NOAA Southwest Fisheries / Gould Evans and Delawie – Robert Riccardi (TSA ’91) is a principal at this Kansas City firm, which has opened a New Orleans office.

Charles J. Colton School / Waggonner & Ball Architects – Mac Ball, FAIA serves on the School’s Board of Advisors

The AIA New Orleans Design Awards ceremony also afforded our architecture community another opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of the late Allan Eskew, FAIA, who passed away in December 2013. Allen was a long-time friend of the School and member of our Board of Advisors ( At the ceremony this March, the AIA honored Allen with a “Legend of Architecture" Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the built environment through practice, support, or advocacy.



Our friend, Board member and long-time support of the Tulane School of Architecture H. Mortimer “Tim” Favrot, FAIA (TSA ’53) was honored at the same time as Allen Eskew, FAIA. In different ways, both of these gentlemen are and have been pillars in our school and larger New Orleans community, and I am thrilled that they received this important recognition from the AIA.

Tim Favrot


Thus, this year’s AIA awards gave us an opportunity to see our school both in the context of past achievements and of the ongoing excellent work that is coming out of the School. As we reach the end of another academic year, I can say that there are equally exciting projects in the works and we will continue to see great things out of the Tulane community in coming years.

As we approach the close of this academic year, I want to thank my Graduate Research Assistant for this semester, Vincent Baudoin (TSA ’15).  He has done a superb job in researching and assisting with the production of these periodic blogs.

Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA
Favrot Professor and Dean

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