Iñaki Alday promotes a new attitude toward the transformation of our environment.
It is common to measure our careers by asking: How much have we contributed to our communities, to our societies, and ultimately to our planet? As architects and professionals of the built environment, we are called to design and provide shelter, to make inhabitable spaces, public areas and cities; to preserve heritage; and to steward landscapes. But our call is deeper and layered: to do such work while caring for people, especially the most vulnerable and historically underserved, understanding the preciousness of natural resources, and transforming the way we inhabit the planet. The fields of the built environment – architecture, design, preservation, real estate, landscape architecture and engineering - yield enormous power in improving or destroying our ecosystems and our social fabrics.
In New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi delta and center of the third coast of the United States, we are at the forefront of the consequences of climate change. At Tulane, we have no option but to find new solutions for us to keep living in our extraordinary city and for millions of people in other vulnerable areas of the world. New Orleans is not a laboratory. New Orleans is real and every challenge affects us. We are the school of architecture committed to address climate change in the built environment, the existential challenge of our times.
In New Orleans and at Tulane, we pride ourselves on being independent, welcoming and different; New Orleans is one of the most diverse cities in the country and in the world, built and shaped by multiple races, cultures, and genders. As a melting pot of people and cultures, joy and respect, nobody is strange in this city and in this school. We also take action: design, build, collaborate with communities, work across schools and departments at Tulane, dive deep in both speculation and technical expertise, all to address real and urgent problems. Only through this commitment to provide new, imaginative and deeply real solutions, can architecture and the fields of the built environment demonstrate our relevance and leadership.
As a practicing architect, urbanist and landscape architect, there is almost nothing more compelling for me than designing spaces and seeing them built for others to enjoy. The one thing that is even more compelling is to participate in the education of new generations who will come with new perspectives and will be much better professionals than I, with more clarity of mind about what is important to address and how. During my first five years at Tulane, I have seen the sensational work of our students, faculty and alumni in addressing critical issues – combining solutions and beauty, innovation and deep respect for existing, benefitting from dialogue and learning from the places and their people.
And I cannot wait to see much more in the next five years.
"We are the school of architecture committed to address climate change in the built environment, the existential challenge of our times."
Interviews and Writings
The Times-Picayune / The Advocate. "Flooding expert: We need a better way of dealing with water and its powers"
Preservation in Print. "I'm a Preservationist: Iñaki Alday"
Tulanian Magazine. "New deans, new directions"