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Continue to check the TuSA COVID-19 FAQ page, and the Tulane Return to Campus website for updates.

Sukkah in the age of coronavirus

Every year, for the past 11 years, students in the Tulane School of Architecture have built a sukkah, an open-air hut-like structure under which Jews celebrate Sukkot, a week-long fall harvest festival.

In partnership with Tulane Hillel, students typically build the sukkah in Pocket Park, making it a convenient dining venue for those grabbing lunch from the LBC, the Commons or a nearby food truck.

This year, however, the Sukkah Build Project, dubbed Sukkah 12, presented new challenges, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our goals were very specific this year,” said Lizzie Bateman, a fifth-year architecture student. “We aimed to create a Sukkah which is COVID-19-conscious and allows for social distancing. This has called for a reimagining of the typical Sukkah typology. Because this was also a design build during COVID-19, our design had to go up quickly, and the students constructing it couldn’t be exposed to one another.”

The team of seven achieved its goal on Oct. 1. They did it quickly and masterfully, in part, because they did much of the work ahead of time, including designing and building pre-fabricated walls in the School of Architecture’s Millhaus, one of the school's Fabrication Labs. The finished product is made of pine and measures 10.5 feet by 12 feet. It has built-in seats that allow four people to sit socially distanced, and it has two walls instead of the traditional three to facilitate safe passage.

Seth Laskin, a junior who has been participating in the project since he was a freshman and served as its leader this year, said the design build was especially gratifying, given the added the challenges surrounding it.

“So much goes into planning beyond what is seen in the final product, from design meetings, to material collection, budget planning, and coordination with the TU Hillel,” Laskin said.  

The team’s goal, he said, was to produce something that reflects the brilliance of Tulane’s architecture students. “The team as a whole is truly so talented, and this project was an amazing opportunity for our collective opinions and skills to be demonstrated.”

Bateman agreed. "Our hope was for people to enjoy the space and feel safe while doing so," she said. "We think it works really well in capturing people's attention and making the interior space exciting and inviting."

View the Sukkah 12 photo gallery here.

Story by Barri Bronston / Tulane University

Tulane becomes first U.S. institution to sign pledge for climate action

In September 2020, Tulane School of Architecture became the first U.S. institution to sign on to an international pledge for climate action, followed by two other institutions shortly thereafter.

In the summer of 2020, U.S.-based practices took action and signed on to join the international pledge. With the U.S. Architects Declare movement growing since May and over 284 signatures added to the list, three architecture institutions have signed on to the movement so far, according to an Oct. 7 story in Archinect.

Tulane School of Architecture, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, and Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture are the first architecture programs to sign on. A movement initially starting in May 2019 in the U.K., firms and studios worldwide have pledged their efforts to fight climate change and biodiversity issues. 

U.S. Architects Declare is led by a group of volunteer architects and designers throughout the country. Their site states, "All built-environment/construction-industry professionals are welcome to join us whether you've signed the declaration or not (including grads, interior designers, students, engineers, building-designers, builders, engineers, etc.)"

Despite 2020 being an extremely challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the social and political unrest happening across the country, architecture institutions have branched out to propel their efforts towards fighting climate change.

Learn more at us.architectsdeclare.com.

Faculty, alumni win several AIA Louisiana Honor Awards

Several faculty, alumni and friends of Tulane School of Architecture are among the recipients for the newly announced AIA Louisiana Honor Awards 2020. Of the 10 awarded projects, 7 projects name individuals with ties to Tulane School of Architecture, including 2 awards for Emilie Taylor Welty, Favrot II Professor of Practice and Design/Build Manager at the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design. 

The Architecture Honor Awards program recognizes achievements for a broad range of architectural activity in order to elevate the general quality of architectural practice, to establish a standard of excellence against which all architects can measure performance, and to inform the public expectations for architectural practice, its breadth, and its value.

Below are the Tulane-affiliated projects, according to the AIA Louisiana Honor Awards list and Tulane alumni relations office records.

Sculpture Garden Pavilion        
Sara Harper, A *17    
        
Royal Street Residence        
Alexander Adamick, TC '05    
Alex Barthel, A *17    
        
Arthur Ashe Oak Park Edible Schoolyard        
Seth Welty, A '08    
Emilie Taylor Welty, A *06, Favrot II Professor of Practice    
Sarah Satterlee, A *14    
        
Dorgenois Residence        
Seth Welty, A '08    
Emilie Taylor Welty, A *06, Favrot II Professor of Practice
Andy O'Brien, A '21  
        
Thaden School Master Plan        
Christian Rodriguez, AIA, A '10    
        
The Historic New Orleans Collection Seignouret-Brulatour House and Tricentennial Wing
F. Macnaughton Ball, Jr., Former Advisory Board Member    
Dennis Horchoff, E '75    
Brian Swanner, A '92    
Charles Sterkx, A '88    
Steve Scollo, A '97    
Emily Hayden Palumbo, A '05    
Kate Peaden, A '11    
Jerry Blanchard, A *06    
        
The Garage (pictured above)        
Marcel Wisznia, AIA, A '73, Advisory Board Member
Daniel Weiner, AIA, A '90    
Michael Whitehead, TC '06, A *09    
Ralph Bradshaw, AIA, A '67    
Simcha Ward, AIA, A '11, Alumni Council Member/Chair, Advisory Board Member
M. Haynes Johnston, A *19    
Randy Hutchison, A '97    
Cameron Richard, AIA, A *03, Former Advisory Board Member
William Tyler Sandlass, AIA, A *09    
Sam Levin, A '12    
Chris Daemmrich, A '17, Alumni Council Member
Keely Williams, A '08, A *09    
Kelly Calhoun, A *17, Alumni Council Member
Bonnie Mitchell, A '99    
Staci Rosenberg, NC '80, L *83, B *84    
Allison Schiller, A *12    

For the full awards program, click here.

Blokker and Liles receive grant for transformative preservation of historic African American schools

Helping to reclaim the African American spaces left behind by school desegregation is the focus of new work by Tulane School of Architecture faculty Laura Blokker, Interim Director and Lecturer of Preservation Studies, and Andrew Liles, AIA, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Architecture, at the Tulane School of Architecture. 

 

Blokker and Liles recently received a national grant for $15,000 to support work already underway by alumni of under-documented mid-century African American schools in Louisiana. The biennial Richard L. Blinder Award is given through the Trustees of the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation. The award will be used to help the alumni pursue adaptive reuse strategies for the schools.

 

“This work all really stems from alumni of these schools who are trying to reclaim them for the future of their communities,” Blokker said. “By getting this award, Liles and I will be able to put our professional services to work for them.  The project will entail a stakeholder meeting to gather input in addition to the work throughout with individuals and groups affiliated with the various buildings.” 

 

Much is already known of Rosenwald Schools, the buildings constructed with support of the Julius Rosenwald Fund between 1917 and 1932 for educating African American youth in the South. Far less is known of their successors, the large-scale mid-twentieth-century schools constructed in states such as South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana as last-ditch efforts to protect segregation by providing “separate but equal” facilities for Black students. More than schools, these structures, with their large gymnasiums, auditoriums and fields, hosted parades and dances, sports games and community gatherings. Following school integration in 1970, many of these facilities in Louisiana were closed.

 

Now, building on the advocacy and preservation efforts already begun by alumni and community groups throughout the state – individuals long striving to save their historic schools and preserve their heritage – Blokker and Liles, are studying potential for adaptive reuse. Blokker and Liles will confront realities of cultural memory, interpretation and reuse of historic properties.

 

“For many years, these mid-century African American school buildings have sat vacant, many preferring they be forgotten and their history silenced,” Blokker said. “We must not ignore America’s past. These schools were created in the era of segregation and that story must be told – not to commemorate oppression, but to celebrate the legacy of generations of African American educators, leaders, and communities who nurtured these learning environments and sprung from them.” 

 

The project will begin with identifying as many as possible of the surviving mid-century African American school buildings in Louisiana. This work will build off of an existing online map of historic schools to locate extant mid-century buildings and document them. 

 

Once this survey is complete, the overall design, plans, and materials of the school plants will be assessed and categorized. This will serve as the basis for the next steps of identifying potential reuse schemes and outlining specific preservation recommendations and ideas for new design interventions. A meeting of stakeholders from across the state will be convened to brainstorm about potential uses of schools in different communities. 

 

Based on the survey of existing buildings and concepts for reuse, recommendations for material and future preservation and design interventions will be created for the different categories of design, plans, and materials. Two schools will be selected to create example visioning plans of the potential of preservation and new design interventions to bring these campuses back to life. The final product will be a graphic and textual handbook of materials and plans with correlating recommendation for preservation and new design, featuring the example vision renderings along with other photographs and illustrations. This will be distributed to all known stakeholders.

 

The Charrette student publication receives Haskell Award

Tulane School of Architecture's student-run publication The Charrette recently won the prestigious 2020 Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals, given by the Center for Architecture in New York City. Only four student publications from across the country were awarded the honor.

The 2020 Charrette publication - which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year - used the theme "In Flux" to capture explorations into that which is changing, impermanent, and up-in-the-air, said Caroline Garfield (M.Arch '20), who is co-editor with third year M.Arch student Seth Laskin. The publication's faculty advisor is Associate Professor of Architecture Wendy Redfield

“For me, the title ‘In Flux’ is a reminder of the ever-changing state of life that we live in," Laskin said. "Especially in such an unpredictable period of time, working on the ‘In Flux’ issue with The Charrette through quarantine was both ironic and symbolic of how relevant our topic was.”  

Every year The Charrette seeks to explore representation, interactive installations, film, and other aspects of design through architecture, art, and writing. The editorial staff is comprised of students from all years who foster a collaborative studio culture and a supportive artistic environment. The Charrette encourages students to step back from their desks and consider the ways in which an architectural education influences their perception of the world beyond architecture school. Work featured in The Charrette is by undergraduate and graduate students, along with some faculty, highlighting a variety of skills and interests. 

The annual Haskell Award was founded to encourage student journalism on architecture, planning, and related subjects, and to foster regard for intelligent criticism among future professionals. The award is named for architectural journalist and editor Douglas Haskell, an editor of Architectural Forum  from 1949 to 1964, where he was very influential in stopping the demolition of Grand Central Station. 

Coordinating production of The Charrette during the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring and summer of 2020 brought several challenges for the student-based team, said Garfield and Laskin. The editors had to work remotely across different states and couldn't sit side-by-side to tweak the graphics and layout to ensure clarity, as they normally would. The timeline needed to be adjusted, while stilling meeting the print deadline to submit their publication for the Haskell Award. Luckily, local print shop Constance, which The Charrette has worked with for its specialized risograph printed issues, was open during this time to complete the final step of the process, Laskin said. A unique characteristic of The Charrette is the exclusive use of a risograph printer as an environmentally sustainable print publication.

"One advantage of working from our quarantine spaces is that there weren’t many distractions!” Garfield said.

The Haskell Award is a huge honor, one the students said they hope to continue with future issues.

“I am ecstatic. This has been my dream ever since I heard about the Haskell Award a few years ago," Garfield said. "I became a member of The Charrette team early in my school experience and enjoyed being a part of it year after year. By fifth year, I felt that I could contribute a lot as the lead editor and enhance the legacy of student journalism at Tulane Architecture. It is amazing to see how The Charrette has grown over the years, continuously perpetuating student discourse in design. I am so proud of my team, who persisted despite having to adapt to Zoom studio and circumstances of quarantine.”  

"I plan to focus our energy on this publication in the coming years and hopefully win it again!" said Laskin, who will continue as an editor. "Thank you to everyone involved including students who submitted their work, our faculty advisor, design team members, those who supported our exhibitions, and of course to the jurors of the Haskell Award for considering us for the prize.” 

For the full announcement by the Center for Architecture, click here

Prof. Marianne Desmarais solo work on exhibit

gather, a solo show of new work by Marianne Desmarais, Professor of Practice and Director of Undergraduate Architecture, will be on display Summer 2020. Desmarais' work will be on display July 11-Aug. 2 with an opening from 6-9 p.m. on July 11 at Staple Goods, 1340 St. Roch Avenue, in New Orleans. The show is created with support from the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York, and Tulane School of Architecture.

Artist statement:

My work engages material and structural behavior to explore the relationships between parts in a system or an assemblage. In response to a curiosity, I develop a rule-set that leads through process to patterns, complexity, and the emergence of new formal properties. This evolution of operations reveals a shifting space between the flat and the dimensional, between liquid and solid states, and between layered moments in time.

In recent work, air-filled packing materials and plastic containers are the starting point for an examination of the logics and breakdown of material culture. Familiar and ubiquitous, these discards have pillowed the objects of our desire in protective isolation and then are expected to simply disappear. Designed for specific function and single use, these anti-forms are proliferating, their accumulation littering the ground and filling the sea. Fabricated of ever thinner plastic, they are paradoxical empty space-fillers engineered to be full yet weightless.

Through a strategy of encapsulation, I am shifting attention to these anti-forms by altering relationships to gravity, time, and perception. Reversing their solid/void relationship renders a shape that is both specific and indistinct. We know the primary object, it can be seen and touched, but the slippery forms of its packaging are curious, exaggerated, liminal. I am interested in this perceptual whole that oscillates between closeness and flows to expansiveness.

Using a synthetic rubber coating I am sequestering plastic detritus before it accumulates in trash heaps and waterways. Working with a material that changes state, from viscous liquid to flexible solid, produces a fluidity in the work that yields expansive surface and open forms.

As each sculpture is produced, its leavings and traces are collected and pushed forward into the next piece; nothing is discarded. Marks catalog the reality of each physical transformation then transfer subliminal characteristics to the intervening surface.

Tulane School of Architecture launches Instagram competition for students

To keep students engaged and their creativity going over the summer, Tulane School of Architecture is launching a new Instagram competition, starting June 10. The TuSA Summer Instagram Contest will cover six categories of representation styles, design, and art. Six juries of school faculty will vote each week for the top five winners, and prizes will be awarded. 

The competition is open to incoming, current, and newly graduated students (Class of 2020). This includes students who are minoring in programs at the school and who have taken courses via programs run by the school. 

To submit an entry, students must post their single image/animation entry on their Instagram account, indicate the competition category they are entering, and tag @tulanearch and #TulaneDesignCompetition. The entry post must be made during the week of the competition. The competition is limited to one entry per student, per category. The entry must be work created by the student. This could be new work or previous work produced in the last year. Finalists will be asked (via private message on Instagram) to verify their student status by providing their full name, Tulane ID number, and Tulane email address.

The first place winners of each category will receiving a $100 prize. The four additional finalists of each category will receive $50 prizes. Prizes will be given in the form of direct payments to current students and honoraria to newly graduated students. 

The faculty jurors include: Marianne Desmarais, Ammar Eloueini, Ruben Garcia Rubio, Bruce Goodwin, Margarita Jover, Irene Keil, Judith Kinnard, Tiffany Lin, Carol McMichael Reese, Wendy Redfield, Cordula Roser Gray, Ken Schwartz, and Ann Yoachim. The juries will not receive student names, only the work submitted. 

Winners will be announced with a post on the school's Instagram account and Instagram Story every Wednesday, starting June 17, and will follow the schedule below.

  • Week 1: Drawing/Painting/Sketching by Hand. Opening date to post entries is Wednesday, June 10. Deadline to enter is 5pm Sunday, June 14. Winner and finalists announced Wednesday, June 17.
  • Week 2: 2D Drawing/Elevation/Section. Opening date to post entries is Wednesday, June 17. Deadline to enter is 5pm Sunday, June 21. Winner and finalists announced Wednesday, June 24.
  • Week 3: Digital Rendering/Perspective. Opening date to post entries is Wednesday, June 24. Deadline to enter is 5pm Sunday, June 28. Winner and finalists announced Wednesday, July 1.
  • Week 4: Animation. Opening date to post entries is Wednesday, July 1. Deadline to enter is 5pm Sunday, July 5. Winner and finalists announced Wednesday, July 8.
  • Week 5: Physical Model. Opening date to post entries is Wednesday, July 8. Deadline to enter is 5pm Sunday, July 12. Winner and finalists announced Wednesday, July 15. 
  • Week 6: Collage. Opening date to post entries is Wednesday, July 15. Deadline to enter is 5pm Sunday, July 19. Winner and finalists announced Wednesday, July 22. 

This page will be updated each week with winning entries as the winners are announced.

Week 1 Winning Entry: Bay Area Perspectives by James Poche

Week 2 Winning Entry: section / elevation through a city in a sphere by Seth Laskin

Week 3 Winning Entry: “Interactive Investigation and Recreation Center of Lake Peigneur” by Leah Bohatch.

Week 4 Winning Entry: Marble Madness by Natalie Rendleman

Week 5 Winning Entry: T-House model by Jacob Silbermann

Week 6 Winning Entry: "Oasis" by Ian Shaw

For questions about the competition, contact Naomi King Englar at nking2@tulane.edu

ArchDaily features Alumna Zarith Pineda (A '15)

Zarith Pineda (A '15) was recently interviewed by the global architecture platform ArchDaily. Pineda is an architectural and urban designer, as well as the founder of Territorial Empathy, a research laboratory that specializes in mitigating urban conflict through architectural interventions. The nonprofit’s work includes architectural projects, as well as mapping and data visualization projects related to redlining, public school funding, air quality, access to healthy foods – and most recently providing assistance to service agencies and organizations responding to the COVID-19 crisis nationally and internationally – focusing on domestic violence and racial disparities in the pandemic response efforts.

Specifically, Territorial Empathy recently launched a grant program, COVID-19 Empathy Grants, to donate pro-bono services to organizations or communities that could benefit from the nonprofit's work. Organizations and individuals can submit information through a form on the COVID-19 Empathy Grant webpage.

“At Territorial Empathy we believe that empathy is the key to solving the pressing urban issues of our time. Now more than ever, design thinking, projects, and teams have a responsibility to inspire inclusion and connectivity. Our mission is to bring together urbanists, architects, and data scientists to work on behalf of the people in places that are often overlooked. By shedding a light on their perspectives and aspirations, we aim to support their fight for equity,” Pineda told ArchDaily.

Pineda graduated from Tulane School of Architecture in 2015 after earning her 5-year M.Arch. In 2017 she received an M.AUD from Columbia University, where her research on water diplomacy, spatial justice, and conflict urbanism awarded her the prestigious Lowenfish Memorial Prize. She has also taught Digital Design Techniques, Urban Theory, and Data Visualization as Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia. Zarith has practiced at a number of national/international architectural and urban design firms where she was involved in a broad range of institutional, residential, and planning projects. Zarith’s work has been published and exhibited in New York, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Paris, Brussels, Venice, Amman and Tel Aviv.

To read the full interview on ArchDaily, click here.

Summer 2020 Courses open to all Tulane, plus visiting students

Tulane School of Architecture has launched a new set of Summer 2020 courses. Students can get a jumpstart on their studies with a special set of more than 20 courses at Tulane School of Architecture. Students can use this time to explore a new interest or just keep creative energy going. 

 

The summer courses are open to all Tulane students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students from other universities, colleges and schools. 

 

Offerings include design, architecture, photography, drawing, making, design thinking, historic preservation, real estate, and social innovation and social entrepreneurship. View all the courses here. Registration deadlines vary, depending on the term of the courses. 

 

Registration Instructions:

 

  • Current Tulane students should register through the Gibson portal Schedule of Classes.

 

  • Undergraduate Visiting Students should register for summer courses at Tulane School of Architecture through the Newcomb-Tulane College system: NTC 2020 Visiting Student Application. All visiting students are required to have earned at least a high school diploma, or its equivalent, by the start of the summer session. Students are expected to have completed the stated course prerequisites by the start of the session. Enrollment is for Summer only.

 

  • Graduate Visiting Students (and incoming graduate students) should register for summer courses at Tulane School of Architecture directly through the school by contacting William Wildman, Assistant Director of Admissions, at wwildman@tulane.edu.

 

Kinnard featured in Madame Architect as trailblazer and admired educator

Judith Kinnard, FAIA, Tulane School of Architecture Professor of Architecture and Harvey-Wadsworth Chair of Landscape Urbanism, was recently interviewed by Julia Gamolina for Madame Architect. Below is an excerpt from the piece, titled "Designing the Future: Judith Kinnard on Academia, the Profession, and Expanding Boundaries," published April 30, 2020.

Given some of the sexism that still exists today despite so much awareness of it, I can’t imagine what it was like at a time when the same awareness wasn’t there. Was it at UVA that you became the first tenured design professor that was a woman?

Yes. There was one tenured history professor and one planning professor who were women, but none in design. I was at UVA for about twenty years, and it was a great place to teach and to practice. During that period we won four national design competitions with our practice, and this helped us develop a series of ideas involving architecture, urbanism and the landscape. Because we established a degree of national recognition, this led to my successful tenure case.

Then, I became Chair at UVA for five years, between ‘98 and 2003, working with Bill McDonough as the dean and three other wonderful chairs in landscape architecture, history of architecture, and planning. We introduced some themes that hadn’t been advanced in the past - design build and also studios that weren’t directly focused on buildings. I worked very hard to advance the dual-degree path with landscape architecture, facilitating a number of students to get both their Master of Architecture degree and their Master of Landscape Architecture degree. Thomas Woltz and Serena Nelson are great examples of this period in the school's history.

That’s fantastic. What did you do after UVA?

After a few years, my husband became the Dean at Tulane, in 2008. They offered me a full professor position with a generous endowed chair called the Harvey Wadsworth Chair in Landscape Urbanism, so we moved to New Orleans three years after Hurricane Katrina. We both felt compelled to contribute to the rebuilding of New Orleans in a more just and sustainable way. Some refer to “opportunity” in the post-Katrina setting, but we have avoided that word for obvious reasons. We felt that it was a responsibility.

The transition was a little bit tricky - I’ll say that being the wife of the dean was not my preferred role [laughs]. We’ve been very careful in our careers to maintain individual identities, so that aspect of it was a bit challenging. However, I had been asked to run for President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and a few years later, I was also elected as president of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). So I had my own leadership identity, independent of the school, while maintaining and advancing strong teaching goals at Tulane. That was important for me - the leadership roles I’ve had outside of academia were highly visible opportunities to show how one can combine teaching, research, creative work and national service to the profession. I hope that I have served as a good role model.

To read the full interview in Madame Architect, click here.

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