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All classes are suspended for the week of March 16. Starting the week of March 23, all classes will resume entirely online. Tulane School of Architecture (TuSA) remains open with most faculty and staff working remotely. Students can be granted access to work in the building only with prior approval from the school. At this time, we are not hosting admissions tours.

Please continue to check your Tulane email, Canvas, the TuSA COVID-19 FAQ, and the Tulane Emergency Management page for updates.

Tulane is working with students who have difficult personal circumstances that would make leaving campus a challenge or will face complications in online learning once they return home. In response, we have set up the Tulane Student Emergency Aid and Assistance Fund to address current student needs.

Faculty work selected for exhibition and publication by Association of German Architects Berlin

The BDA Berlin (Association of German Architects Berlin) has selected the urban design scenario “Reißverschluß” for Berlin-Hohenschönhausen by Irene Keil, a Senior Professor of Practice in Architecture at Tulane School of Architecture, and Jörg Pampe, ARGE Keil Pampe, to be included in an exhibition and the subsequent publication “BERLIN-ATLAS - Architektur als Kritik an dem, was da ist” (Berlin Atlas, architecture as a tool of criticism on the status quo). The exhibition was at the BDA gallery in Berlin from September 24 - October 24, 2019.

From the curators Andrew Alberts and Urs Füssler: "When architecture works within the context, it critiques the existing. It transforms, changes, integrates, re-conceptualizes, adds, amputates, juxtaposes, defamiliarizes, mis-interprets, elevates, exaggerates or refines, densifies and liberates. It offers an affirmative critique - by showing possibilities."

From the architects Irene Keil and Jörg Pampe: "The scenario “Reißverschluß” (zipper) is part of a series of proposals/scenarios for Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, a bedroom community of communist era housing slabs to the east of the city, established around the crossing station of several major infrastructure lines: commuter rail, regional rail, tram, and bus. In this underused zone lies the highest potential for connectivity and for the development of jobs, services, commerce and additional housing. The various scenarios explore and test the compatibility of new architectural figures with the existing buildings. The scenario “zipper” is based on the concept of interlocking - the spatial organization of the existing housing quarters and the new figure complement and complete each other; individual slab or object buildings become part of space defining edges or spatial terminations. New spaces are inserted into the vastness of the voids created by the configuration of 11-story housing slabs."

The curators were looking for representations of un-built projects for specific places in or around Berlin. The Berlin Atlas is an on-going project aiming to produce an alternative Stadtkarte (urban map) conceived by a multitude of authors and their ideas for the city. Preceding the atlas, a brochure with the selected proposals is being published yearly.

Small Center celebrates national design award

A young man dropped into the concrete bowl beneath the overpass, the wheels of his skateboard drowned out by the roar of commuters on the interstate above him. Others tried out a temporary makeshift ramp cobbled together from pallets and plywood. Rain poured off the overpass, falling into rain gardens designed to prevent pooling water from ruining the fun.

On Tuesday, October 29, an award ceremony was held at Parisite Skate Park, New Orleans’ first and only official public skatepark and a silver medal winner for the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence.

Founded by architect Simeon Bruner, the national design contest recognizes transformative urban places distinguished by their economic and social contributions to America’s cities. Medalists reflect the diversity of urban excellence and yield fresh ideas and perspectives that challenge our assumptions and increase our understanding of how to make great urban places.

Tulane School of Architecture’s Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design collaborated with Transitional Spaces, a non-profit organization representing the local skater community, to work with the City of New Orleans and see the skater’s vision for the park come to fruition.

Parisite was driven and created by the park’s users as opposed to a traditional top down approach, observed Rudy Bruner Award Director Anne-Marie Lubenau.

The ceremony was followed by a reception and panel discussion at the Small Center. The panel featured members of the design team and representatives from the Mayor’s office, Transitional Spaces and the Bruner Foundation. It focused on the park’s creation, lessons learned, and its potential for informing the process of communal park design.

“Parisite is an example of how the Small Center’s process of collaborative community-driven design allows groups with divergent priorities to work productively to resolve their differences and come together to see projects through to completion,” Small Center Director Ann Yoachim said.

Mintz Global Research Studios return from inaugural trips abroad

This past month Tulane School of Architecture students and faculty traveled to India and Ethiopia as part of the school's new Saul A. Mintz Global Research Studios. Dean Iñaki Alday and Research Assistant Professor Monisha Nasa accompanied students to India for the studio "The Rajasthan Cities: Jaipur." The team is working with stakeholders in the region on the recovery of urban ecologies, restoration of the city edges, and extensive systems in water harvesting, mobility, energy and cultural infrastructure.

Assistant Professor Rubén García Rubio, Adjunct Assistant Professor Sonsoles Vela Navarro and students in the studio "Addis Ababa River Project" visited Ethiopia and toured the areas of the city where the studio is focused, the Upper Kebena river, and met with local institutions in academia, architecture, foreign aid and international diplomacy.

Click here to view pictures from the teams' trips abroad.

Architecture faculty selected as authors for 2020 NOLA Book Fest

Faculty at the Tulane School of Architecture - including Richard Campanella, Margarita Jover, Carol McMichael Reese, and Dean Iñaki Alday - have been selected as authors for the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University.

The 2020 New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University, a new major literary event for the Crescent City, will take place March 19-21, with a lineup featuring best-selling authors including Jason Berry, Roy Blount Jr., Donna L. Brazile, David Brooks, Sarah M. Broom, Mika Brzezinski, Jean Case, Steve Case, Dave Eggers, Malcolm Gladwell, Eddie Glaude, Annette Gordon-Reed, John Grisham, Mitch Landrieu, Erik Larson, Michael Lewis, Eric Motley, Peter S. Onuf, Samantha Power, Sister Helen Prejean, Susan Rice, Joe Scarborough, Alon Shaya, Anne Snyder, Evan Thomas, Sean Tuohy, Kim Vaz-Deville and Darren Walker.

The three-day event will showcase nearly 100 national, regional and local authors; feature children’s and family programming sponsored by the Scholastic Corporation; and include numerous literary exhibitors. Festival organizers are expecting more than 30,000 attendees. All events will take place on Tulane’s uptown campus, including the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, McAlister Auditorium, Freeman Auditorium, Rogers Memorial Chapel and the Berger Family Lawn.

At a Nov. 16 press conference announcing the event, Tulane President Mike Fitts said the university has a “rich, renowned and vibrant literacy history.”

“It is Tulane’s great honor to host a festival that brings together the world’s leading authors, book lovers of all genres and the children of our community,” President Fitts said. “Events like this make our campus and the Tulane experience available to everyone, especially the young minds and aspiring writers of New Orleans.”

“Expanding literacy, the love of the written word, and the ability to express and articulate humanity’s most sublime thoughts and discoveries and aspirations, that’s the central role of higher education; that’s what we’re about at Tulane University,” he said.

The festival will spotlight eight tracks, including American Society, Health and Science, Food, New Orleans Culture, Sports, Children, Fiction and World War II in partnership with The National WWII Museum. There will be panel discussions, moderated conversations, keynote lectures, book fairs and workshops. Each day will include at least one major plenary session at which a leading author will be featured. It will also provide a forum for media outlets, authors and readers to network and collaborate in one of the most vibrant and culturally diverse cities in the world.

Family Day at the Festival on Saturday, March 21, will focus on literacy advancement and feature readings and special literacy-themed activities for New Orleans children and their families. Family Day is a joint partnership with the city of New Orleans’ Office of Youth and Families and Scholastic.

“This will be an opportunity for youth-serving organizations, our libraries, our recreation centers, and other nonprofits throughout the community to come here on campus and to have a day filled with family fun. But we hope that it will not just be the one day, but really extend out into our families’ experiences beyond the weekend, because there really is so much in our city to be enjoyed, and our mayor is committed to ensuring that all families have access to that,” Emily Wolff, director of the Office of Youth and Families, said.

Wolff said the event is an opportunity to also raise awareness about the city’s high rate of adult illiteracy and provide more resources to support that issue.

The festival will engage with teachers and school organizations, as well as literacy, child advocacy and city partners, to encourage attendance and participation in the festival. In addition, thousands of books will be distributed to local schools before the festival, as well as to many of the children attending the event. Prior to the event, Scholastic will announce the children’s authors that will participate at the festival.

The festival co-chairs are former New Orleans first lady Cheryl Landrieu and Tulane University Professor of History and best-selling biographer Walter Isaacson. Landrieu is the founder of the New Orleans Book Festival and has a long history of supporting strategic community initiatives in New Orleans, most recently focused on literacy and advocacy for the advancement of women and girls.

Isaacson is the past CEO of the Aspen Institute, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow, the former chairman of CNN and the former editor of TIME magazine. He is currently an advisory partner at Perella Weinberg, a financial services firm based in New York City.

“The New Orleans Book Festival began in 2010 as a free literary event for families in New Orleans,” said Landrieu. “We are excited to expand in partnership with Tulane University to create a weekend of events featuring prominent national and local writers and journalists. The city of New Orleans has a strong literary history, and this festival seeks to continue and grow the literary community in our area. The partnership with Tulane will also generate participation of a great number of talented writers from the Tulane community as well as interest from Tulane students. The New Orleans Book Festival will offer something to readers of all ages and backgrounds and will provide an opportunity for all members of our community to come together over a shared love of reading.”

Landrieu said she remembered being nervous about the first book festival, hosted at Milton Latter Memorial Library, but when she arrived, she saw the long line of children waiting.

“Just to see the excitement in their eyes that day made me realize that this is something that could continue.”

“As an author, I noticed that so many cities around the country have major book festivals,” Isaacson said. “I love all the festivals in New Orleans, but it seemed to me that somewhere in the cultural calendar between food and wine and jazz, it would be fun to do a major literary and ideas festival. The New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University has a tremendous lineup for our first year, including some of the country’s most notable authors from a vast array of genres and disciplines. Our expectation is to bring leading authors from around the country, the city and campus, and make this one of the nation’s premier literary events. We hope to attract and captivate book enthusiasts from all over, especially in New Orleans, for a three-day celebration of literacy and culture.”
 

The full list of confirmed authors who will present during the festival includes Iñaki Alday, Jason Berry, Roy Blount Jr., Beau Boudreaux, Donna L. Brazile, David Brooks, Sarah M. Broom, Jill Conner Browne, Mika Brzezinski, Richard Campanella, Jean Case, Steve Case, Dave Eggers, Emma Fick, Malcolm Gladwell, Eddie Glaude, Annette Gordon-Reed, Richard Grant, Roberta Brandes Gratz, John Grisham, Yuri Herrera, Margarita Jover, Molly Kimball, Mitch Landrieu, Erik Larson, Nancy Lemann, Nick Lemann, Michael Lewis, Eric Motley, Peter S. Onuf, Tom Piazza, Lawrence N. Powell, Samantha Power, Sister Helen Prejean, Carol McMichael Reese, Susan Rice, Joe Scarborough, Alon Shaya, Anne Snyder, Michael Strecker, Evan Thomas, Sean Tuohy, Sheba Turk, Mark VanLandingham, Kim Vaz-Deville, Darren Walker, Henry Walther and Chris Yandle.

In addition to contemporary authors such as Tulane Professor of English Jesmyn Ward, a two-time National Book Award winner, New Orleans boasts a long list of authors with strong ties to the city. From William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and Anne Rice to Tulane alumnus and Pulitzer Prize winner John Kennedy Toole, many authors have found their creativity and brilliance in the Crescent City.

Tulane’s own faculty have penned best-selling novels, histories and biographies and works on subjects ranging from ancient civilizations to the geography of New Orleans and the history of jazz.

Additional authors for the book festival will be announced in the coming months.

Click here to see photos from the event. For more information on the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University, please visit ​www.bookfest.Tulane.edu and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @NolaBookFest.

School of Architecture geographer and author wins Louisiana Writer Award

Tulane University geography professor Richard Campanella, author of 11 books on the geography, history, architecture and culture of Louisiana, is the recipient of the 2019 Louisiana Writer Award. The award is presented annually by the Louisiana Center for the Book of the State Library of Louisiana.

Campanella will receive the award Nov. 2 at the opening ceremony of the Louisiana Book Festival at the State Capitol in recognition of his outstanding contribution to documenting Louisiana’s history, culture and people.

“The historical geography of New Orleans and Louisiana is really the story of millions of people creating cityscapes and landscapes over hundreds of years,” said Campanella, a senior professor of practice in the Tulane School of Architecture. “I am humbled by the task of trying to understand all this complex place-making, and I feel deeply honored to be recognized by the state for the effort.”

Campanella’s works includes “Bienville’s Dilemma: A Historical Geography of New Orleans,” described by the New York Review of Books as the “single best history of the city…masterful.” He is also the author of “Geographies of New Orleans: Urban Fabrics Before the Storm” (University of Louisiana Press, 2006), which came out just after Hurricane Katrina. That book also won rave reviews, with The Times-Picayune calling it “a powerful (and) dazzling book, unparalleled in its scope, precision, clarity and detail.”

His book “Bourbon Street: A History,” was declared by the New York Review of Books as “absorbing...persuasive…gleefully subversive. There may be no one better qualified to write such a history than Campanella.”

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Campanella is the only two-time winner of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Book of the Year Award. He has also won the Louisiana Literary Award, the Williams Prize, the Malcolm Heard Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Hannah Arendt Prize for Public Scholarship and the Tulane Honors Professor of the Year. In 2016, the Government of France named Campanella as Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.

Campanella lives with his wife Marina and their son Jason in uptown New Orleans. His next book, “The West Bank of Greater New Orleans: A Historical Geography,” will be released by Louisiana State University Press in 2020.

To read the full story from Tulane University, click here.

Small Center selects annual design-build & visioning projects

Over the coming school year, Tulane architecture students and faculty will partner to design and build a recreation space for children and mothers experiencing homelessness, as well as a visioning plan for a community and office space for those working in criminal justice reform.

The two projects are part of an annual program focused on providing design services to Orleans Parish-based nonprofits and is led by the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design (Small Center) at the Tulane School of Architecture.

"Our students need to understand that they have the ability to affect change to complex systems through design in incremental ways,” said Emilie Taylor Welty, professor of practice at Tulane School of Architecture and design-build manager at Small Center. “With the current state of our criminal justice system and challenges of supporting people experiencing homelessness, our aspiration is to engage students through these projects to further the conversation on these subjects.”

Nonprofits selected for the 2019-2020 academic year are Hotel Hope and Resurrection After Exoneration. Along with a jury of design professionals, past partners, and funders, Small Center facilitated an intensive review of 20 applications this past spring from nonprofits that work in a variety of sectors, such as education, labor equity, environmental conservation, and youth empowerment.

For the Fall 2019 Design-Build project, Small Center will partner with Hotel Hope on "A Play Haven for Hotel Hope," a shaded recreation space for children to play near their mothers during their time of stay. This space will encourage children to enjoy and express themselves while assisting in enhancing a sense of comfort as families transition out of homelessness.

Hotel Hope is a nonprofit, interfaith organization that provides housing to women and their children while guiding them to self-sufficiency and self-empowerment through intensive case management in a safe and loving atmosphere. In 2017, Hotel Hope launched its emergency shelter service model and, to date, has served 74 mothers and 162 children, who were once living in their car, on the street, or in uninhabitable conditions. Of the women who have successfully completed the program, 100% are in housing today.

“We are so excited to partner with Tulane architecture students and faculty as they design a play haven for the children staying at the hotel,” said Sister Mary Lou Specha, PBVM, Executive Director. “The dream of turning a former parking lot into play space is something we desired since purchasing the property last August. I know the play space will be the first thing the children want to run to as they come and stay at Hotel Hope after experiencing homelessness."

For the 2019-2020 Visioning project, Small Center will work with Resurrection After Exoneration on "The RAE House." The RAE House Visioning Project will be a redesign of the current Resurrection After Exoneration building. to include more useful programming space, community gathering space, and office space for service providers – such as GED services, educational programming, counselors, attorneys, caseworkers, and other small nonprofits that do criminal justice reform.

"I'm very excited about the future process and to be a Small Center community partner,” said Lavern Thompson, Executive Director of Resurrection After Exoneration. “Resurrection After Exoneration's mission has always been to help those in need and with this project, we will gain momentum to get us the operating capacity needed to continue our mission and keep my late husband's legacy alive.

Thompson said she has always wanted to continue what her late husband, John “JT” Thompson, started as the nonprofit’s executive director.

“This organization started with JT's desire to help people returning home from prison transition back into society with a skill set and support system,” Thompson said. “A support system for those returning home from prison is desperately needed in the city of New Orleans, and we at Resurrection After Exoneration want to make sure we are prepared to answer the call." 

The current Resurrection After Exoneration building has tremendous potential for modeling best practices in one-stop reentry services, as well as being able to provide community, safety and support for exonerated men and women upon their release. Small Center will collaborate with RAE to create a design reflective of these aspirations.

Resurrection After Exoneration (RAE) was founded in 2007 by exonerees to promote and sustain a network of support among formerly wrongfully incarcerated individuals in the South. RAE works to reconnect exonerees to their communities and provide access to those opportunities of which they were robbed.

Archinect interviews Dean Iñaki Alday

Archinect magazine recently interviewed Tulane School of Architecture Dean Iñaki Alday as part of its Deans List interview series with the leaders of architecture schools, worldwide. The series profiles the school’s programming, as defined by the dean – giving an invaluable perspective into the institution’s unique curriculum, faculty and academic environment.

For this installment, Archinect spoke with Iñaki Alday, the new dean at the Tulane School of Architecture. The school hosts a variety of degree and specialized programs that combine architecture, real estate development, historic preservation, and community-driven focuses to provide a holistic design education. Dean Alday recently took the reins of the school with the aim of leading the Gulf Coast region and country, overall, in terms of "what it means to live with water."

Read below for the full story or click here for the original piece in Archinect by Managing Editor Antonio Pacheco (TSA *14).

Briefly describe Tulane School of Architecture’s pedagogical stance on architecture education.

Tulane School of Architecture has a history of commitment to real, pressing issues, and, especially after Hurricane Katrina, a history of leadership in helping our communities rebuild. We are not interested in the endogamic discourses that have occupied academia for decades, taking us away from society and relevancy. In the past, many schools of architecture have failed as educators and as leaders of our societies. Therefore, our school focuses on urgent problems, not self-indulgent fictions. The school is in the heart of the “Third Coast”–the American Gulf Coast–where all the challenges of human inhabitation of the planet are at play. This exceptional location, being in the Mississippi Delta, also provides us with the opportunity to define the role that architecture can take in facing climate change—including other ecological crises, as well as in the process of urbanization under these circumstances—and the challenges of social and environmental justice that follow.

What insights from your past professional experience are you hoping to integrate/adopt as dean?

A significant part of my professional practice is focused on the connection between cities, and buildings, with rivers and their dynamics. For example, my partner Margarita Jover and I were among the first to “design” the flood that occupies a public space and a building (an arena) in Spain, starting a line of investigation that changes the idea of flooding (and all river dynamics) from a catastrophic event into a positive asset. Since then we have been planning, designing, and building “hybrid infrastructures” in Spain, Asia, and Latin America, and also, working as regular experts for the World Bank. This type of creative, innovative design work is key for Tulane as it seeks to lead the region and country in terms of what it means to live with water.

Academically, I enjoyed being chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Virginia (2011-16), where I founded the Yamuna River Project together with Pankaj Vir Gupta, an interdisciplinary research program whose objective is to revitalize the ecology of the Yamuna River in New Delhi, thus reconnecting India’s capital city back to the water. This project is proof of how architecture and urbanism can approach complex problems holistically while incorporating multiple fields (history, art history, engineering, economics, religious studies, entrepreneurship, engineering, environmental sciences, and politics, for example). It is a great example of making an impact in one of the toughest urban crises. We are continuing with the project at Tulane, expanding it to other cities in India and the Global South.

Rivers and their associated communities are at the frontline of climate impacts. Globally, river basins provide the majority of the world’s food and freshwater, and more than 500 million people live on river deltas, which also form the major ports of the world. Along the roughly 2,300 miles of the Mississippi River alone are situated at least seven major urban centers, while 50 cities rely on the Mississippi to provide drinking water for 20 million people. The Mississippi River Basin, the world’s fourth largest river basin, spans 31 states and two Canadian provinces, providing more than 40-percent of US agriculture with water while producing $400 billion of economic activity. It is among the leading locations facing significant conditions of accelerating risk, as well. Similar conditions are replicated in multiple river basins across the planet, especially in the Global South, where regions are facing the crises of pollution, floods, and scarcity, and, most critically, in urbanized contexts and in the rapidly growing megalopolises in South East Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

What kind of student do you think would flourish at Tulane University and why?

At Tulane, a student needs to be committed, not only to excellence but also to stepping out of her or his comfort zone, collaborating with other fields inside the school (architecture, preservation, sustainable real estate), and with those outside the school (science and engineering, social sciences, economics, humanities, and law). And above all, our students are encouraged to look beyond themselves, to avoid cherry-picking problems, and to committing to positively impacting the lives of others. The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design works directly with communities, URBANbuild produces a yearly miracle of an affordable house designed and built by students, and our river and delta urbanism research offers a unique approach and a track record of substantial impact in the cities set alongside the Mississippi River and alongside the rivers of India, Argentina, and Ethiopia.

What are the biggest challenges, academically and professionally, facing students?

The recovery of architecture as a relevant discipline in the collective imagination is the biggest challenge. Architecture needs to be at the table where big decisions are made. This is the challenge that our students need to take on, and will become experts in, after 50 years of architecture being isolated in disconnected academic discourses or assuming the role of pure service provider. The new generations have the mandate of recovering the leadership role that society and the planet need.

What are some of the larger issues of “today” that you feel an architecture school should be preparing its students for?

We are in the midst of the most significant environmental and social crises, one that is even threatening our own existence on the earth. We urgently need to change the way in which we are inhabiting the planet, change how new buildings perform, how they serve people, how they look, and where they are located. And similarly, we need to rethink what and how to preserve, where and how to develop, and how our cities should be symbiotic with natural elements. Right now, architecture is losing relevance in discussions about the built environment in many countries around the world, and most strikingly, in the United States.

At Tulane, we train students with a holistic approach, giving them interdisciplinary tools to help them learn to identify which are the most pressing issues so they can figure out how to apply their design, preservation, or sustainable real estate development education in order to address them. We advocate for the production of knowledge and innovation through design, which for us, is understood as the creative management of complexity. When we, as architects, are able to go beyond our personal preferences, there is no other kind of professional better prepared for dealing with the complex and uncertain world around us.

What are some of the advantages of the school’s context—being housed within Tulane University as well as in New Orleans—and how do you think they help make the program unique?

Tulane University is a top-tier research university, and the perfect size for interdisciplinary collaborations, which is a priority of the university president, provost and all the deans here. From my perspective, “curiosity” and “ambition” are the two words that define Tulane today and that’s what attracted me here. New Orleans is also the northernmost tip of the Global South. Both facts together position Tulane uniquely as the only top research university that is located in a place that deals with all the challenges—social, environmental, economic—in the most exciting, dynamic, and needed region in the world. And our university is committed to work that brings innovation by crossing disciplinary boundaries. This is the only school of architecture that has fully committed to rebuilding a city after a major catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina. Solving urgent problems, housing people, working with communities to bring them back, developing new scenarios to inhabit our rivers and deltas—those issues are deeply rooted in Tulane’s identity. Because of the uniqueness of Tulane, the School of Architecture is a school that has no parallel.

Tulane needs to keep growing and positioning itself as a genuine voice, very different to our peers due to our unique ecosystem and concerns. We are already a driving force in New Orleans and the region; however, we should also become an international reference working on comparative methods. Our challenges are the world’s challenges, and the best way to learn and move forward is to hold a continuous back and forth between our attention to the local conditions and the lessons learned globally.

Tulane School of Architecture has a significant record of working within the New Orleans community, how will you take on that legacy?

First of all, we should probably say “communities,” as New Orleans is a diverse city with many different communities. They are always complex and contradictory—And there is never a single belonging, but often multiple and always nested systems of them. That being said, New Orleans epitomizes the challenges of thousands of towns, cities, and metropolises set alongside American rivers. We are at the intersection of floods, scarcity, pollution, land loss, and other riverine environmental issues, and we are dealing with the societal impact of those as well as the impacts of post-industrial economic stagnation, transportation crises, and other social challenges. Working from New Orleans—a microcosm of global issues—the Tulane School of Architecture is well positioned to lead the work in terms of how to relate our cities and our rivers in a completely different way. Floods are here to stay, and we have to design our spaces to make them productive—instead of catastrophic—by turning floods into an opportunity rather than a threat. Instead of walls, our rivers and cities deserve public spaces that can navigate the changes and recover healthy ecologies. Buildings need to be adapted to leverage the river or the delta, as well. This is a natural human inclination, but now we must apply it in a different way, undergoing proper transformation.

Can you speak to the nature of collaboration that exists between Tulane School of Architecture’s various programs (Architecture, Preservation, Real Estate Development, the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, URBANbuild, Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship) and your plans for those efforts?

Tulane School of Architecture offers the essentials we need to rethink how to inhabit our planet: what and how to preserve, where and how to sustainably develop the land, and how to design buildings, public spaces, and cities. Dual degrees are excellent choices that round-out an effective education and prepare our graduates for thinking broadly, creatively, and responsibly. We have interdisciplinary studios among the three programs, design-build studios with our community partners, and a wide range of courses open to all Tulane students. All in all, every student has the opportunity to excel in her or his degree while being knowledgeable about other areas. An architect needs to know how to deal with existing buildings and to understand the logics of real estate development. Similarly, historic preservationists incorporate design and advanced digital tools while understanding the economic implications of their work, including the risk of gentrification. And a developer of the future cannot be anything other than sustainable, must understand the potential of reusing our heritage, and know how high-quality design improves the conditions of life.

Tulane School of Architecture receives $2 million for global studios

The Tulane University School of Architecture has received a $2 million gift to establish the Saul A. Mintz Global Research Studios, a new program that will give students an opportunity to work internationally on critical global issues.

The gift from Jean Strauss Mintz, a 1955 graduate of Newcomb College, is in memory of her husband Saul Mintz, a native New Orleanian who graduated from the Tulane School of Architecture in 1953.

The gift establishes an endowed fund to be used for travel expenses, research and other expenses of faculty and students associated with international research through design studios, which will include teams of students and a faculty member who will work in a lab on innovative solutions, including traveling abroad to do field work.

“This gift advances magnificently the Tulane School of Architecture’s goal of becoming an international leader in design that enhances and enriches human life, especially in the world’s most challenged regions,” Tulane President Mike Fitts said.

The program is part of a network of upper level research studios that will address a relevant topic for several years in order to produce knowledge and expand the field of architecture in that particular area.

“The impact will be doubled,” said Iñaki Alday, dean of the Tulane School of Architecture. “On the one hand, the Global Research Studios will contribute to the solutions of critical problems and expand Tulane’s international networks. On the other, every year 42 students will have very intense international academic experience at the research level.”

One of the projects is titled the Yamuna River Project, The Rajasthan Cities, which is based on research Alday began prior to coming to Tulane, in partnership with University of Virginia Professor Pankaj Vir Gupta. Originally based in New Delhi, the program is expanding to the Rajasthan cities of Jaipur and Ajmer, which like most parts of South Asia, is dealing with issues of water scarcity, river and lake pollution, ground water depletion, infrastructure challenges and population growth. Other studios will deal with rapid growing cities in Africa, like the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, or social and architectural challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The multi-year research project will analyze and develop scenarios for transformation, incorporating building scale, public scape, landscape and urban growth strategies. It will use a multidisciplinary approach that includes socio-economics, urban infrastructures, ecologies and governance, with water as the overarching frame and major challenge for urban life.

“Every graduating student of the Tulane School of Architecture will have this international high-level exposure, which will help them to understand the cultural nuances of international practice and research and allow them to be effective when working in different countries,” Alday said. "As architectural practice evolves and becomes more and more global, this is an essential quality that our students need to possess.”

Mintz made the gift in collaboration with her children Carolyn Kaplan, a 1978 graduate of Newcomb College; Sally M. Mann, a 1984 graduate of Newcomb; and Morris F. Mintz, along with their spouses and the Mintz’s 10 grandchildren.

“I wanted to honor Saul in a manner that would reflect his life’s interests and passions,” Jean Mintz said. “He held Tulane and its stellar architecture program in high esteem throughout his lifetime and believed that Tulane always should be amongst the country’s most highly respected and innovative universities.”

She said the Global Research Studios is an “innovative and forward-looking program that compliments Saul’s desires to keep Tulane one step ahead.”

Until his death in 2012, Saul Mintz actively supported the School of Architecture, where he served on the Dean’s Advisory Council. He established a successful business in Monroe, Louisiana, where he and his wife raised their family and served the community through numerous civic organizations and endeavors. He and Jean Mintz were also instrumental in funding Tulane Hillel’s Goldie and Morris Mintz Center for Jewish Life, which is named for Saul Mintz’s parents.

Rudy Bruner Award winner has Tulane School of Architecture connections

The 2019 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence Gold Medalist has been named, and several Tulane School of Architecture alumni and faculty were involved in the winning project: Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, Tennessee.

Architecture faculty Emilie Taylor Welty and Seth Welty designed the Crosstown's French Truck Memphis coffee bar, one of several food establishments in the building. Additionally, Tulane alumni Lee Askew III, FAIA, (Architecture '66) was the architect of the charter high school inside the building; and Tony Bologna, FAIA, (Architecture '64) was an instrumental force as one of five architects leading the concept and development for the overall project.

Completed in 2017, Crosstown Concourse is a $210 million rehabilitation project, transforming a historic Sears, Roebuck & Company distribution center into a mixed-use vertical village. The biggest adaptive reuse project in Tennessee and the largest LEED Platinum Certified historic adaptive reuse project in the world, the 16-acre development integrates housing, offices, restaurants, and retail along with nonprofit arts and culture, health and wellness, and educational organizations.

Once home to the city’s largest employer, the 1.5-million-square-foot structure was abandoned in 1993 and stood vacant for more than 20 years. In 2010, Crosstown Arts was founded as a nonprofit arts organization to create a vision for its redevelopment that would cultivate the city’s creative community through “an open and inclusive place designed to dissolve barriers to access.”

Designed by Memphis-based Looney Ricks Kiss in association with DIALOG (Vancouver) and Spatial Affairs Bureau (UK), among others, Crosstown Concourse is now home to 40 diverse tenants and 265 apartments housing over 400 residents.

Read the full announcement from Metropologis Magazine here.

Roser Gray data-powered installation on display in downtown New Orleans

VectorFlow, a site-specific installation by Tulane School of Architecture Professor of Practice Cordula Roser Gray, is on display in Duncan Plaza in downtown New Orleans this summer. The project was supported by a Tulane University Lavin-Bernick faculty grant, as well as the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking.

VectorFlow is designed to redefine a new public node in the plaza and offer an attraction point within the open space of the park. Five canopies aggregated to create a cluster within the larger field are coded in red to attract citizens and visitors to make the intervention visible and recognizable from different points of arrival to the park. Etched metal surfaces inscribed within the circular canopies provide shade and light effects during the day. At night, lights are activated to dematerialize and transform the canopies into responsive nodes able to render the flow of occupation of the plaza throughout the day.

The intervention acts as a system able to constantly trigger and monitor the flow of pedestrians through the park at varying times of the day. A sensor-based system receives data input from pedestrian passing by or people inhabiting the space. Data triggered by motion sensors are translated into dynamic LED light display which in return through intensity, color, movement and information display influences how citizens occupy and interact with the park. Through this citizens are offered the opportunity for engagement, interaction and activation while being exposed to underlying urban life-defining systems that in return can initiate desire for change while enabling space to be dynamic. The contextual changes rendered by the lighting strategy become an active, real-time transformation to the physical space while offering a permanent public node for meeting and gathering.

View a video demo of the light effects, project renderings, and site plans here.

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