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First-ever Research Studios announced

Starting Fall 2019, students at Tulane School of Architecture will be part of design research that tackles some of the world’s most pressing contemporary problems through architecture. The school recently selected its first-ever Research Studios that will focus on a single topic, place, or phenomenon over three years, delving into greater detail and complexity in each cycle. Each studio will work toward the production of scholarly outputs such as books, monographs, articles, symposia, and exhibits. Students will have the opportunity to select several of these studios during their time at Tulane. See below for a list of the new Research Studios, the lead instructor, and short descriptions.

Yamuna River Project, The Rajasthan Cities.

Fall 2019. Open to graduate students only.

Lead Instructor: Iñaki Alday, Dean and Richard Koch Chair in Architecture

This Research Studio will analyze and develop scenarios for transforming two historic cities in India, Jaipur and Ajmer in Rajasthan, acting as an independent advisor to the Rajasthan government. In exploring urban growth strategies, the work will be developed at multiple scales, from that of the building to that of the public landscape. The multidisciplinary approach will include disciplinary perspectives from sociology, economics, environmental ecology, engineering, and governmental policy, with considerations about water as the overarching framework. The studio will travel to India during the fall break.

URBANbuild: re-evaluation, affordability, national translation.

Fall 2019-Spring 2020. Open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Lead Instructor: Byron Mouton, AIA, Director of URBANbuild, Lacey Senior Professor of Practice in Architecture

This Research Studio continues URBANbuild’s longstanding commitment to the New Orleans community to design and build infill housing, providing a transformative hands-on experience for architecture students. Issues related to the sometimes-conflicting agendas of progress, preservation, affordability, and replication are debated. URBANbuild research will endeavor to “scale up” nationally, exploring different climatic and cultural contexts and proposing a research methodology for the production of prototypes. while addressing issues of design, community involvement, and affordability.

The Future of Ports: From the Backyard to the Forefront of Ecology, Economy, and Urbanity.

Fall 2019. Open to undergraduate students only.

Lead Instructor: Margarita Jover, Associate Professor in Architecture

This Research Studio focuses on New Orleans’ Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, popularly known as the Industrial Canal, where an industrial landscape meets residential neighborhoods. A multidisciplinary team will document the adjacent properties and buildings, research comparable examples and best practices worldwide, and propose innovative design-research projects, engaging stakeholders through a compelling exhibit and public conversation about how best to utilize these neglected mixed-use spaces.

Resilience Reinforced: Architectural precast concrete systems addressing the regional water infrastructure challenges.

Fall 2019. Open to graduate students only.

Lead Instructor: Kentaro Tsubaki, AIA, Associate Dean for Academics, Favrot Associate Professor of Architecture

Through design investigations, this Research Studio examines the potential of precast concrete systems and advanced fabrication technology to address stormwater runoffs at two urban scales. At the street scale, paving and rain-garden systems will introduce students to water management infrastructure and aesthetically appealing precast paving systems. At the neighborhood scale, linear-park design will introduce students to complex water management challenges and provide opportunities to speculate on advanced precast systems as solutions.

Contemporary Architecture in Historic Contexts: The Case of Magazine Street in New Orleans.

Fall 2019. Open to undergraduate students only.

Lead Instructor: Ammar Eloueini, AIA, NCARB, Favrot V Professor of Architecture

How, as architects, can we think about the future of cities in a way that will preserve their historic character while responding to urgent social and environmental needs? This Research Studio will explore an alternative approach to issues of development in historical neighborhoods, where context is considered from geographic, cultural, political, and economic perspectives, and contemporary materials and techniques of construction are utilized. Magazine Street—an iconic pathway in New Orleans with a mix of commercial and residential structures that attracts tourists and residents alike—will serve as our study area. We will also study Magazine in comparison to other such iconic streets in the U.S. and abroad.

Toward a Civic Landscape.

Spring 2020. Open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Lead Instructor: Scott Bernhard, AIA, NCARB, Favrot III Associate Professor of Architecture

This Research Studio expands upon existing work in New Orleans to envision a merging of urban infrastructure, ecological stewardship, and public space. It explores issues of food scarcity and security in the urban context through a synthesis of several areas of research in urban agriculture, ecological remediation, water management, public parks, and the nature of public space. This research proposes to articulate and substantiate an emerging civic identity in redefining public perceptions of place, infrastructure, and urbanity.

Fast/Strong/Sustainable: Exploring the Expanded Mass Timber Industry for Design in Hurricane-Prone Regions.

Spring 2020. Open to undergraduate and graduate students.

Lead Instructor: Judith Kinnard, FAIA, Harvey-Wadsworth Chair of Landscape Urbanism, Professor of Architecture

This Research Studio will expand the inquiry of mass timber research employed in the construction of tall buildings to include lower-scale and residential settings where the speed of production and assembly are of essence. Hurricanes in the Gulf South have destroyed and damaged hundreds of thousands of homes, and it is imperative that new approaches be explored for sustainable transitional and permanent housing. Prototypes that use local resources have the potential to expand the regional economy and deemphasize extraction industries.

URBANbuild program launches new website

Tulane University School of Architecture’s award-winning design/build program, URBANbuild, recently launched a new website showcasing the program’s evolution and impact over the past 12 years.

URBANbuild brings together a team of architecture students to collaboratively design and construct a home over the course of two semesters. The program works to enrich students’ development as professional designers while helping to revitalize New Orleans’ rich heritage.

“It has been extremely rewarding to spend the past few months working with a great team of web designers, writers and students who have worked tirelessly to collect and organize the content for this new website,” said URBANbuild Director Byron Mouton.

The redesigned website tells the story of the many people, partnerships and processes it takes to make each project a reality.

“Everyone who has participated in adding to the program's body of research should be extremely proud,” said Mouton. “To our current and past students, congratulations. To our community partners and administration, thank you so much for the continued support."

In-depth project profiles feature URBANbuild’s growing body of work, with alumni case studies detailing the program’s impact on individual students. The online resource will serve as a tool to further the URBANbuild mission and chronicle future projects.

The website was created by Extra Small Design and made possible by the Roloson Foundation. Visit www.urbanbuild.tulane.edu for more information.

NOLA.com features Tulane's URBANbuild

The house at 1924 Toledano St. in Central City is a striking gray residence with a sharply angled roofline and louvered shutters over the front windows. Inside, every inch of its 975 square feet has been painstakingly pondered, debated and studied.

The house, which recently listed on the market for $220,000 and is now under contract, is the 12th project of the Tulane University School of Architecture's URBANbuild program.

Fifteen students -- a mixture of undergrads and grad students -- designed the house in a class last fall, then submitted plans to the city and secured building permits. During the spring semester, they built it from the ground up on a vacant 30-foot-by-70-foot lot owned by Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, the nonprofit group which partners with Tulane on the program.

For some of the students, it was the first time they'd ever lifted a hammer or fired up a power tool, much less climbed around a roof.

The class operates like a full-time job, with students expected to spend six days a week on the job site, said Tulane architecture professor and URBANbuild director Byron Mouton. Licensed general contractor Anthony Christiana serves as lead contractor.

In the fall, the students create various architectural design schemes for an affordable residence; at midterm, they vote on the one that will be built. "Then they all work together as a group on the development," Mouton said. Full Article HERE

URBANbuild 12 Progress Report

Hello TSA community, Please see our attached progress report. The URBANbuild 12 team has been hard at work, and progress has been fantastic. We have 4 weeks to go. Wish the students luck, and feel free to pay a visit to 1924 Toledano. We will organize an open house after reviews, be on the lookout for an invite.

URBANbuild 12 Progress Report

Byron Mouton, AIA

Byron Mouton to lecture at the Harvard GSD Department of Urban Planning and Design

ARCH 4552/6552

As a continuation of the TSA’s URBANbuild Design/Build research program, the fall design studio (DSGN 4100) concentrated on the development of single family dwelling prototypes, and one was chosen for construction. Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, a respected Community Development Corporation (CDC), has provided a site for the realization of students’ efforts.

URBANbuild 4 featured in Apartment Therapy

A Pro Organizer's New Orleans Home (Named Barbarella!)
HOUSE TOUR 
 

Name: Tami Hills
Location: Central City — New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 1,266 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 6 years

Tami Hills never imagined she would buy a move-in ready home. The professional organizer and DIYer dreamed of buying an old New Orleans house she could fully renovate. But after looking at nearly a hundred properties in a fiercely competitive market, she was exhausted. "I would fall in love and be outbid. It happened over and over again," she explained.

When she spotted a contemporary home, still under construction, her interest came as a surprise. The Central City property was the fourth of eleven affordable and environmentally-friendly homes that have been designed and built by Tulane Architecture students in struggling neighborhoods throughout the Crescent City after Hurricane Katrina. The style, which she describes as "clean, seamless, and easy," was a refreshing change from the properties she had previously considered. She placed an offer before the house even hit the market. 

"I thought I was going to purchase an old shotgun, but I fell in love with the house. How could you not? She's amazing! She speaks for herself," Tami says with cheerful animation. Tami uses female pronouns when talking about her home. She explains,"My mom always named her cars when I was a kid, so I call my house Barbarella. She's sexy like the movie in the '60s."

Even though she fell hard for Barbarella, embracing a home with modern design elements was a challenge for Tami. "My core style isn't modern...I had to be cautious about how I would overlap and layer my more eclectic style within the space." Six years later, the happy, colorful, and bright home manages to feel peaceful and exuberant at the same time, much like Tami herself. Lime green and turquoise accents, colorful textiles and artwork, and an eclectic mix of decor, add a burst of personality and levity to the home's simple, streamlined design.  

Full Article HERE

ARCH 4252/6252

APFC-4320 /ATCS -6320 Course Information

In response to recent events in New Orleans, the URBANbuild design studio (ARCH 4042-02/ARCH 6042-02) concentrated on the development of single family house prototypes, and one was chosen for construction. Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans, a respected Community Development Corporation (CDC), has provided a site for the realization of students’ efforts. 

Metropolis Magazine Highlights Tulane School of Architecture's Social Innovation Agenda

A Decade after Katrina, Tulane Seeks to Expand Its Social Innovation Agenda

Tulane University’s URBANbuild program was founded in 2005, not long before Hurricane Katrina ravaged much of the surrounding area. And if its mission had been important before, it became even more pressing in the storm’s aftermath. 

URBANbuild, Tulane's School of Architecture’s design-build program, sets out to give students firsthand experience of the work that goes into building an energy-efficient home, combining academic with technical knowledge. Over the course of the semester students participate in every aspect of the building process, from researching and developing proposals to communicating with material providers and working directly with subcontractors. 

Following Hurricane Katrina, URBANbuild turned its focus toward designing for the immediate community as it dealt with the consequences of the natural disaster. “We had an opportunity and a responsibility to help the communities in a much greater way,” Byron Mouton, director of URBANbuild, says. “Helping people who decided to return to understand that they had access to greater options.” Since its inception, the program has spearheaded the design and execution of 10 projects, including affordable housing in underserved areas and even a pop-up community market—all have had a small-scale but deeply-felt impact on the urban fabric of New Orleans.

Now, with the ten-year anniversary of Katrina, many are revisiting the extent of Katrina’s impact on the area and reassessing how the disaster has shaped how designers can deal with catastrophe and hardship on a broader scale. In these discussions, Tulane has stepped up to the plate once more, with its Tulane City Center projects (the community outreach arm of the Tulane School of Architecture) and its newly founded Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking....  Full Article HERE

 

Byron Mouton and URBANbuild featured in Washington Post Article

What happened when Brad Pitt and his architects came to rebuild New Orleans 

By Peter Whoriskey August 28
 
After Hurricane Katrina, movie star Brad Pitt descended on New Orleans to help rebuild the Lower Ninth, one of the city's hardest hit neighborhoods.
 
With him, came a retinue of star architects: Thom Mayne. Shigeru Ban. Frank Gehry. Among others. Each has won the Pritzker Prize, sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of Architecture.
 
Now, ten years after the storm, one might ask: What has all that talent achieved?
 
The answer, in the most basic sense, is that Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation has built more than 100 houses, all equipped with solar panels and other eco-friendly flourishes, for families who otherwise might not have been able to afford  a home. The group has plans to build at least 41 more, and in many blocks of the Lower Ninth, it is the only active builder.
 
But what the “starchitects” have achieved is considerably less. In fact, the vast majority of the homes built so far came from designs created by other, lesser-known architects that Pitt hired. In fact, none of those three most celebrated architects  - Mayne, Ban and Gehry - can claim to have built any more than one prototype home out of the scores that have been built.
 
What happened? With the Mayne and Ban efforts, at least,  the story is of the kind that gives contemporary architecture its aura of Alice-in-Wonderland elitism: the designs proved to be too clever to be built on a budget - that is, in reality. The two may be visionaries, but they appear to have fallen well short of what the Lower Ninth needed.
 
 
Construction costs in the Lower Ninth Ward, maybe even more than a typical location, is an important issue. It is a neighborhood of low- and moderate-income homeowners. Through special financing, the foundation seeks to ensure that homeowners don’t have to pay a mortgage above what their incomes can bear. The construction budget was $150,000. The visions of Ban and Mayne, apparently, couldn't fit within that critical constraint.
 
The home design by Thom Mayne’s firm, Morphosis, did perform a neat architectural trick: the home can float, if necessary, in the next flood. But that feat depended on some pricey building technology... Full Artcle Here

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