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Students can get a jumpstart with Summer 2020 Courses. Offerings include design, architecture, photography, drawing, making, design thinking, historic preservation, real estate, and social innovation and social entrepreneurship. View the Tulane School of Architecture Summer 2020 Course Offerings.

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


Summer fellows wade through regional water issues

Water is a defining feature of life in south Louisiana, presenting both urgent threats and unique opportunities.

This summer, five Tulane School of Architecture students explored how communities are shaped by water during the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design’s 2018 Public Interest Design Fellowship.

Fellows spent eight weeks dissecting what it means to live with water, adapt to an uncertain future and work together with a focus on balancing water’s positive and negative traits.

Their efforts centered on two project areas – graphic advocacy and tactical urbanism.

To understand water management on a local level, fellows met with numerous water-related nonprofits, government agencies, NGO’s and collaboratives working in education, infrastructure and environmental protection.

Finding this network of organizations to be extremely complex, the group took on a project to breakdown the “Who, What and Why” of water management in New Orleans. The resulting index of players will serve as the base for a future New Orleans water management web piece graphic advocacy piece.

Expanding their research further, the fellows visited 24 sites across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

“It's one thing to read about or look at pictures of these places, but to get to walk around and see the physical impact of a policy or project adds a completely new level of understanding to these complex issues,” said Dana Elliot, a fellow and graduate architecture student.

Back in the studio, the fellows explored tactical urbanism, the process of using temporary, low-cost and scalable projects to test street design changes (Tactical Urbanist’s Guide).

In partnership with Bike Easy NOLA and the Urban Conservancy, the students designed a demonstration rain garden as part of a pop-up installation to slow traffic at the intersection of Mirabeau and Elysian Fields avenues. Their garden site proposal integrated a bike lane and coordinated with new road paint at cross walks to promote traffic safety, green infrastructure and urban place-making.

Small Center staff Sue Mobley and Rashidah Williams, and School of Architecture professor Marianne Desmarais guided the fellowship. The work was made possible through support from Morris Adjmi and Associates, the Sizeler Family and Eskew+Dumez+ Ripple.

Architecture students build outdoor gathering space for community bike shop

Small Center spring 2018 design/build project at RUBARB

Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano

After hammering, welding and painting through much of the semester, 13 Tulane architecture students have a new appreciation for collaboration, community engagement and the power of elbow grease.

The students were tasked with designing and building a shaded outdoor space for the RUBARB (Rusted Up Beyond All Recognition Bikes) bike repair shop as part of a studio course through the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, the community design center of the Tulane School of Architecture.

The new exterior upgrades, including a bicycle-inspired canopy, rain catchment, benches and bike racks, expand RUBARB’s “Chill Zone,” an area for neighborhood youth to hang out, play games, read and eat healthy snacks.

“Besides being a bike shop that focuses on repairing and building bikes, RUBARB is also a community space,” said longtime RUBARB volunteer Liz Lichtman. “The new shade structure and benches will provide a place for hanging out to happen, even when we are closed.”

Led by Emilie Taylor Welty, Small Center design/build manager, students began the project by volunteering at RUBARB to better understand operations, needs and stakeholders. Throughout the semester, a series of design feedback sessions with area neighbors, local youth and RUBARB volunteers influenced everything from bench heights to materials selection.

“More than anything, the lesson I hope the students walk away with is that design is a messy, layered, collaborative process that involves lots of creative problem-solving and hard work,” said Taylor Welty. “And when done well, it's fun and has positive impacts for us all.”

Undergraduate architecture student Sarah Rivard echoed her professor’s sentiment. “It’s rewarding taking a project from conception all the way through, enduring all the struggles along the way and learning so much from each challenge.”

Tulane School of Architecture projects win AIA New Orleans 2018 Design Awards

Three Tulane University School of Architecture projects, by the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design and URBANbuild program, were recognized Thursday at the AIA New Orleans 2018 Design Awards.

The Ozanam Inn Day Space and Big Class Writers’ Room, both Small Center design/build studio projects, were awarded the Divine Detail Award of Merit and Interior Architecture Award of Merit respectively. URBANbuild 12 received the Residential Honor Award.

The awards jury, led by Frank Harmon, FAIA, noted cohort of 19 winning projects as “refreshing and free of current clichés and mannerisms because they are rooted in the culture of their place.”

Click below to read more about each project.

Divine Detail Award of Merit: Ozanam Inn Day Space – Small Center

Interior Architecture Award of Merit: Big Class Writers' Room - Small Center

Residential Honor Award: URBANbuild 12

Small Center opens 2018 Request for Proposals

The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design is inviting proposals from New Orleans based nonprofit and community organizations for pro bono design and planning services. Proposals must be for a specific project, and the project must address a stated need that exists in the New Orleans area.

Learn more about the requirements and application process here. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on May 1, 2018.

Ann Yoachim named Small Center director

The Tulane School of Architecture has named Ann Yoachim as director of the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design. Yoachim, currently director of civic engagement and a clinical professor at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, will take over the position from Small Center Interim Director Emilie Taylor Welty on April 15.

Yoachim has more than 15 years of experience building partnerships across campus-community boundaries to empower communities and support meaningful change. As an educator, scholar and administrator, she is focused on facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and shaping built, natural and social environments that impact health and wellness. Much of her work falls at the intersection of design, equity and ecology.

“Ann is uniquely positioned to move into this key leadership role,” said Tulane School of Architecture Dean Kenneth Schwartz. “Her experience, talent and outlook complement the designers and professionals who staff the Small Center, and she has a proven track record of teaching and collaborating with diverse community members.”

In her new role, Yoachim will oversee programs and projects, execute strategic initiatives and nurture key relationships. She will also serve as a professor of practice in the school of architecture.

“We are excited to have Ann leading our collaborative team of designers, makers and doers,” said Taylor Welty. “She brings a range of interdisciplinary experience and networks which will expand the capabilities of the Small Center and build on our existing strengths.”

Yoachim holds a Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and political science from Dickinson College. From 2012-13, she was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

She has stayed connected to Tulane throughout her career, working at the Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy and the Center for Bioenvironmental Research. She also taught in visiting or adjunct roles for the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking, the Payson Center for International Development, the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to lead the Small Center and rejoin Tulane,” said Yoachim. “The center’s commitment to facilitating community-driven design and training the next generation of reflective practitioners has played a vital role in supporting communities in New Orleans for over a decade. I am excited to build on this legacy, develop new partnerships and leverage expertise from across the university to remain a leader in public interest design and empower communities to confront complex social and ecological challenges.”

Exhibit maps 150 years of activism in New Orleans

Visitors to the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, the community design center of the Tulane School of Architecture, are greeted by wall-size maps dotted with pins and tags. The display is part of the Small Center’s current exhibit, Sites of Resistance, which chronicles social justice demonstrations and movements in New Orleans from 1863 to today.

The maps pinpoint the location of more than 300 rallies, demonstrations and marches across the city. Areas with large groupings of events indicate important locations of historical organizing. Some, like City Hall are expected, while others have a more forgotten role.

The exhibit also offers profiles of notable activism efforts from the past 150 years. From an attempt to integrate New Orleans’ public schools in the 1800s to an 1892 strike of more than 25,000 union workers pushing for better working conditions, the stories elevate often overlooked moments in the city’s history.

Sue Mobley, Small Center public programs manager and curator of the exhibit, combed historic books, newspapers, and magazines to compile records of economic, racial and gender conflicts. Her goal for the display was to inform and encourage visitors.

“I hope people come away with inspiration for the next stage of whatever struggles they are engaging in and with better understanding of what others accomplished historically, under often stark circumstances,” said Mobley.

Sites of Resistance is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m at the Small Center, 1725 Baronne St. The exhibit is made possible by support from the Surdna Foundation.

Faculty member honored for service learning commitment

Photo by Gigsy.

Photo: Gigsy (courtesy Tulane Center for Public Service)

In recognition of her work bridging the classroom-community divide, Tulane University School of Architecture faculty member Emilie Taylor Welty received the Barbara E. Moely Service Learning Teaching Award from the Tulane Center for Public Service (CPS) on Dec. 6.

The award is presented annually to a professor who integrates community partnerships into classroom learning and enhances higher education’s contributions to the public good.

Taylor (TSA ‘06) is a professor of practice and design/build manager at the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design. At the Small Center, she guides projects and community partnerships that provide opportunities for students and faculty to engage issues in the community through design.

“I am honored to receive this award from the CPS team and see it as recognition of the work so many of Small Center staff, students and partner organizations have achieved together,” said Taylor. “I’m fortunate to work with teams of collaborative and dedicated folks as we work towards a better city.”

Taylor is the second School of Architecture professor to receive the honor. For more information on the Center for Public Service at Tulane University, visit

Housing analysis looks at affordable options for Tremé

Photo by Ryan Rivet.

A neighborhood analysis of housing and health-related issues by Tulane University School of Architecture students and staff at the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design will be used to analyze housing strategies and understand the impacts of potential regulatory changes in Tremé.

Led by Small Center project manager Nick Jenisch, the team used door-to-door surveys, regulatory research and layered mapping to collect and analyze data on access to affordable housing and resources that support public health, including use of parks, public spaces and healthcare facilities. Qualitative surveying was integrated to understand challenges residents face in using local facilities.

“Resident perceptions are what give insight into true accessibility, not just looking at a map to determine whether someone should be able to walk to a certain park,” said Jenisch.

Building on the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance’s finding of the need for more than 33,000 affordable housing units by 2025, the Small Center’s Tremé research examines how this citywide issue could be addressed on a neighborhood level.

“We wanted to see what that would look like within a neighborhood, including new houses on vacant lots, how zoning could accommodate increased density around transit stops, and also how to represent density in a way that is contextually and historically appropriate,” said Jenisch.

The project was conducted in partnership with the Greater Tremé Consortium, a community organization working to preserve neighborhood culture. Findings will inform the consortium’s future advocacy efforts and serve as a model for neighborhood analysis in New Orleans and beyond.

Small Center projects are selected by jury from a yearly request for proposals from community groups and are executed in partnership with the selected organizations and their stakeholders. This project built on previous work with GNOHA and the Small Center’s ongoing relationship with the Greater Tremé Consortium and was made possible by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Tulane University Partnership for Healthcare Innovation.

Small Center welcomes new assistant director

The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design recently welcomed Rashidah Williams as assistant director.

An architect, urban planner, and graphic designer, Williams comes to Small Center with a keen sense of how design can serve as a catalyst for systemic change in the built environment. As the owner and principal of the graphic design firm, Rashidah Williams Design LLC, she brings cross-disciplinary experience in leading community engaged projects for nonprofits, local government and private companies.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Williams has always been passionate about the transformation of underserved communities and the evolution of their residents. A graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School, Williams holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Howard University and a Master of Urban Planning degree from the University of Miami. As a community advocate, she has served on the boards of the Urban Conservancy and the Community Engagement Team for the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance.

In her role as assistant director, Williams will oversee staff in the daily operations of Small Center, including identifying and pursuing funding, managing all active budgets, grantwriting, and maintaining donor and foundation relationships with local and national funders.

Summer Public Interest Design fellows tackle storm water management, housing density and clean energy

Small Center fellows constructing a solar bench.

Photo: Small Center fellows and members of Groundwork New Orleans’ Green Team construct a solar bench prototype.

This summer, six Tulane School of Architecture students – Ana Sandoval Aguilar (TSA ’19), Kekeli Dawes (TSA ’18), Carolyn Isaacson (TSA ’18), Christie Melgar (TSA ’18), Ryan Shabaan (TSA ’20), and Kelsey Willis (TSA ’19) – engaged in an 8-week Public Interest Design Fellowship with the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design. The fellowship challenges students to hone their design skills while helping to advance real projects alongside leaders from organizations addressing the needs of New Orleans residents.

Fellows completed three projects in partnership with local community-based organizations.

Storm Water Management: Community-Based Planning and Design

Ripple Effect, an organization committed to improving water literacy, teamed up with the fellows in researching New Orleans storm water management systems and community engagement practices. Through a critique of present community engagement practices, case study research, visits to infrastructure and project sites, and meetings with stakeholders, the fellows built a base of knowledge to develop design proposals and case studies. Led by the co-director of Ripple Effect, Aron Chang, the team created an interactive storm water management game as a tool that can be replicated for similar issues across the city.

Groundwork New Orleans Solar-Charging Bench

Led by Small Center’s Interim Director, Emilie Taylor Welty, Small Center collaborated with Groundwork New Orleans’ Green Team members to design and build their first solar bench. Groundwork New Orleans was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency grant to construct three prototypical solar bench demonstration projects to help communities build resiliency through clean energy. The benches will provide an energy source for public transportation users to charge their phones, educate community members about clean energy, and provide power in case of emergency.

Healthy Tremé Housing Research

Fellows, led by Small Center’s Project Manager, Nick Jenisch, worked with the Greater Tremé Consortium, Inc. to identify health-related issues facing the community using physical mapping, regulatory research and neighborhood surveys. The project’s resulting playbook will serve neighborhood leaders as they advocate for change and serve as a model for neighborhood analysis across New Orleans and beyond.

The 2017 Summer Public Interest Design fellowship is made possible through the generous support of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Morris Adjmi and the Sizeler family.

In this upcoming school year, faculty and students at Small Center will work on collaborative design projects with Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, New Orleans City Park, and Mamou Fruit & Tea. Learn more about Small Center and recent projects at