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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.


LOOP Pavillion Wins Merit Award at the Local AIA

Congratulations, to the Loop Team for winning the Merit Award from the AIA New Orleans! The jury had great things to say about the creative use of materials and detailing. Comments on the project both from the jury and the audience were extremely complimentary.


LOOP Pavilion, Tulane City Center Merit Award, AIA New Orleans 2014, Devine Detail Category

AIA New Orleans Design Awards 2014 – Jury Comments
General  Comments:

  • General: It is obvious the work of architects in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans is making a significant contribution to the region. The entire community (architects and clients) should be applauded for the reconstruction effort across a broad range of building types.
  • It was wonderful to see so many post-Katrina reconstruction projects, both architectural and community focused. The rehabilitation of the existing built and social fabrics will be critical to preserving New Orleans’ unique character and personality. It is heartening to see that work underway with so many of these submittals.
  • Presentation/Process: In reviewing the award submissions as a whole, the general lack of diagrams and/or drawings made it harder to understand the design process.
  • Many of the submittals could have benefited from a better, more focused description of the intent of the project. Focus on the “why” instead of the “what” and drive it home using words, images and diagrams.
  • Descriptive Text: The descriptions and captions tended to focus more on describing the photographs rather than articulating a design concept or aspiration in the work. 

Students to begin work on Façade RENEW

Bayou Road

Earlier this year, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NORA announced the launch of Façade RENEW, a grant program aimed at revitalizing storefronts and building facades in four areas. Tulane City Center will offer property owners 30 hours of technical design support to help determine the best way to use these precious resources and to comply with historic regulations.

“We’ll meet with property owners to talk about what their hopes are,” says Dan Etheridge, assistant director of Tulane City Center. ”We want to provide help and incentive for them to run a small business. We want to work with the owners to restore original features of the building. It could be as simple as a paint job and new signage. It could involve removing vinyl siding and putting back the original wooden façade.”

The target neighborhoods are Bayou Road between North Broad Street and Esplanade Avenue; Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard between Calliope Street and Jackson Avenue; St. Claude Avenue between Mandeville Street and Franklin Avenue; and St. Claude Avenue between Congress Street and Poland Avenue.

Since the program was announced, NORA has conducted three information sessions. By all accounts, Etheridge says, the project should keep Tulane City Center faculty and students busy.

“The workshops were great and well attended,” Etheridge says. “The goal was to demystify the process and encourage people to apply.”

Façade RENEW will reimburse 75 percent of the total project costs, up to $50,000 per property, for improvements such as brick repointing, exterior lighting and renovation of covered entrances.

See original article in the New Wave.

Dan Etheridge and Emilie Taylor, TSA '06 of the Tulane City Center publish article in OZ

Dan Etheridge and Emilie Taylor (TSA '06) of the Tulane City Center publish article in OZ on the Tulane City Center You can download their article titled, "RADICAL INCREMENTALISM: An Open Letter in Defense of the Small" from the link above.

Mayor kicks off Facade Renew Project

The Tulane City Center has been working with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority to Launch a new program aimed at restoring/renewing facades along main commercial corridors in the city. The program was launched through a press conference with the Mayor and representatives from NORA and the TCC on Tuesday January 21. For more information here’s the news story from Robert McClendon of the Times Picayune: (for a link to the original story click here)

Business owners in some of New Orleans’ most historic, but also most blighted, commercial corridors may be able to give the properties a facelift, thanks to a new program announced Tuesday.

With the crumbling facades of Central City’s Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard as a backdrop, Mayor Mitch Landrieu touted the $1 million initiative as a another step toward the redevelopment of areas left out the city’s overall economic rise.

The strips eligible for the program include:

Bayou Road between Broad Street and Esplanade on the edge of Treme.
Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard from Calliope Street to Jackson Avenue in Central City.
St. Claude from Congress Street to Poland Street and Franklin Avenue to Mandeville.
Officials said that another “Place Making,” project, also financed at $1 million, will provide money to local Main Street organizations for beautification projects in those areas.

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, nominally an independent organization but functionally an arm of city government, will manage the programs. Funds for the initiatives come from revenue that the authority has amassed from the sale of properties that the state bought and transferred to the authority as part of the Road Home program.

Authority officials said that, to date, NORA has taken ownership of 5,100 properties, 2,650 of which have been sold. It maintains an inventory of about 2,450 properties.

Officials could not immediately say how much money the sale of those properties has brought in to date.

Each individual property owner who invests up to $50,000 in facade improvements will be eligible for up to $37,500 in reimbursement through the program, said Melissa Lee, a senior adviser with NORA. However, the business owners will have to front the money for the construction costs themselves or secure a private loan.

Jeff Hebert, NORA’s director, acknowledged that many property owners in the eligible corridors probably lack cash to pay the initial construction costs. “That’s where we are going to have to work with some partners in the private lending market,” he said. In addition to a private loan, Hebert said, the program is set up such that property owners can tackle projects in chunks to minimize the amount of money they need up front.

Property owners will also be eligible for 30 hours of technical support from the Tulane City Center to help them ensure that their renovations comply with Historic Development rules. Tyler Gamble, a spokesman for Landrieu, said that the center will also work up preliminary designs.

Circle Foods celebrates its grand re-opening

Circle Food Store, a historic locally owned grocery in New Orleans’ 7th Ward has re-opened as the community’s beloved hub and fresh food market. Over the past four years a team of Tulane School of Architecture students and alumni have been involved in the store’s extensive comeback efforts.

First opened in 1938 as the city’s first African American owned grocery store, Hurricane Katrina caused significant flooding to the historic building. The Tulane City Center worked with store owner Dwayne Boudreaux  and the local community on a vision for bringing the store back. Over the fall of 2009 the TCC studio team led by Emilie Taylor (TSA ’06) produced a pre-design booklet which the store owner used as a tool to build support, awareness, and funding for the project. 

The 30,000 sf Circle Food Store was an 8 million dollar project for which Mr Boudreaux relied on Architect John Williams, the McDonnel Group as General Contractor, and the Berger Company, a real estate development firm. John Williams (TSA ’78) and his associate, project architect Joel Ross (TSA ’06) performed a full set of architectural services and worked to obtain federal landmark status for the building along with a number of state and federal tax credits.  Financing was assembled from a $2.2 million Historic Tax Credit, along with $2.2 million in New Market Tax equity, $1.7 million from First NBC Bank, a $1 million “PROP” loan from the Louisiana Office of Community Development, a $100,000 Economic Development Fund grant from the city, as well as a $1 million Fresh Food Retailer Initiative loan, of which $500,000 is forgivable.

The grand re-opening was celebrated in January of 2014 and featured hundreds of community members, a choir, marching band, and mayor Mitch Landrieu. Circle Food’s renovation includes the return of historic skylights which had been covered for decades but now allow natural light to flood the store aisles and new product additions such as Circle Food Store Hot Sauces and Coffee.  66 local jobs have been created with the re-opening.

At the opening event Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, “When I was growing up, the Circle Food Store wasn’t just a grocery store, it was the center of this community. We’ve been anxiously waiting for it to reopen, and I’m excited the day is finally here. The bell peppers are back, and I can’t wait to see the Easter candy display in a few months!”

Dan Etheridge, Professor and Associate Director of Tulane City Center and his new eatery, Pagoda Cafe, is featured in The New Orleans Advocate.

Ian McNulty: Multiplying eateries keep the options coming

By: ian mcnulty of the New Orleans Advocate 

As the restaurant boom has rolled on, buildings of all description have been converted into new eateries and the dining concepts have grown ever more particular and specific. But even after all we’ve seen lately, two very new, casual additions have managed to turn heads right out of the gate.

One is Pagoda Café (1403 N. Dorgenois St., 504-644-4178;, which opened last week in a tiny building along Bayou Road that does indeed look like a pagoda. It was originally built in the 1930s as part of a string of Chinese laundries, though it had sat empty for years as a neglected, idiosyncratic outpost in the Seventh Ward before Tulane University architecture professor Dan Etheridge and business partner Shana Sassoon redeveloped it. They serve a short menu of breakfast tacos, salads and grilled sandwiches (one with Serrano ham, manchego and arugula pesto on Bellegarde Bakery ciabatta hit the spot), and the café doubles as an espresso bar.

The building is scarcely bigger than a food truck, and the open kitchen takes up practically the entire space. Seating is outside on a wrap-around deck and across a narrow yard. It all looks like something you’d find on a beach instead of Bayou Road, and during its first week in business it’s inspired frequent double-takes from passersby. Pagoda Café is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., though hours may expand.

Meanwhile, District Donuts Sliders Brew (2209 Magazine St., 504-570-6945; opened Uptown this month with a menu focused almost exclusively on the three items spelled out in its name.

Brew in this case is coffee, including cold-brew coffee on tap (a new trend in specialty coffee circles). Peer over the long bar counter and you’ll see mini-burgers sizzling for sliders (there are fried chicken and vegetable versions too). In back, you can also watch pastry chefs making gourmet donuts, the most elaborate of which resemble plated restaurant desserts more than any old donut shop dozen. One has candied thyme set in a maple and Sriracha hot sauce glaze, for instance. Another has spiced almonds, goat cheese and poached pears.

District has turned a one-time clothing boutique into what looks like a post-modern diner, with battered pianos, vintage office equipment and a collage of repurposed lumber all worked into the décor. Hours start early (6 a.m. daily) and run late (midnight on Friday and Saturday, 10 p.m. otherwise).

Tulane City Center LOOP Project Update

TSA community,

This semester the Tulane City Center has partnered with LOOP (the Louisiana Outdoors Outreach Program) to work on a pavilion/activity space on City Park's Scout Island. Our team broke ground on the structure last week, and we aim to be done by the end of the semester.
Attached is a quick update sheet with more information and images, and we'll send out more updates as the build progresses!

The studio participants are:
Dan Akerley, Madison Baker, Casey Bemis, Jose Cotto, John Coyle, Rachel Conques, Michelle Carroll, Maggie Easley, Ellen Hearle, Emma Jasinski, Kate Luxner, Sarah Satterlee, Meredith Zelenka
Lead by: Sam Richards, and Emilie Taylor

Our Community Partner's Website:


Emilie Taylor

design build manager
tulane city center

Next City Magazine Highlights TCC Magellan Project

Fighting Floodwater to Grow a Garden — and a Healthy New Orleans



The Magellan Street Garden, in the Algiers section of New Orleans, was trying to grow. But this plot of community land, tended by a retired electrician and veteran named Tony Lee, had a problem all too common in this water-drenched city. “I knew I needed some help,” Lee said. “Every time it rained, it flooded.”

Lee and his helpers, working within the framework of the Parkway Partners community garden group, had done what they could with the site, making raised beds with cinderblocks and planting carefully tended rows of okra, melons and arugula. They dug a trench 150 feet long, six feet wide and between one and two feet deep to try to channel the flooding. But the swampy ground running along one edge of the space remained unusable. “The rain would fill that up in no time,” Lee said.

Lee started the garden around the corner from his house because he has seen the power of community gardens to contribute to the health and well-being of people of all ages. He and his late wife, Lanette Williams Lee, had been active in Algiers for years. After Katrina struck in 2006 and the city lost all of its major supermarkets, they began educating themselves about the importance of access to healthy food. “The more I learned about our food system here in America,” Lee said, “the more I wanted to get involved.”

After his wife passed away in 2009, Lee threw himself into community work and started developing the Magellan Street plot. It became a place where youth groups would come to learn about eating better and how the loss of small farms threatens food security. Lee has had some success selling microgreens and other produce to local restaurateurs, and wanted to expand his efforts. But the flooding remained an issue.

Then the folks from the Tulane City Center, a project of the Tulane School of Architecture, got involved. Working closely with Lee and other community members, a group of TCC students and faculty put together a plan for the garden that turned its abundance of water into an asset rather than a liability.

Over a 14-week period this spring, a 12-student team from TCC, led by faculty members Doug Harmon and Sam Richards, worked with volunteers to completely reinvent the site. After assessing the garden and the needs of those who use it, they designed a system of raised beds made with easily replicable materials, which could be tended by people sitting down. Lee hopes to bring veterans, some of whom find standing for long periods uncomfortable or impossible, to work here.

But the real star of Magellan is a shade structure that channels runoff into irrigation systems and a series of pools. The uppermost pool, near the comfortable shaded seating area, contains fish; the next is home to native water plants; and the lowest section is a small, manufactured wetland planted with native grasses and other water-loving vegetation. Underneath it all is a deep layer of rocks that allows the water to percolate slowly through without flooding.

When it rains, water spills off the roof into the first pool and then down into the others. “It’s so beautiful to watch,” Lee said. Ultimately, he would like to start an aquaponics program in the pools. But in the two months since volunteers completed work on the project, the water features have already provided a very real benefit: Turtles and frogs have moved in, hungry for mosquito larvae.

“I used to have to spray people down before they came into the garden,” Lee said. “I lit candles and torches.” Not anymore. The new residents have done away with the mosquito problem in an ecologically friendly way.

Lee said that all this gets incorporated into the message he gives the young people he brings through the garden: The vanishing wetlands of Louisiana are marvelous natural habitats that can provide benefits for the city of New Orleans, such as protection from storm surges. “I tell the youth,” he said. “It’s part of the lesson.”

Already, Magellan is a magnet for people from around the city and beyond. “I get a lot of community involvement in that site because it’s a beautiful site,” Lee said. The garden serves as a model for an idea being explored by Tulane City Center and others who care about water management in New Orleans: If enough rain gardens and other features are constructed in community plots and on private property around the city, the overall impact on runoff and flooding could really start to add up.

For Lee, the garden is a place to explore the “million ideas” he has about the environment, food security, health and economic development in his community. “I use my little garden as a platform to speak out,” he said. “My goal is not just to grow food, but to grow people.”


The Times-Picayune Highlights Tulane City Center's "Magellan Project"

Tony Lee, an electrician, had been a working man all his life. But after a serious injury left him unable to continue his job, the Marine veteran found himself in an unusual condition: idle.

"I was really taking it hard," Lee said.

As was her habit, his wife, Linette, provided some guidance, suggesting he get involved with the burgeoning organic gardening movement that had taken hold in New Orleans.

Through Parkway Partners and the Food and Farm Network, the couple in 2009 took the helm of an untended, overgrown community garden at 3320 Magellan St. in Algiers. With the help of volunteers, the Lees were able to get the 150-foot-by-60-foot space up and running.

But the low-lying garden would often flood after a heavy rain, so Linette reached out to Tulane City Center for help in redesigning the space. Students and professors with the university's School of Architecture answered the call.

A dozen students came in last spring and raised the garden, gave it a slope for drainage and built a drainage canal. They also constructed a shade pavilion with a sophisticated roof structure that was the tip of the spear in the fight against Magellan's drainage problem.

The shape of the roof redirects rainwater into the garden's corners and into a raised, lined water garden, where plants like watercress or water spinach can be grown or fish can be kept for mosquito control.

Runoff from the water garden also is directed to a lower garden, and then into a wetlands section -- previously a troublesome 10-foot indentation -- for the growth of wetlands plants and for teaching about coastal erosion.

"We wanted to try to capitalize on that existing depression and make it a useful part of the garden," said Doug Harmon, an adjunct professor of architecture at Tulane who, with his colleague Sam Richards, oversaw the project.

The students also tackled the construction of a front and side fence, a tool storage shed and an educational wetlands area.

All the while, they were meeting constantly with Lee, and the project proved to be beneficial both to the garden and its volunteer head gardener.

In November, Linette passed away, just two months after earning her masters' degree in social work.

"Tulane City Center and the Tulane School of Architecture, they were so positive and great for me," Lee said. "It really helped me through a very, very tough time.

"I ain't gonna say (the garden) saved my life," he said, "but it came close to it. It gave me a focus; it gave me an outlet."

"Tony really just demonstrated a seriousness, a commitment to this work," Harmon said. "He's someone we want to support as much as possible."

One of Magellan's most noticeable new features are the raised beds. Constructed by the students, the beds make it possible for those with physical limitations to still enjoy working in the garden.

"At one point, Tony had mentioned wanting to be able to use the garden for rehabilitation for returning vets," Harmon said. "Whether it was physical or emotional disabilities, gardening could be an incredible asset for that type of work."

Harmon pointed to many other benefits of community gardens. "First of all, you know where your food comes from," he said. "You can kind of verify the quality and the nutritional benefits of your own food. There's also a lot to be said about being able to reconnect back to some of the agricultural and culinary traditions of our city, which I think have been lost in the last generation."

Work on Magellan wrapped up this summer, and when the weather cools down a bit, Lee has big plans.

From the beginning, he viewed the garden as a teaching tool, and, in a sense, a place to atone for how his generation has shaped the way we eat today.

"My generation, the baby boomers, we did such wonderful work," Lee said, but in some ways, "we were woefully misguided, like replacing home-cooked meals at the table with fast food."

Lee plans to hold cooking and nutrition classes at the garden, and he talks to neighborhood kids who volunteer there about career opportunities.

"Just because we talk about farming and growing doesn't mean you have to get behind a plow," Lee said, "and that's what a lot of youth are thinking. They only focus on the manual labor.

"There are so many different components in growing food," he said. "The chemistry of it, the pest control, the weed control, land management, water management, the equipment that you use to farm, ­ there are so many jobs and so many ways that you can find work."

Architecture students target mental health with 1 in Six campaign

By: Barri Bronston

When a group of Tulane University architecture students began working on a design project at Pyramid Resource Wellness Center, a mental health treatment facility in Mid-City, it didn’t take them long to discover the state of mental health in New Orleans.

“One in six New Orleans residents suffers from a mental illness,” says graduate student Jose Cotto, citing a 2010 study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. “But considering the number of folks that need help, there is little in the way of education.”

As part of Tulane City Center, an outreach and applied urban research program of the Tulane School of Architecture, students redesigned Pyramid’s outdoor dining and group therapy area, then took their work to another level.

With guidance from faculty adviser Emilie Taylor, Cotto along with graduate students Emily Green, Alison Rodberg and Baha Javarhdi used their design and graphic skills to create a mental health awareness campaign called s1x (1 in Six).

The team produced and distributed magnets, stickers, posters and cards listing services where residents can turn to for help with substance abuse, thoughts of suicide and other mental illnesses.  Coffee shops, homeless shelters and corner stores welcomed the materials.

“If you or a loved one is affected by mental illness,” the material states, “you are not alone.” It says that in 2010, 16 percent of Orleans Parish residents, or 1 in 6, had been told by a doctor they have a serious mental illness, three times the rate of 2006.

Cotto says that it was through their work with Pyramid that he and his classmates realized how dire the problem is.  “We wanted to do a graphic awareness campaign that would engage the city of New Orleans in the conversation about mental wellness. You have to be creative in applying your skills and knowledge to meaningful work.”