New home for graduate students at TuSA

Graduate students studying architecturereal estate, and historic preservationat Tulane School of Architecture (TuSA) will soon have a new space to call home in the vibrant Central Business District of New Orleans.

The school is taking over 25,000 square feet of classrooms, studios, offices, and meeting space on the fourth and second floors of NOCHI (also home of the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute), located at 725 Howard Avenue, along Harmony Circle near the Pontchartrain Expressway.

"We are excited to welcome everyone to the NOCHI building as the latest addition to TuSA’s facilities and the new home of our graduate school."

-Iñaki Alday, dean of the Tulane School of Architecture

"The space has great flexibility and enables us to enhance our students’ experience and foster collaboration between programs," programs," said Iñaki Alday, Dean and Koch Chair in Architecture at TuSA. "We are also now next to the Ogden Museum of Art, on the St. Charles public transportation corridor, and within walking distance to numerous historic and modern architectural landmarks."

This fall, students in the Master of Science in Historic Preservation program set up a studio and began holding classes in the space. By Spring 2023, the school anticipates that most TuSA graduate students will be located in the building, as well.

The school’s move to NOCHI is a perfect match, highlighting the importance of architecture, historic preservation and real estate development in supporting the local culinary, hospitality and tourism industries. In New Orleans, these industries rely extensively upon preserving the unique environmental and architectural character of the region, along with growing the local economy through sustainable development practices.

Throughout their coursework at the school, students learn to address the spatial and programmatic needs of different building types integral to the hospitality industries, such as museums, restaurants, and public gathering spaces. Students work on numerous local historic building and landmark projects and study development models to foster sustainable communities that support tourism.

Previously, the school was housed solely in the historic Richardson Memorial Hall on Tulane’s uptown campus. Richardson Memorial Hall is currently undergoing a comprehensive renovation, and classes have been relocated to buildings on campus and in temporary pavilions on the Newcomb Quad, the capacity of which has not been enough for the exceptionally fast growth of the school. Recently the opportunity arose to sub-lease the NOCHI space from Tulane’s A.B. Freeman Business School, which started using the space in 2019, and Dean Alday seized the opportunity to expand into downtown.

"Our school is undergoing a massive transformation," Alday said. "Not only is our school’s home undergoing an incredible renovation, we are also growing our programs and numbers of students and faculty. The additional space at NOCHI will help us train future professionals to transform the world through the practices of architecture, urbanism, and preservation."

The NOCHI building was originally designed by Ron Filson, former School of Architecture dean, to be a new art studio. Later when NOCHI occupied the building, the well-regarded firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple redesigned it as a mixed-use space for education.

The two floors of NOCHI that will house the Tulane School of Architecture graduate programs have four state-of-the-art classrooms — including two tiered classrooms and two flat classrooms — with a combined seating capacity of more than 200 students. It will perform as a co-working hub with breakout spaces, two conference rooms, 25 spaces for group work and offices, along with lounge and reception areas. The facility has Tulane ID-controlled entry and is accessible to faculty and students after hours and on weekends.

The School of Architecture also has access to rent several NOCHI-run spaces, including the Dining Lab, a 70-seat café and dining room; McIlhenny Hall, a large meeting space and banquet room; and the Founders’ Terrace and Tabasco Terrace, two landscaped open-air balconies for receptions and special events that offer views of downtown New Orleans.