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Organic modernist: Architect Albert Ledner

For over six decades, Albert Charles Ledner (A ’48) has practiced architecture in New Orleans. This past year, his extensive career and life became the subject of a documentary filmed by his daughter, Catherine Ledner, and her cousin, Roy Beeson.

Set for release next year, the documentary highlights some of Ledner’s best-known buildings in New Orleans and New York. Through interviews, commentary and behind-the-scenes tours of the buildings given by Ledner himself, Catherine Ledner said, “We want to expose people to Dad’s work and his philosophy of life.”

Having graduated from the School of Architecture, Ledner is notable for being one of the earliest proponents of organic modernism in New Orleans. He spent time learning the style from Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin before beginning his own practice in 1949.

Beginning his career by designing homes for New Orleanians, Ledner often experimented with unusual structural forms while catering to each client’s interests. (He famously used Cointreau bottles as decorative elements for a cocktail enthusiast on Park Island in New Orleans.)

In the 1960s and ’70s, Ledner acted as the architect for the National Maritime Union, designing hiring halls across the country and the union’s headquarters in New York City. During that same time, he taught at the Tulane School of Architecture.

Ledner has designed over 100 buildings throughout his career, and in 2009, he won the AIA Medal of Honor from the Louisiana Chapter recognizing his lifetime of contributions.

The idea for the documentary hatched in 2010 when Beeson met Albert Ledner for the first time. Both filmmakers, for whom the project is deeply personal, hope to reach a wide audience and shed light on Ledner’s unique and prolific career. Filming continues through the summer.

For his part, Albert Ledner, now 92, is “thrilled and very happy” about being the subject of this upcoming documentary.

(Photo by Catherine Ledner)

ARE 5.0 Handbook

To help you start preparing for the November 1 launch of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) 5.0, we’ve developed a new resource: the ARE 5.0 Handbook! The document provides in-depth information about the structure of each division, explains the objectives you will be assessed on, and provides references to additional resources.

NOLA Homes and Lifestlyes magazine puts Julie Babin, TSA 06, AIA on their local design masters list

Master of Architecture

Julie Babin, AIA


New Orleans first made its way into Julie Babin’s life as a college destination. The Philadelphia native, who planned to attend a university in the northeast, visited Tulane and fell in love. “I thought it was fabulous down here,” says Babin. “It was so different than anything I had experienced growing up.” Babin’s accomplishments at Tulane, where she earned her Master of Architecture, including The John W. Lawrence Travel Research Fellowship and the John W. Lawrence Memorial Medal for Design Excellence. When Hurricane Katrina halted her thesis, she temporarily attended a satellite program in Arizona and then returned to New Orleans. “I felt I needed to stay and help rebuild the city I’d grown to love,” she says. Since 2006, she has been with studioWTA, a full-service design firm with an emphasis on creating buildings that are regionally responsive and sustainable. Her projects run the gamut from single-family homes to universities.  She’s currently working on the renovation of a downtown building that has the distinction of being the birthplace of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, as well as a renovation and new addition to a 115-year old building on Tulane’s campus. Earlier this year, she and fellow female coworker, Tracie Ashe, were honored to become partners with studioWTA’s founding architect, Wayne Troyer. “The profession has historically been male-dominated, but it’s changing,” says Babin. 

Jenga Mwendo MSRED '16 featured in Garden and Gun

Meet the planters, designers, preservationists, and community leaders nurturing the landscape of the South

Helping Hand
Jenga Mwendo

...Some things even hurricanes and broken levees can’t wash away. When Jenga Mwendo left her job in computer animation in New York to return to her home in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward two years after Katrina, she found a community still floundering in the flood’s aftermath. Helping from literally the roots up, she organized green-thumbed neighbors into the Backyard Gardeners Network and established community gardens that today sprout tomatoes, squash, okra, and a bumper crop of educational programs for families and kids. “The Lower Nine has a strong cultural tradition of growing its own food,” Mwendo says. “One practical reason for promoting self-reliance is to keep us in the mind-set that we can take care of ourselves should disaster strike again.” —

Full Article HERE

Produce-growing pioneer Jenga Mwendo, in the Guerrilla Garden in New Orleans‘ Lower Ninth Ward. (Photo by Rush Jagoe)

Dean Peter MacKeith of Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design on the passing of C. Murray Smart Jr. (TSA '56)

I write today with the sad news of the passing of one of the school’s great educators and academic leaders, University Professor Emeritus C. Murray Smart Jr.

Murray passed away last night here in Fayetteville in the company of his wife, Carolyn, and his family, following a long period of illness.

As many will know, Murray served as dean of the Fay Jones School for 15 years, the longest tenure held by a dean of the school. This year marked the 50th year of his association with the school and the University of Arkansas.

He was beloved and respected by his students, by his faculty colleagues and by so many across the university campus, Fayetteville, the state and the country.

A more detailed announcement will be forthcoming.

We extend our sympathies and condolences to the Smart family, and we trust that those of you who knew Murray well will be moved to do the same.

With gratitude to you all for the sense of community from which the school benefits, and with the deepest respect to Murray Smart. 

For your reference now, we featured Murray in the 2013 issue of ReView magazine, when the lobby of our renovated Vol Walker Hall was named in his honor. You can read that story here on our website.


Peter MacKeith
Dean and Professor of Architecture
Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design
University of Arkansas
120 Vol Walker Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701


Felipe Correa, TSA '00 co-edits Lateral Exchanges: Architecture, Urban Development, and Transnational Practices


Lateral Exchanges: Architecture, Urban Development, and Transnational Practices

Edited by Felipe Correa and Bruno Carvalho

Lateral Exchanges is a new series devoted to architecture and urbanism in the context of international development and globalization. Publishing research on historical and contemporary issues in design and the built environment, unrestricted by geographic focus, the series will cover several interrelated fields, including architecture, cultural studies, environmental humanities, history, landscape architecture, media and visual studies, urban planning, and urban studies. 

Above all, the series will address three related questions. First, what role do architects and architecture play in historical and international development? Second, why and how have architectural and urban-planning models circulated, as concepts or realized constructions, across continents, marketplaces, and languages? Third, how have these fields’ concepts and techniques instigated cultural and intellectual exchanges beyond disciplinary boundaries and particular locales, and how should we historicize and theorize these exchanges,particularly in the context of persistent global asymmetries?

In these and other ways, Lateral Exchanges will examine the rich intellectual, social, and technical contributions that architects and architecture have made to an increasingly globalized world.

Tulane School of Architecture 2016 Newsletter

Ella Camburnbeck TSA '12 Named Executive Director at Felicity Redevelopment

Ella received a Bachelor's degree in Urban Design and Environmental Planning from The University of Virginia and a Masters degree in Historic Preservation from Tulane University. She was formerly the House Director of the Beauregard-Keyes House and Garden Museum, and proudly joined as the Executive Director of Felicity Redevelopment, Inc. in July of 2016.

10 Years/10 Stories: Architecture of Recovery

10 Years/10 Stories: Architecture of Recovery examines the role of architects in post-hurricane Katrina recovery. The exhibit included forward looking elements such as an interactive component and panel discussion on the future of resilient architecture in New Orleans. 

The theme of the EP Exhibit 2016 is It Takes a Community. Selected projects showcase the best work from young designers highlighting community impact and engagement.

Download full project>

On August 29, 2005, New Orleans was changed forever by Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the levees. To commemorate the tenth anniversary, a group of Emerging Professionals in AIA New Orleans developed an ambitious project exploring the role that architects played in the city’s recovery. The project took two formats: a retrospective exhibit entitled “10 Years/10 Stories: Architecture of Recovery,” and a forward looking panel discussion entitled “The Next 10 Years.”

The exhibit examined the question: What roles did architects play over the last ten years? Through community planning, civic engagement, leadership, activism, and design, architects in New Orleans shaped the city’s rebuilding process. Stories told in the exhibit highlight significant work, contributions, and successes, as well as missed opportunities. The exhibit also looks ahead to the future of the city, framing issues for the future of architecture as a profession and community.

Curating these stories began with a process of inviting members in the local architectural community to share personal experiences and recommend projects via distributed postcards or through the project’s website, The exhibit team combed through the submissions and worked for months to gather information, research projects, and interview individuals about their specific contributions.

For participation and feedback the project team engaged practitioners ranging from firm principals to recent graduates; from city department heads to leaders of nonprofit organizations. This participatory approach resulted in a collective memory woven through stories that showcased the dynamism of architectural practice in post Katrina New Orleans.

As research continued, broad, interconnected themes emerged and were organized into the “10 Stories”: Community, Culture, Design Awareness, Environment, Equality, Finance, Growth, Policy, Resiliency, and What’s Next. The physical exhibit, located in AIA New Orleans’ Center for Design, featured ten freestanding triangular pillars, each with a collection of projects, quotations, narratives, and graphics that tell a holistic “story.” On a long wall with large storefront windows, a fourteen foot tall “floodwall” displayed the incremental depth of water that inundated neighborhoods across the city, allowing visitors to directly understand the flooding. Key projects were shown in their respective flood depths to highlight each neighborhood’s recovery.

An interactive component of the exhibit asked the question, “What’s Next for New Orleans?” and invited visitors to write their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions. This feature, spanning an entire wall of exhibit space, was quickly filled with responses ranging from affordable housing to public art to design education. The topics that emerged from the wall helped generate questions for the second part of the project, a panel discussion entitled “The Next 10 Years.”

The panel discussion explored the possible roles that architects can play over the next decade. Panelists, all local experts in design fields, forecast the challenges and opportunities facing the profession. The discussion centered on the contributions of architecture across the urban fabric of the city, community engagement as integral to practice, the call to make the profession more socially inclusive, and the desire to incorporate social and environmental commitments into practice.


Tualne School of Architecture Alumni featured in exhibit:

Jose Alvarez, AIA, A’97
Mary Bullock, Assoc AIA, A’14
Mary Gilmore, AIA, A’16
Miriam Salas, AIA, A’97
Jordan Stewart, A’99

Design Intelligence Survey

Dear Tulane School of Architecture Alumni and Friends,

The architecture programs of the Tulane School of Architecture have a long and distinguished national reputation for delivering a preeminent education in the field at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Design Intelligence tracks the quality of design education nationally by asking for your professional opinion as to which schools best prepare students. Please take 5 minutes to fill out this year’s DesignIntelligence survey and support our national ranking. The survey ends Friday, June 10

Now that we have converted our five year program back to a B.Arch. degree, Design Intelligence lists Tulane as an option in the ranking of undergraduate architecture programs. Our graduate M.Arch.I program was ranked #22 last year, in part because of the support of our alumni and friends. We hope to maintain that ranking or improve upon it this year, and for our undergraduate B.Arch. program to be ranked as well.

How you can help:

Spread the news and send this link to anyone you think should provide their input. The rankings matter for many reasons.

Best wishes,

Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA
Favrot Professor and Dean