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Tulane partners with city of New Orleans to help buildings save energy, money

Buildings in the United States consume approximately 40 percent of the country’s energy, and an average of 30 percent of energy in commercial buildings is wasted, according to the city of New Orleans’ Office of Resilience and Sustainability (ORS).

As part of a citywide effort to address this issue and reduce energy use, ORS partnered with the Tulane School of Architecture to present the Tulane Energy Benchmarking Symposium on Wednesday, March 14. The symposium was supported by the City Energy Project, a national initiative to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in 20 major American cities.

The daylong symposium for local commercial and multifamily building owners and managers highlighted best practices, tools and resources for energy benchmarking and increasing efficiency.

Energy benchmarking, the regular monitoring and measuring of a building’s energy and water use, revolves around the concept of “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

By tracking energy and water consumption, building managers can evaluate how a building performs over time as compared to similar structures. The data can also be used to spot problems with climate control or lighting systems and identify areas for improvement.

“Tulane has tracked the energy use of its properties for several years, and the School of Architecture’s Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development (MSRED) program incorporates specialized electives that emphasize the use of energy data to finance capital improvements,” said symposium coordinator and MSRED Director Casius Pealer. “Tulane graduates are well-suited to be a resource for the city of New Orleans and for individual commercial property owners as they seek to improve building performance while generating a return on investment.”

The event brought together experts from urban areas across the country to discuss how energy benchmarking activities and policies have supported cost savings, workforce development and economic activity in their cities.

MSRED graduate students were on hand to help attendees create accounts in Portfolio Manager, an online tool developed by the federal government to enable building owners to measure and track energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in commercial buildings. This platform is the basis for the city’s recently launched Downtown NOLA Energy Challenge, a competition to reduce energy usage among commercial buildings in downtown New Orleans.

Professor John Klingman’s annual “Best New Architecture” list

House by Studio WTA

Photo: Jeffery Johnston

Favrot Professor of Architecture John P. Klingman’s annual round up of New Orleans’ best new architecture projects was featured in the March issue of New Orleans Magazine.

Read the article here.

Congratulations to the Tulane School of Architecture alumni who contributed to the highlighted projects:

  • Jose Alvarez (A ‘97)
  • Robert Baddour (A ‘10)
  • Robert Boyd (A ‘91)
  • Ray Croft (A ‘14)
  • David Demsey (A ‘07)
  • Cynthia Dubberley (A ‘97)
  • Trenton Gauthier (A ‘14)
  • Lauren Hickman (A ‘06)
  • Patrick Horigan (A ‘05)
  • Ross Karsen (A ‘06)
  • Alissa Kingsley (A ‘11)
  • Emile Lejeune (A ‘13)
  • Noah Marble (A '05)
  • Daniel McDonald (A ‘13)
  • Byron Mouton (A ‘89)
  • Jessica O’Dell (A *14)
  • Steve Ritten (A ‘07)
  • Alex Sirko (A ‘94)
  • Wayne Troyer (A ‘83)
  • Seth Welty (A ‘08)

Tulane School of Architecture alumni and faculty elevated to American Institute of Architects College of Fellows

Four Tulane School of Architecture alumni and two faculty members are among the 152 American Institute of Architects members elevated to the organization's prestigious College of Fellows for 2018.

Fellowship is awarded to architects who have made significant contributions to the profession and society on a national level. The distinction is competitive, with only three percent of the AIA’s more than 91,000 members currently recognized as fellows.

Tulane School of Architecture community members in the 2018 cohort include:

  • Christopher Cooper FAIA (A '91)
  • J.R. Coleman Davis-Pagan FAIA (A ’75)
  • Clemens Schaub FAIA (A '76)
  • Wayne Troyer FAIA (A '83)
  • Lee Ledbetter FAIA, adjunct lecturer
  • Z. Smith FAIA, adjunct assistant professor
  • Donald Gatzke FAIA, former dean

For more information on the College of Fellows and to view a complete list of honorees, click here.

Professor Marianne Desmarais appointed Taylor Faculty Fellow

The Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking recently announced Tulane School of Architecture Professor of Practice Marianne Desmarais as a 2018 Taylor Faculty Fellow.

Faculty Fellows are Tulane professors who have developed a relationship with Taylor and expressed an interest in the center’s work. They represent a range of academic disciplines spanning the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences.

Read more on the appointment here.

Danielle Del Sol named director of Preservation Resource Center

Following a six-month national search, the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans has selected Danielle Del Sol to lead the historic preservation and economic development organization.

Del Sol is an alumna of the Tulane School of Architecture Master of Preservation Studies program and currently teaches as an adjunct lecturer.

Before her selection, Del Sol was editor of the PRC’s acclaimed and award-winning Preservation in Print magazine. She joined the publication as an intern in 2010 while pursuing her master’s degree at Tulane School of Architecture.

She assumes her new duties now as only the fourth executive director in the nonprofit’s 44-year history, succeeding Patricia Gay, who retired last summer after nearly four decades leading the organization.

PRC Board President Graham M. Ralston said the PRC’s reputation attracted the interest of many strong candidates nationally, but “Del Sol’s ‘vision and passion’ for both the PRC and New Orleans were ultimately key deciding factors in her selection.”

Del Sol said she recognizes that her new duties begin at an auspicious time. “As we celebrate the city’s 300th anniversary, we have the opportunity to explain the changing roles in which historic preservation will help address vital community needs such as affordable housing, quality of life and disaster resilience – and we will work hard to encourage and sponsor dialogue amongst diverse groups of the city’s residents.

“Preservation offers distinctive approaches to these problems that can help our city leaders find the best, most well-rounded and holistic answers,” said Del Sol. “I’m thrilled for the opportunity to lead PRC at this milestone juncture in the city’s history.”

Tulane professor honored for contributions to architectural education

A Tulane School of Architecture professor is being recognized for her impact as a national leader in architectural education.

Judith Kinnard, FAIA, professor of architecture and Harvey-Wadsworth Chair of Landscape Urbanism, was recently named a Distinguished Professor by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

The honor is given for “sustained creative achievement in the advancement of architectural education.”

Kinnard — an educator, designer and thought leader — has spent nearly 40 years inspiring architecture students, contributing to the field’s knowledge base and putting innovative ideas into practice in award-winning projects of her own.

“The profession of architecture has shifted dramatically in recent years, expanding beyond the limits of designing buildings and physical environments,” said Kinnard. “It is more and more challenging to package an education that is both broad enough to encompass multiple futures for our graduates and focused enough to give them real skills to enter the profession today and be prepared for what it will be 25 years from now.”

Kinnard is influencing this conversation at a national level as president of the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The organization’s accreditation process ensures schools of architecture are meeting core standards to prepare students for the field. She is also a past president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, which represents more than 200 schools of architecture and 5,000 faculty.

At Tulane, much of Kinnard’s teaching focuses on bringing students out of the classroom to understand and appreciate the places to which they will contribute as designers.

“One of the interesting things about teaching studios in New Orleans is that although the city is unique, it has lessons that apply to most American cities,” said Kinnard.

Tulane University alumna Dana Buntrock was among the four other Distinguished Professor Award recipients. The winners will be celebrated in March during ACSA’s annual meeting in Denver.

Cordula Roser Gray appointed Taylor Center Social Entrepreneurship Professor

Tulane School of Architecture Professor of Practice Cordula Roser Gray, AIA was recently appointed the Beers Professorship II in Social Entrepreneurship and Cole Fellow with the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking.

Taylor Center social entrepreneurship professors represent a range of academic disciplines and support university-wide, interdisciplinary endeavors in social innovation and social entrepreneurship.

In this new role, Roser Gray plans to identify opportunities to connect academia with entrepreneurship and develop interdisciplinary concepts for urban place-making through citizen-focused prototyping and master planning.

More information on the appointment can be found here.

New faculty members: Spring 2018

Tulane School of Architecture welcomed seven new faculty members for the spring semester, including the 2017-18 Favrot Visiting Chair, five adjunct lecturers and an instructor.

These individuals will lead classes in design, architectural history/theory, technological systems and community development finance.

“The new adjunct faculty continue a tradition of bringing talented practitioners and scholars to the school to enrich and advance the curriculum,” said Dean Kenneth Schwartz. “We are delighted to have them join us.”

More information on Tulane School of Architecture faculty can be found here.


Richard Olcott, FAIA, FAAR - 2017-18 Favrot Visiting Chair - Design Partner, Ennead Architects - Options Studio

Daisy Dodge - Adjunct Lecturer - Union Studios - DSGN 1200

Cynthia Dubberley, AIA - Adjunct Lecturer - Senior Associate/Architect, Trapolin-Peer Architects - DSGN 2200

Jose Cotto - Adjunct Lecturer - Associate Director of Place + Design Education, Arts Council New Orleans - AHST 6420

Arianna King - Instructor - Doctoral Student, Tulane University City, Culture and Community program - AHST 3010/6610

Elizabeth McCormick - Adjunct Lecturer - Research Fellow, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple - ATCS 3030 - Building/Climate/Comfort

Sustainable Real Estate Development:

Matthew Perrenod - Adjunct Lecturer - Principal Owner, Mission Enterprise Strategies - SRED 6460

Professor of Practice Marianne Desmarais opens new exhibit, samples + patches

The latest exhibition from Tulane University School of Architecture Professor of Practice Marianne Desmarais (A '95), samples + patches, reveals balance is a state between equal and opposing forces. The collection of wall sculptures opens Jan. 11 at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans.

Techniques from architectural practice are applied in composite textiles made of linen and wood that attempt to alter space through the manipulation of form, optics and surface. Utilizing manual and digital modes of production, resistance and collapse are explored as themes of structural response. Her work moves off the surface of the gallery walls to approach the viewer physically, to push and pull space.

Where one material is rigid, the other is soft. In combination, these qualities result in emergent forms and fluid composition. Desmarais continually pairs these contrasts to express the stillness present when tension is produced by gravity and resisted or encouraged by inscribed hinge points.

samples + patches is open from Jan. 11-April 1, with an opening event on Jan. 11 from 6-9 p.m.

Laura Ewen Blokker secures national recognition for medical office

The medical office of Mississippi civil rights leader Dr. Gilbert R. Mason Sr. is being recognized for its historical significance thanks to the work of Tulane School of Architecture faculty member Laura Ewen Blokker.

The building, located in Biloxi, Mississippi, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places due to association with Mason and his significant contributions to civil rights and medicine in the state. Blokker, assistant director and adjunct lecturer in the Preservation Studies program, authored the nomination as part of an effort by the City of Biloxi and Mississippi Department of Archives and History to document the history of predominantly African-American east Biloxi community (read more about the survey here).

A tireless activist and community organizer, Mason is best known for leading the charge to desegregate Biloxi’s beaches and organizing several “wade-ins.” He also pursued membership in local white medical organizations and was one of the first African-Americans appointed to a state board or commission since Reconstruction.

In 1966, Mason hired John T. Collins, a Tulane School of Architecture alumnus, to design a new office for his medical practice. The space would also headquarter his civil rights activity and professional advancements.

“With its strong horizontal lines, ribbon window, and facade articulated by brise-soleil inspired walls and overhang, it boldly announced the modern era had come to Division Street,” wrote Blokker in the nomination.

Designation to the official Federal list deems properties, “worthy of preservation for their historical significance” and opens opportunities for potential tax incentives.

To learn more about the nomination, read the official submission here.