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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.”

MSRED faculty member to serve as deputy chief of staff for New Orleans mayor-elect

Liana Elliott

Liana Elliott, an adjunct lecturer in the Tulane School of Architecture Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development (MSRED) program, was announced as the hire for deputy chief of staff by New Orleans Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell’s transition April 30. Elliott formerly served as chief of staff for New Orleans Councilman Jason Williams.

Elliott is an urban planner and policy analyst, focusing on social justice issues around public health, community resilience, and social impacts of poverty and environmentalism. She has taught the fall MSRED Applied Urban Economics course since 2015.

TRUDC proposal for Gretna City Park improvements receives state funding

On April 20, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced funding for 10 flood resilience projects in six coastal parishes. Among the winning proposals are improvements to recreation and drainage in Gretna City Park designed by Tulane School of Architecture students and faculty with the Tulane Regional Urban Design Center for the city of Gretna.

Read more on TRUDC’s work here, and see the complete list of projects here.

Faculty members awarded grant to research water-management structures

Pictured: Faculty members Kentaro Tsubaki and Charles Jones with Master of Architecture student Riley Lacalli. Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano

Tulane School of Architecture faculty members Kentaro Tsubaki and Charles Jones received a $100,000 grant from the PCI Foundation to develop a class-based research project investigating how precast concrete water-management structures can enhance landscapes and support resiliency in coastal cities.

The multiyear effort will focus on ways to create structures, such as levees and stormwater detention systems, which direct water while also encouraging interaction and appreciation for the substance.

The team hopes to use an architectural approach to challenge the perspective that water should be funneled out of sight and out of mind. Their research will explore opportunities for water-management infrastructure to be an accessible, useful and aesthetic community asset.

The grant will fund a paired design studio and fabrication class investigating this idea. Working around a water-related challenge, students will collectively design, fabricate and test scaled prototypes of precast concrete–based structures.

“We want to establish a strong link between a design education and research,” said Tsubaki, Favrot Associate Professor of Architecture and associate dean for academics. “This studio will create a significant research initiative within the school, combining our expertise in architectural design with the technical side of construction and the issue of water management.”

The precast method involves fabricating concrete in reusable molds housed in carefully controlled environments. This results in a more refined product with cost savings for large-scale projects.

Relationships with industry partners will ground the class learning and research in practical expertise. Precast concrete and allied industry organizations PCI Gulf South, Gate Precast Co., Lafarge Ductal and US Formliner have pledged support to the school’s efforts.

Tsubaki and Jones are working with graduate architecture students Riley Lacalli and Wei Xiao to develop the studio and fabrication course curriculum and plan to begin offering the classes in spring 2019. The team is also creating four precast concrete learning modules customized for core architecture classes.

“Our school served a vital role in community building in the post-Katrina era,” said Jones, an adjunct lecturer. “This partnership with the PCI Foundation will empower our students to also engage in one of our region’s most challenging environmental and cultural relationships — rethinking the way we live with water.”

Architecture dean leaves legacy of social change

By Faith Dawson. Photo by Sally Asher.

When Kenneth Schwartz arrived at Tulane University in 2008, the School of Architecture was re-energizing after Hurricane Katrina and showing “a lot of momentum, and a lot of positive energy and goodwill in the community.”

The time was right for the new dean and professor of architecture to keep the school on the upswing. Over the next 10 years, the school achieved its highest ranking, improved alumni engagement and saw record fundraising. Its affiliate, Tulane City Center, grew into the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, and another universitywide affiliate, the Phyllis Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking, launched in 2014.

“We’re involved with building community, and toward that end, architecture is more than just physical design,” said Schwartz, who also holds the Michael Sacks Chair in Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship and is the founding director of the Taylor Center. “Those are among the many things we focused on for my first five or six years as dean and to this day as well.”

After 10 years of service to the university and multiple successful projects, Schwartz will step down as dean in May to make way for new leadership, leaving behind a legacy of social change.

“In the last 10 years we have diversified our small school in ways that have spread our influence across a number of disciplines that intersect with architecture and are also very important to society,” Schwartz said.

Under his tenure, the School of Architecture launched its Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development degree, a Real Estate Summer Minor Institute and the Taylor Center’s minor in social innovation and social entrepreneurship, which attracts students from all over campus.

After a yearlong sabbatical, during which he will focus on research projects related to social change and civic engagement, Schwartz said he will return to campus as a faculty member in the School of Architecture and will continue as the Taylor Center director. Schwartz added that it was a privilege to serve as dean and director at the same time over the past four years.

“Handling these two different jobs has been synergistic in a way,” Schwartz added. “It seems like a good time, after 10 years as dean, to shift focus more intensively on issues that can lead to positive change through the work of the Taylor Center.”

This article originally appeared in Tulane's New Wave publication.

"Talk About Architecture: Retrospect & Prospect" draws alumni for day of conversation

Professor John Klingman speaks at "Talk About Architecture: Retrospect & Prospect"

Photo: Favrot Professor of Architecture John P. Klingman presents during "Talk About Architecture: Retrospect & Prospect. Photo by Philip A. Alperson.

Preparing future architects to design spaces that are compelling and community centered was a focus of conversation at "Talk About Architecture: Retrospect & Prospect," a symposium held at the Tulane School of Architecture on April 7.

Hosted by Favrot Professor of Architecture John P. Klingman, the event brought together more than 150 alumni, faculty, students and friends to discuss the evolution and future of architectural education at Tulane and beyond.

Alumni, traveling from as far as Shanghai, shared ways their education succeeded and was less relevant in the real world during two open forums. Klingman structured the event to be alumni-focused, drawing generations of graduates back to their alma mater.

During the keynote speech, Klingman stressed that for the sometimes-insular architecture profession to remain viable, architects must find ways to engage with the public.

“It is just as important for us to be outside the building as it is for us to be inside the building,” said Klingman. “Even though a project can be architecturally significant, if it doesn’t have a living program and people are not actively using it, it’s just not good.”

“The practice of architecture fundamentally changes every few years,” said Dan Maginn, a 1989 architecture graduate from Kansas City, Missouri, who spoke during a forum. “Regular dialogue between practitioners, faculty and students encourages an awareness of this ever changing dynamic, and energizes the experience of practicing, teaching and learning about architecture.”

Special guests including former Tulane School of Architecture faculty members Ben Ledbetter and Mark Shapiro, former dean Donna Robertson, FAIA and Deborah Gans, FAIA, a Pratt Institute professor and a longtime friend of the school, stimulated the discussion with insight from successful careers in education and practice.

"Talk About Architecture" marked Professor Klingman’s retirement at the end of this academic year. Many alumni attended to celebrate and share stories of his impact over 35 years of teaching and mentorship.

Members of the graduating classes of 1986 and 1987 used the event as a reunion opportunity to reconnect while honoring Klingman. “As a thesis advisor, John Klingman influenced the individual thinking of hundreds of students and also created an open, engaged conversation that continues to tie us together years after our time at Tulane,” said Elizabeth Martin (A ’86).

View photos from the symposium here.

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

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.