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Real Estate major launches, expanding program to prepare students for growing industry

Tulane undergraduate students now have a new path to careers in real estate, including investing, financial analysis, project design, urban planning and policy. 

 

The Tulane School of Architecture officially launched its new Bachelor Science in Real Estate (BSRE) major on Thursday, Feb. 6, as part of the Urban Land Institute Louisiana annual conference in New Orleans.

 

“The major builds on the success and popularity of the Real Estate Summer Minor, which was started in 2015,” said John Huppi, adjunct faculty and Assistant Director of Real Estate Development at the Tulane School of Architecture. 

 

The major focuses on being both multidisciplinary and entrepreneurial, teaching traditional core concepts including real estate finance and project management, while integrating other design and environmental concerns, Huppi said.

 

“One thing that is unique about this program is the curriculum includes a Design + Development Studio, which enhances student’s ability to think spatially which is an important and undervalued skillset in the industry,” Huppi said.

 

The announcement of the new major came during the Urban Land Institute’s annual Louisiana conference, held at Tulane’s Lavin-Bernick Center and co-sponsored by the Real Estate Development program at the school of architecture. The gathering brought together roughly 150 professionals from across the state to discuss the latest trends in the real estate industry.

 

Anne Teague Landis, ULI Louisiana Chair and CEO of Landis Construction, said the new BSRE major is a great idea because of its emphasis on preparing students to collaborate with a range of professionals in the various sectors of the real estate business. 

 

“The best development projects are the ones where people are really collaborative and able to work together for the good of project,” said Landis, whose firm has also hosted Tulane graduate students from the school of architecture’s Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program.

 

Development is also a complex undertaking, Landis said, and it’s important for young people who are beginning to explore careers in real estate to understand all the aspects that go into it – from financing and community engagement to design and construction. 

 

“It’s hard sometimes without any basic foundational knowledge of what someone else’s piece of the puzzle is,” Landis said. “The nomenclature is different, and you’re creating a fluency that allows for better collaboration that’s maybe missing if there isn’t some of that insight being built early on.”

 

And students are eager to broaden their education. Getting as much out of his time in college as possible is why Tulane junior Jacob Levanthal is interested in pursuing the BSRE. He already completed the Real Estate Summer Minor, which covers much of the major’s course load. But now he’s interested in rounding that out. 

 

“The design aspect is really interesting,” Levanthal said. “It’s an expansion of your mind in a way.”

Earth Lab design-build studio wins national Architectural Education Award

Earth Lab, a design-build project completed by Tulane architecture students, faculty and staff at the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, was recently awarded a national 2020 Architectural Education Award, by the Association for Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).

Designed and built during the Small Center's Fall 2018 studio at the Tulane School of Architecture, the project was one of three awarded in the ACSA's Design-Build category this year. The studio integrated research on local vernacular building traditions, and involved working closely with a diverse group of local stakeholders. Throughout, the studio sought to combine, hybridize, and discover new possibilities for architecture at the intersection of advanced digital fabrication technologies and sustainable, vernacular methods.

Earth Lab is a multipurpose outdoor classroom, event space, and community facility run by the local nonprofit organization Groundwork. The project provides a new space for the nonprofit, which educates local grade school students about environmental conservation, water management, and urban agriculture. Earth Lab takes cues from the local urban fabric and simultaneously creates a distinctive, vibrant, colorful space befitting the work of the nonprofit. Anchoring the project is a 410 square foot outdoor classroom and gathering space, framed by two 16-foot concrete gable-profile walls, and paved with custom concrete tiling. The walls and pavers are dyed blue with pigment in varying proportions, to create a gradient from dark blue at the ground, to nearly white at the top of the gables. Patterned relief on the surface of the concrete walls was created through the application of a custom set of CNC (computer numerically controlled) form liner.

Earth Lab was designed, built, and constructed in a single semester by a team of 14 students, led by Assistant Professor Adam Modesitt and Nick Jenisch, Adjunct Lecturer and Project Manager at the Small Center. The architecture students on the team were: Michelle Barrett; Kay Curtis; Dana Elliot; Jacqueline Esmay; Jared Faske; Dylan Goldweit-Denton; Clayton Hakes; Emily Kanner; Bryn Koeppel; Riley Lacalli; Caroline LaFleche; Collin Moosbrugger; Margaret Swinford; and Max Warshaw.

Read more about the Earth Lab project on the Small Center website here. Read more about the ACSA 2020 Architectural Education Awards here.

Students compete in National Real Estate Challenge

Since 2002, teams of graduate students from top-ranked business schools have congregated in Austin, Texas, to participate in a case-based real estate competition.

The invitation-only National Real Estate Challenge requires participants to analyze a recent real estate transaction completed by a leading global real estate firm. Participants represent some of the most talented real estate students, while judge panels consist of executives from leading real estate firms across the country.

This past year, the competition welcomed a team featuring students from two Tulane programs: the Freeman School’s MBA program and the School of Architecture’s Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program. This year, the Freeman School and the School of Architecture teamed up to launch a new master’s program for students interested in combining business and sustainable real estate development.

The new Tulane MBA/MSRED, the only program of its kind in the nation, awards students both an MBA and a master’s degree in Sustainable Real Estate Development. Through the real-world application of theory to current real estate development projects, graduates are well-prepared for the ever-changing real estate industry. Graduates are armed with skills to successfully work in all areas of real estate development, including: finance, analytics, design, management and consulting.

“We are disrupting how real estate has been taught to drive change in the educational landscape of this field,” says Casius Pealer, director of Sustainable Real Estate Development and Shane Professor of Practice at the Tulane School of Architecture. “We want students to analyze the implications of technology, environmental changes and urbanization to better understand how political, ecological and cultural forces impact real estate development. By creating an interdisciplinary program, our alumni can anticipate the long-term social and financial effects of development.”

The MBA/MSRED is an accelerated two-year, full-time program. Students benefit from Freeman’s small cohorts, active learning environment and direct engagement with industry leaders. 

This story was originally posted by Freeman News at the Tulane University A.B. Freeman School of Business.

Students selected for AIA Emerging Professionals Exhibit

A project by four Tulane School of Architecture students is featured in the recent 2019 Emerging Professionals Exhibit by AIA. The theme for this year’s AIA Emerging Professionals Exhibit is “Designing for Equity," and it's based on the Guides for Equitable Practice and the AIA value “We believe in the power of design." The 15 digitally exhibited projects are a representation of best practices for a more just and equitable profession.

The Tulane project team includes students and alumni from the Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program Keristen Edwards, Lina Alfieri Stern, Muhanad Alfardan, and Veronika Suarez. Their proposed project, Hotel Inspire, is an accommodation for travelers centering the experiences and needs of people experiencing disabilities.

The vision for this hotel project was inspired by the experiences and vision of all avid travelers, no matter their physical circumstances. Every hotel operation is unique but one aspect shared by all hotels - if they are to operate profitably - is to retain the loyalty of existing satisfied customers and to attract new ones. If this is true, there is a market of 26 million people traveling with disabilities in the U.S. every year that like any other traveler, would simply wish traveling to be accessible and memorable. Not all hotel guests are the same or have the same abilities, at Hotel Inspire, upon arrival to the in-room experience the guest is given ownership to accommodate their environment according to their needs and preferences while also providing the expected practicalities. Guest rooms offer ample space to move freely, shower and sleep safely and feel luxurious and comforted no matter their support needs. The highlight feature of this hotel is the ramp, no longer should guests fear to wait at the top of the stair in the event of an emergency. Hotel Inspire is a place where there are no barriers but more options for enjoyment, safety, and comfort.

For more images of this project and more information about the 2019 AIA Emerging Professionals Exhibit, click here.

Student explores local materials and methodologies for community empowerment in Africa

Architecture student Taylor Scott recently completed an international research project "Constructing Futures." The goal was to document and analyze how informal vernacular building materials and methodologies can empower communities to become self-sufficient and explored case studies across Eastern and Southern Africa. Scott focused on this region of Africa was selected due to the rapid population and urbanization boom currently underway. By 2030, it is projected that 54% of the global population will be African. This sets the stage for architects to provide innovative community-based solutions to alleviate the shortage of housing, healthcare, and educational buildings.

"Empowering communities through design has been an important topic for me throughout my academic and professional architectural experience," Scott said. "I was first exposed to the idea while leading educational and healthcare design/build projects in rural Honduras prior to graduate school. I saw first-hand how designing and constructing side-by-side with community members created more resilient, meaningful architecture. As a designer, I wanted to continue to learn/explore the importance of local design vernacular and craft in order to create sustainable buildings and communities."

While visiting Rwanda and Malawi, Scott profiled various architecture firms utilizing vernacular typologies and local craft to build schools, homes, and hospital centers. He also interviewed multiple craftspeople who were trained and/or hired by these design firms. These individuals are local community members who, through their participation in the design/build process, refined an existing trade skill or learned a new craft.

In many cases, these craftspeople are now gainfully employed in the design and construction field, they have effectively lifted themselves and their immediate family out of extreme poverty, and have started to train other members of their community to become more self-sufficient.

"New foreign investment has led to a construction boom in many African cities where the architecture does not reflect or address the diverse African design heritage," Scott said. "While I was in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, I was impressed to see just how African some of the new construction looks and feels. Many local architects have incorporated vernacular typologies in modern, interesting ways. The city felt progessive, inclusive, and forward focused on what a futuristic African city can be. It's a must-see!"

Scott's work was supported by the Class of 1973 Travel Fellowship Award, an annual travel opportunity given to one student at Tulane School of Architecture.

Tulane hosts national architecture education conference

The Tulane School of Architecture recently served as the host for 2019's Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Administrators Conference, titled "UNCERTAINTY." Featuring keynote speakers such as Yale climate scientist Karen Seto, former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, and Tulane Architecture visiting faculty Pankaj Vir Gupta, the three-day event addressed the increasing uncertainty brought by climate change and how the field of architecture is navigating this.

Below are excerpts from the keynotes:

Pankaj Vir Gupta: Welcome Keynote, Thursday Nov. 7

“These are fractured times in which much of what passes for architecture, exhibits at best, uncertain principles and dubious conceptual origin. Despite an urgent and rapidly accelerating urbanity, the fissures in contemporary Indian professional practice, expose limitations of historical oblivion, imperfect ethics, and insensitivity for social and environmental inequity. The results are physically manifest in our broken cities.”

“For vir.mueller architects, the act of architecture is also an act of resistance, a refusal to cater to the accepted praxis of design and construction as perceived across the vast landscape of India today. The idea of citizen architects, who make themselves visible to the public as an educated and informed voice of design-related issues, remains critical to our identity as an architectural design studio.”

“It is an essential element of active citizenship: the process of negotiating the rights and resources one is due in a given political society. By limiting the “Capacity to Aspire”, impoverished urban enclaves erode the basic tenets of democratic society.”

“Schools of Architecture are uniquely poised to lead multi-disciplinary research collaborators to address urban issues of water, infrastructure, health, sanitation, environment, and urban design. Situated in the service of a global community, the role of the School may be enlarged, imagined as one that would engender collaborations between teaching, research and governance.”

Mitch Landrieu: Evening Keynote, Friday Nov. 8

“There’s a very unique and distinct sense of place here in New Orleans. ...This is a deep, rich historic city.”

“When people are in trauma and when everything in their life is destroyed, the only thing they want is to put it back just like it was and hold on to the only thing that they know. ... After Katrina what the people of New Orleans wanted was desperately just to get back in their homes, to get back in their schools, to get back in their businesses, to go back to their churches, and act like nothing ever happened.”

“What the city did next is what I think is miraculous. ... I asked them [people of New Orleans] to join with me and not build the city back the way it was, to actually take a minute and stay in pain and agony. ... [I asked them] to do a gut check on whether or not the night before the storm the city was really as good as she was supposed to be.”

“When we think about climate change and the impact it’s going to have, you have to get ready for that and you have to build for that. ... One of the things we realized after Katrina, we weren’t really preparing ourselves for what was coming our way.”

“You [architects] are really the ones who have to work with elected officials and business leaders to start thinking about how you’re going to create and adapt your environment to what it is we know is coming our way.”

“You’re not building in isolation, you’re part of a much deeper organism. One piece of it affects every piece of it. ... And at the end of the day, it really has to be beautiful. Because beauty really does lift up communities. ... I hope you don’t see yourselves as just designers of one building.”

Karen Seto: Closing Keynote, Saturday Nov. 9

“Urban areas are major producers of CO2 emissions from energy use, which means that there’s quite a bit of opportunity for us to mitigate climate change through the built environment. ... If we look into the future, a significant amount of urban areas will need to be built going out to 2030. So if we were to aggregate all the new urban lands globally, it equals an area that is the combined area of France, Germany, Spain and Italy.”

“If we look at just the building sector, the building sector contributes to about a third of the final energy use in 2010. And the expectation is that emissions from the building sector are going to continue to increase anywhere from 50% to 100% going out to the middle of the century. We also found that deep retrofits can significantly reduce heating and cooling, but that these only occur in Europe or north America but most of the urban development is going to happen in Africa and also in Asia. And so one of the big questions is what kind of leap-frog technologies or policies can be implemented in these places that need these policies and technologies the most.”

“If we look at the emissions from buildings, the indirect emissions are greater than the direct emissions. The direct emission come the energy used in the building, so turning lights, heaters, computers. The indirect emissions come from all the energy that’s embodied in the materials to build the built environment, as well as to mine the materials to generate the energy. One of the things that we really need to focus on is not only the direct emissions, making buildings more efficient, but it’s also all the supply chain and downstream effects as well.”

“We cannot continue to think about mitigating climate change through the lens of individual sectors. In fact, we must take a cross-sectoral approach and that cities and the built environment are the natural place to do it. ... The buildings people, the transport people, the planning folks, and the scientists we all speak very different languages and we think about the solutions differently. So I think one of the big challenges from the education perspective is how do we train students, not just students but decision makers, to understand what the solutions maybe and what the constraints are. How do the folks in one sector actually interact and talk with people in another sector.”

“We’re adding 1.5 million people into urban areas every single week. We are converting an area equal to 20,000 American football fields into urban areas every single day and this is going to continue for the next 20 years. And urban areas are going to continue to use about 75 percent of the global energy. And so I think this presents a significant opportunity to better design, implement, plan, operate the built environment."

“We have a lot of the science to know how to build buildings efficiently and we have enough of the science to know how we should not design cities. So the question is I think both a science question and a practical one about limitations: How do we bring the science around buildings, transport, and land use together to design and shape the built environment so they are low-carbon? ... It’s not sufficient to have individual buildings that are low carbon. We need all activities to be low carbon. So it is the confluence of the building, the land use and the transport working together. To me that is the big challenge going forward.”

Faculty assists city to create 'Child-Friendly New Orleans' plan

NEW ORLEANS — The Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families (OYF) presented the “Goals for a Child-Friendly New Orleans” at the Neighborhood Summit on Saturday, Nov. 9. For the past nine months OYF has been working closely with global design and engineering firm, Arup, PlayBuild and Tulane University School of Architecture on a vision for a child-friendly New Orleans that was generated through a collaborative workshop with New Orleans youth leadership, community representatives, and a range of city agencies and organizations in July.

Casius Pealer, Director of Tulane’s Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development, said, “Over 20 percent of New Orleans residents are under 18 years old, meaning that none of them have a formal vote in our political decisions and planning processes — yet we need those residents to love and enjoy New Orleans as much as the other 80 percent of us do. From a real estate development perspective, Mayor Cantrell’s commitment to a child-friendly New Orleans means that our City is ripe for major long term physical investment, emotional investment, and yes financial investment.”

Children stand to be disproportionately impacted by the decisions made today regarding climate change, transportation, safety, economic opportunity, and public health. However, urban planning has not traditionally prioritized children’s needs. A child-friendly design effort in New Orleans would respond to the needs of the youth, who represent over 25 percent of the city’s population.

The “Goals for a Child-friendly New Orleans” publication includes a comprehensive set of recommendations across four themes: safety, nature and sustainability, health and well-being, and stronger communities. Building upon existing city and non-profit initiatives that are currently underway, “Goals for a Child-Friendly New Orleans” offers a framework for all stakeholders to streamline efforts around a common vision.

“When we design a New Orleans that truly puts children’s interests first, we create a New Orleans that shows love to all her people,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.

The project seeks to mobilize city leadership to think beyond playgrounds when it comes to urban design. The “Goals for a Child-Friendly New Orleans” publication highlights opportunities to design and build a network of places and spaces for children that are sensitive to their physical development and everyday needs.

To read more about the Neighborhood Summit, click here.

Small Center celebrates national design award

A young man dropped into the concrete bowl beneath the overpass, the wheels of his skateboard drowned out by the roar of commuters on the interstate above him. Others tried out a temporary makeshift ramp cobbled together from pallets and plywood. Rain poured off the overpass, falling into rain gardens designed to prevent pooling water from ruining the fun.

On Tuesday, October 29, an award ceremony was held at Parisite Skate Park, New Orleans’ first and only official public skatepark and a silver medal winner for the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence.

Founded by architect Simeon Bruner, the national design contest recognizes transformative urban places distinguished by their economic and social contributions to America’s cities. Medalists reflect the diversity of urban excellence and yield fresh ideas and perspectives that challenge our assumptions and increase our understanding of how to make great urban places.

Tulane School of Architecture’s Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design collaborated with Transitional Spaces, a non-profit organization representing the local skater community, to work with the City of New Orleans and see the skater’s vision for the park come to fruition.

Parisite was driven and created by the park’s users as opposed to a traditional top down approach, observed Rudy Bruner Award Director Anne-Marie Lubenau.

The ceremony was followed by a reception and panel discussion at the Small Center. The panel featured members of the design team and representatives from the Mayor’s office, Transitional Spaces and the Bruner Foundation. It focused on the park’s creation, lessons learned, and its potential for informing the process of communal park design.

“Parisite is an example of how the Small Center’s process of collaborative community-driven design allows groups with divergent priorities to work productively to resolve their differences and come together to see projects through to completion,” Small Center Director Ann Yoachim said.

New design major launches

A new major for design launched on Oct. 23 at Tulane School of Architecture. The Bachelor of Arts in Design (BADes) will introduce students to design as a language as well an exploration of solutions-based design processes. The major will provide Tulane University undergraduate students with a broad design education inclusive of multiple modes of practice and an understanding of the fundamental linkages between design, society, and culture.

"The BADes will examine principles of the discipline that engage people, history, and environments through performative technologies, and project realization at multiple scales," said Marianne Desmarais, Director of Undergraduate Architecture. "It serves as an entry point to various allied career paths such as graphic design, architecture, product design, interior design, and time-based design."

New faculty member, Lesley-Ann Noel, led an engaging design challenge as part of the BADes launch event on Oct. 23.

Eligibility to declare the major starts Fall 2020, but courses can be taken now.

Mintz Global Research Studios return from inaugural trips abroad

This past month Tulane School of Architecture students and faculty traveled to India and Ethiopia as part of the school's new Saul A. Mintz Global Research Studios. Dean Iñaki Alday and Research Assistant Professor Monisha Nasa accompanied students to India for the studio "The Rajasthan Cities: Jaipur." The team is working with stakeholders in the region on the recovery of urban ecologies, restoration of the city edges, and extensive systems in water harvesting, mobility, energy and cultural infrastructure.

Assistant Professor Rubén García Rubio, Adjunct Assistant Professor Sonsoles Vela Navarro and students in the studio "Addis Ababa River Project" visited Ethiopia and toured the areas of the city where the studio is focused, the Upper Kebena river, and met with local institutions in academia, architecture, foreign aid and international diplomacy.

Click here to view pictures from the teams' trips abroad.

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