Page 1


The October 2014 issue of the Charrette represents the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the school’s student-run publication, and the arrival of a broadened vision for the role of the organization within the greater student body. Consider the unique environment that is an architecture school: simply stated, we are a group of several hundred young, creative individuals; we are like-minded, but hold a diverse array of interests and skills. We are supported by a collection of leading professionals, creators, and intellectuals, and at our fingertips is a trove of resources that enable the pursuit of virtually any idea or creative impulse. Often, our only obstacle is our own inaction. Now imagine a unifying force within this creative collective, one that ignores the unfounded barriers of intimidation between years and facilitates greater cooperation, increased dialogue, and more action towards realizing creative ideas. An entity that urges us to make the most of the massive potential present in a community so dense with talent and inspiration, a community already focused on development and growth. The activation of potential requires a source of momentum; this is the role we envision for the Charrette. Growth - the relevance of the word made it an obvious choice as the theme for this issue, which embodies the latest iteration in the growth of the Charrette. Everywhere we turn we’re faced with growth in ways that directly affect the practice and study of architecture: global populations are growing, leading to a worldwide explosion in urban development; violent conflicts and humanitarian crises have created a growing need for better-designed temporary shelters; and recent scientific and technological developments have led to growing attention towards the incorporation of grown elements in construction and design. These are all topics explored in the following pages by our writing staff. Each article contains fascinating and important concepts and perspectives, and I urge you to take the time to read them all. Finally, I would like to call attention to the collective effort of the Charrette staff that produced this issue, and that has exemplified the atmosphere of cooperation and creative action that has become our mission. Especially impressive and exciting is the work of our first-year staff members, who contributed in every aspect of the process. Their early involvement and high level of dedication bodes very well for the future of the publication, and I am proud to have them on the team. The piece from past Editors-in-Chief Kevin Michniok (TSA ‘13) and Nick Vann (TSA ‘09) provides a clear portrayal of the continuing mission of the Charrette from its conception in 2006 to this most recent iteration. It places this issue in the greater context of student-led journalistic endeavors at TSA, and implies a responsibility to uphold and advance the initial goals and values set forth by the publication’s founders. With our future issues and projects, we will continue to pursue our missions of cooperative creative pursuit and architectural investigation through journalism as our way of contributing to architecture’s ongoing dialogue. Please read and enjoy the October 2014 issue of the Charrette, and keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities to get involved. Eric Bethany, Editor in Chief NOTE FROM THE EDITOR


contents 05/ WHY WE WRITE

a message from former editors-in-chief


the line between growth and destruction


a comment on the crisis of over-growth

13/ RENAISSANCE: OC HALEY generating new life for a cultural hot spot


documenting the urban condition


Shanghai’s take on historic redevelopment

23/ GROWTH FOR ACADEMIA learning to think BIG


bio design: intersections in science and design

29/ ARCHITECTURE OF TRANSITION the creative potential of temporary shelters


Why we write

a message from former editors-in-chief nick vann & kevin Michniok

It all started on a carpool ride from Baton Rouge to New Orleans following an LSU vs. Tulane baseball game. Well, at least that’s how I remember it. Although I was one of the founders of theCharrette - even briefly serving my time as Editor-in-Chief I cannot take credit for its conception. That honor goes to Naomi Homison, whose face appeared in the masthead as a prank executed by our layout editor and co-founder, Carter Scott, prior to our very first publication in Fall 2006. We began with some sage words of wisdom from Reed Kroloff, a former Editor-in-Chief himself. Reed, then Dean of TSA, was formerly EIC for Architecture Magazine, and was thus the perfect mentor for our startup student-run newsletter and first foray into journalism. Reed advised us on matters of journalistic integrity. He warned us about getting too big too fast only to scale down, and the dangers of cluttering our publication with advertisements to pay for printing costs. Naomi and the rest of us had visions of turning the 11x17 printed publication (double-sided, mind you!) into a multi-page printed publication with color and perhaps even some day, binding. We even had visions of offering course credit for our hard work, which often took place between 2 and 4am when all of our studio work was complete. But alas, none of these things came into fruition until after our time at Tulane expired. However, after Kevin Michniok took over in Fall 2009 as a second year student, he took theCharrette to unbelievable new heights. It wasn’t always easy to get theCharrette out every month. But alas, the foundation we planted for theCharrette has proven immovable, as different generations of students come in and out of WHY WE WRITE


TSA and continue to build upon its success. In retrospect, we’re proud and fortunate to have started something that has only gained momentum, and are unbelievably happy to see the original mission for theCharrette to be “an informer, an entertainer, a sounding board for concerns and a gateway through the great wall that divides students and administration” has resonated with so many. To those of you who continue to publish and read theCharrette: thank you. We may never meet you, but we’re happy you found the same medium for carrying architecture’s message out to the world. Within the field of architecture, journalism is vastly underrepresented. Without it, architecture would have no voice. With it, architecture as a discipline becomes understood in every workplace, household, and watering hole. This structure originally erected by the founders knew only one direction to take: UP. I can pinpoint clearly the night Nick Vann told me of my role as EIC. We were standing next to a pool table during Beaux Arts Ball 2009 as he slipped the news into my ear, his voice oddly audible with competing noise from the DJ. I saw his confidence in me as a sign of what I could make out of my next four years. The immediate thought that next day was to add more theory to the mix, and transform the layout, as were past wishes. I believed then as I do now that we had tremendous opportunity to extend “architecture” beyond its traditional realm, expanding its definition to elicit the far-reaching effects design inherently possesses. Architects design, but architects also express in ways divergent from building form. School teaches us how to think and acts as an



2006 avenue for expressing our passions. But we must ask questions, challenge our own notions, and ultimately release our ideas not only through pencil, but also paper. I was given that opportunity early on at Tulane, with unwavering support from Kenneth Schwartz, Graham Owen, and Elizabeth Gamard. Faculty were more than receptive to our work; the likes of Scott Bernhard, Grover Mouton, and John Klingman never missed a chance to convey their words of backing. I credit TSA with identifying individuals who are game-changers: those who, in turn, have the means to identify a story and help others create their own. Words are critical mass. In time they grow, but their nucleus stays constant. Nick, Carter, and Naomi were the nucleus, saw untapped potential, and offered me a path. In turn, I too passed along “potential” in the hope of future growth. WHY WE WRITE

I write, and I wrote, because it has relevance. Design is an interpreted art, as are words. We decide their raw use and, after writing enough, see those words unlock enormous opportunity. That is what Eric Bethany’s staff has, and have earned. Soon enough it will be time to again pass the torch to others, who will craft their own persona and create the next impetus. We all hold important roles in this process, one that continues to be written and stitched together by minds that value the interminable power of journalism. Let us just say how immensely proud we are in theCharrette’s evolution, from concept to concrete form. It’s what created value for our days at TSA, separated only by time, not by mission. Nick Vann, AIA, TSA ‘09, EIC 2008-09 Kevin Michniok, Assoc. AIA, TSA ‘13, EIC 20



post-katrina redevelopment in new orleans has had varied levels of success, often depending on who is asked. traditionally working-class neighborhoods are now hosting high-end supermarkets and works of architecture from world-renowned designers - but are their cultural and historic foundations being undermined by new development?



the line between growth and destruction selina wabl

Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city of New Orleans has undergone a process of rebuilding some areas with greater effort and focus than others. Although the act of rebuilding is generally perceived as a form of urban growth, there is another side to the issue: many view some of the rebuilding efforts as a destruction of the traditional New Orleans culture. This begs the question of whether or not it is justified for new start-ups or wealthier families to move into suffering districts to “build them up,” and whether or not such development is helping or harming the neighborhood. A neighborhood in which this dilemma is particularly applicable is Tremé, a neighborhood bounded by Esplanade Avenue and North Rampart Street. MacDonald, a woman who has lived in Tremé for over thirty years, is one affected resident who was forced to move out of the neighborhood when the house she had been renting for decades was put on the market. Although MacDonald was able to find an affordable apartment not too far away, the fact remains that it is becoming increasingly difficult for displaced residents to find accommodations after being forced to move out. It is often the case that newcomers buy up historic double shotguns and renovate them into single-family homes; this is both decreasing the residential capacity of the neighborhood and causing prices to increase rapidly. These prices may be unattainable for locals, but for people from cities outside of New Orleans, they are relatively inexpensive, and may even seem like a bargain. Residential changes are not the only threat to some neighborhoods’ cultures. In the neighborhood of St. Roch, northeast from Tremé, long-time residents were greeted by a rather obtrusive, nearly four

million dollar renovation of a chain supermarket space that had been boarded up for years into a high-end specialty market that sells expensive cheeses and organic meats. The brand new, upperclass store, juxtaposed with the crumbling and boarded-up houses directly adjacent to the site, is a perfect metaphor for the situation: there may be top-of-the-line, gourmet pork chops available, but the family next door can’t afford it. The loss of culture and history through gentrification is a central concern of long-term residents. The majority of newcomers to neighborhoods did not experience Hurricane Katrina, and therefore do not understand the communal ties that originated from the experience and devastation. Moreover, many of the neighborhoods housed people who played an active role in the history of the area. Tremé, for example, is one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city, and had the highest population of free people of color when it was first formed. Now, people connected to these historical roots are being evicted, and with them, neighborhoods and towns are losing their sense of common ground and culture. On the brighter side, while some areas’ efforts to build up are threatening cultures, some projects are focusing on replacing the homes of those who lost them. Organizations like Global Green USA and Make it Right have focused their efforts on providing housing for those displaced by Katrina. Together with New Orleans’ powerful, inward-facing sense of culture, and with the help of people intent on keeping it alive, future growth-oriented projects in New Orleans are likely to outshine those that have eliminated or interfered with the city’s physical and social history.






too much!

a comment on the crisis of over-growth sam naylor

GROWTH “more and more, more is more” - Rem Koolhaas

In today’s world, the overwhelming majority of urban design challenges and architectural issues are solved alike by producing ‘more,’ that is, producing something new. Publications such as ArchDaily cite the US Architecture Billings Index as the signifier of strength in the profession; this in itself is an admission of our reliance on more. And even if all our new strategies for building smarter and more efficiently work, we suffer the burden of all that already exists. Reclamation is not an additive process. This problem is not unique to architecture; rather, it is a hallmark of our age. A crisis has emerged in mass data as well, particularly regarding storage and organization. In the forward to MAP003, David Garcia states “...some think that archives have reached such epidemic proportions that, not only has the digital revolution not been able to solve the problem, but it has, in fact, aggravated it. All of this, of course, occupies space, and increasingly huge amounts of space.” It seems that we are stuck in a perpetual motion machine, always moving forward to create more. Big construction, big data, and big markets dominate the contemporary zeitgeist. All of this consumerism and addition is only catalysed by our political and economic systems. We are now in a crisis of creating too much, without the slightest inclination to take any of it away.

SUBTRACTION “Consider the pleasures of building removal.” - Keller Easterling Reduce, reuse, recycle. Too often we justify our consumerist tendencies by citing this mantra. But growth and reduction cannot coexist. It stands to reason that as we truly learn to reduce and reuse, so too should architecture. The transformation of the old is a strong condition of the contemporary, but if we want to truly work sustainably, methods of reduction and subtraction should follow more than financial incentives and political trends. “Financial systems are good at haphazardly deleting buildings and landscape,” says Keller Easterling. “But since architects have been trained to make the building machine lurch forward, they may know something about how to put it into reverse.” No incentive exists to produce less, much less to produce nothing. Yet the production of something new is not always the right answer. Ironically, the solution seems to be a twist on the problem itself: more. What is needed are more incentives, more focus, and more research to reclaim and rehabilitate the areas we have left behind. Architects may soon join the ranks of the reductive alongside sanitation workers or building demolition experts, professionals already well-acquainted with the act of removal.




CYCLE “There is often a conflict between, on the one hand, preservation and, on the other hand, a town or city’s need for transformation and space for the expression of the identity of our age.” - Kari Ellefsen


Preservation strategies only truly took hold within the last century, but have quickly made it clear that the benefit of keeping the ‘old’ may outweigh that of creating anew. And so, without efficient means of transformation and subtraction, our built environment may begin to resemble those of science fiction. Examples in pop culture such as Star Wars and the Jetsons show new architecture escaping the density and clutter of the built world on the ground only to create new congestion in the skies.

Throughout the Caribbean, lush natural beauty is occasionally spotted by crumbling remainders of structures long since abandoned. Foundations of beach homes protrude from the sand, forgotten; huge resorts are left as incomplete shells when markets shifted and tourists took their money elsewhere. There were – and are – no incentives for these structures to be erased or transformed. Thus, they remained to rot to this day, both adding to and detracting from the layered history and lush beauty of the islands.

In Harvey Corbett’s “Very Modernised Venice” proposal for Manhattan, pedestrians watch from elevated sidewalks as cars speed below in a kind of industrialized canal. However, as observed by Rem Koolhaas, “Not for a moment does the theorist intend to relieve congestion: his true ambition is to escalate it to such intensity that it generates – as in a quantum leap – a completely new condition where congestion becomes mysteriously positive.”

“Nature’s system is self-regulating - dynamic, flexible, and adapting to change....the planning of our cities need to be dynamic, too. Otherwise, cities will be phased out. Become obstacles to the continued metabolism of society.” - Stig Andersson

Soon the machine of production may not have the luxury of space in which to wreak havoc. Perhaps we will be forced to consider the destruction or reuse of buildings before they are even realised. How long before the slow machine of architecture catches up, and how can we escalate the trend?




six flags over new orleans suffered critical damage during hurricance katrina and has yet to find financial support for reopening. it stands on waterlogged city limits as a towering victim of shifting markets and bad luck


renaissance: oc haley

generating new life for a cultural hot spot john coyle

Central City’s beloved Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard is at an intersection between its significant history and promising future. This main thoroughfare, formerly known as Dryades Street, is historically known as a center of commerce and culture. Beginning in the early 1900s, the area was one of the few places in the city with AfricanAmerican owned businesses, and was an inclusive shopping district for African-American, German, Jewish and Irish citizens. The 1849 grand opening of the Dryades Street Market cemented this corridor as a thriving shopping, business, and residential area for New Orleans. During the Civil Rights Movement, Dryades Street was a stage for activists and supporters, and in 1989 the stretch between Philips and Calliope Street was renamed after Ms. Oretha Castle Haley, a civil rights pioneer, founder of the New Orleans RENAISSANCE: OC HALEY


Congress of Racial Equality, and Central City resident. The area faced economic decline in the 1980s, and like many neighborhoods in New Orleans it is now impacted by blight and vacancies. According to the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, over 40% of Central City residents are living in poverty. Many believe that the corridor is at a turning point: redevelopments along O.C. Haley are ushering in a rebirth for the commercial and cultural corridor, preserving its history, character, and cultural identity while introducing economic development. Socially-conscious organizations have emerged along the corridor to support and participate in this movement while also being cautious about their role and the potential for gentrification. The Ashe Cultural Arts Center has been a backbone in serving


“this new activity signals a new chapter in one of the city’s most historically-significant corridors and presents a wide range of opportunities...”

the community since the 90s, with a mission to support community development through the arts. Their 18,000 square foot facility houses twentynine apartments and two large halls which are used for art exhibitions and other programs designed to advance civic engagement and economic advancement. Café Reconcile has been providing life skills and job training for central city youth for years, as well as turning out delicious food. The Good Work Network’s restoration of the Franz Building provides affordable retail space to support their mission of supporting minority and women-owned businesses. It is no coincidence that the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana and the Youth Empowerment Project also made their home on O.C. Haley. This aggregation of non-profit organizations contributes RENAISSANCE: OC HALEY

to the success of the corridor and encourages development without displacement. In a neighborhood with such high levels of poverty, disenfranchisement, and crime, gentrification is a new and burgeoning concern. How does one redevelop an area without displacing or ostracizing its residents? New developments must benefit residents of the neighborhood and allow them to take advantage of the growing economy. O.C. Haley is expected to join popular commercial and social corridors like Freret or Magazine Street, and it is critical that tourist dollars reach local residents. Development must be strategic in order to both preserve the area’s rich cultural traditions and create opportunity for local businesses and entrepreneurs.




IN CONTEXT: OC HALEY DEVELOPMENT 1. myrtle banks / 1307 och Th alia

1 St

2. new orleans redevelopment authorNew Orleans Redevelopment 2 ity / 1409 och


nu e

Authority 1409 OCH

ar Av e Bo li v

on m

Ma rt

Lu th


rB ou

lev ard




1436 OCH


K in gJ

ul Bo

y le Ha st Ca a

Jo se



th w




CafĂŠ Reconcile


Ashe Cultural Arts Center


Ashe Performance Space

1631 OCH/ 1631 och 6. cafe reconcile


St Po lym

ph in e






ic i


Fe l

1504 OCH

5. gulf coast housing partnership / 1610 Gulf Coast Housing Partnership 5 1610 OCH och




St An dr e

4. southern food beverage museum 4 Southern and Food and Beverage Museum / 1504 och



Ra m So u




St rt St



3. new orleans jazz orchestra / 1436 New Orleans 3 och Jazz Orchestra

2 Ter psi cho re

Eu ter

Myrtle Banks 1307 OCH

9 ni a



1712 OCH 7. ashe cultural arts center / 1712 och 1727 Baronne space / 1727 bar8. ashe performance onne 9 Tulane City Center 1725 Baronne

9. tulane10cityGood center / 1725 baronne Work Network 2028 OCH

10 11

10. good work network / 2028 och Redmellon 11

2100 OCH

11. redmellon / 2100 och


New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) has invested over $20 million into the corridor through its renovation of the Harrell Building, which accommodates their new office as well as seventy apartments for senior citizens. With their physical presence and financial investment in the corridor, NORA has a high stake in its success. Recent and upcoming redevelopment projects on O.C. Haley could signal the tipping point. One of the former Dryades Market buildings has been renovated into the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. This is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding, and celebration of Southern culinary culture. A second Dryades Market building once occupied the opposite corner until it was replaced with the Gators Department store; this building is also being renovated and will be the new home of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The two-story building will become a performance space with a coffee shop, a bar, and a digital learning center. The facility will be called the New Orleans Jazz Market, as a reference to the historical Dryades Market that once occupied its footprint. These redevelopments create a cultural anchor at this corner that compliments their predecessors Ashe Cultural Center and Zeitgeist and encourage tourism and education. Another project to look forward to is the adaptive reuse of the Myrtle Banks Elementary School. The 112-year-old building will be reopened as Jack & Jakes Public Market, a New Orleans based food hub dedicated to bringing affordable, fresh food to an underserved population. Without a source of affordable, nutritious food, Central City qualifies as a “food desert,” and also has some of the lowest employment rates in the city; this project begins to address these issues and provides a market for local vendors as well. The Tulane City Center (TCC) has also invested in the neighborhood, moving into a new facility one block off of O.C. Haley on Baronne Street.


In fall 2013, TCC teamed up with Gulf Coast Housing Partnerships to begin construction on a new, permanent TCC headquarters. The new space provides ample workspace for staff, fellows, and interns as TCC expands, as well as project studio space for courses such as the popular Engage_ Design_Build studios. The 7,000 square foot building was once a part of the sprawling Kauffman’s department store, one of the biggest in the city in the early 1900’s and one of many in the thriving Central City Dryades shopping district. The expansion to the new headquarters solidifies TCC’s commitment to the city through its participation in the renaissance of a vital neighborhood with the renovation of a blighted, historic building into a valuable and meaningful asset to the community. The Tulane City Center partnered with the NORA in January 2014 to launch Façade RENEW, a grant program designed to encourage commercial property and small business owners to revitalize storefronts and building façades in four targeted areas of the city, including Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Clio Associates LLC is working directly with the Tulane City Center to provide 30 hours of technical design assistance for each of the fifteen grant applicants along the corridor. “Placemaking” is another initiative of NORA and TCC that supports the revitalization of targeted retail corridors in the city by investing in high quality improvements meant to transform underused public space into compelling, accessible, and walkable destinations. The initiative focuses on developing small-scale investments that build on existing neighborhood assets and bring immediate benefits to the corridor’s public spaces and residents. While there are still many vacant and blighted properties along Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard that need attention, this new activity signals a new chapter in one of the city’s most historically-significant corridors and presents a wide range of opportunities for architects and designers working within the rapidly-expanding field of public interest design.




michael wolf

documenting the urban condition eric bethany

Our intention for the cover of this issue was to visually convey the theme of “growth” in a way that relates directly to architecture and to the articles contributed by the writing staff. The search for growth-related imagery led us to the work of Michael Wolf, the German-born artist and photographer who has made the focus of his creative endeavors the documentation of urban sprawl in various locations around the world, primarily in Asia. Wolf’s abstracted representations of the built environment of megacities clearly communicate the overwhelming scale of the structures used to house the millions of people pouring into developing cities around the world. Wolf’s photographic subjects range from megastructure facades to commuters crammed into subway cars to the rooftops of Paris - each subject used as a medium for communicating the intensity that characterizes human inhabitation in dense urban conditions. Other projects include a multi-part series of meticulous Google Streetview captures and a multimedia installation entitled “The Real Toy Story,” which illustrates the divide between those who fabricate the world’s toys and those who purchase them. Wolf’s award-winning photography has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including many architecture-related venues such as the Venice Biennale for Architecture (2010) and the German museum for architecture in Frankfurt. For more information and examples of his work, visit





Shanghai’s take on historic redevelopment shirley chen

Located at Lane 210 of Taikang Road, Tianzifang is known as one of the fastest-growing areas in downtown Shanghai. “Tian Zi Fang,” meaning a gathering of artists, is suggestive of its cultural characteristics on top of its economic functions. Foreign restaurants, craft stores, art studios and cafés are scattered along the narrow alleys of Tianzifang. The area developed from an old residential area known for Shikumen architectural styles into an arts and crafts enclave. With electricity cables strung overhead and air conditioning units exposed on exterior walls, Tianzifang preserves the residential impression of Shikuman, adding to its unique appeal. Its exotic bars and fashionable boutique stores are a major draw, making it a favorite spot for young people and tourists.

Shikumen is the most symbolic architectural style in Shanghai. First appearing in 1860s, it combines traditional Western and Chinese elements reflective of the metropolitan nature of Shanghai. At the height of its popularity, there were 9000 shikumen-style buildings in Shanghai, comprising 60% of the total housing stock of the city. Development of Shikumen architecture ceased after World War I and has been gradually replaced and demolished over time. To prevent the further demise of Shikumen, Tianzifang was officially proposed to be constructed in 2006. The exteriors of all Shikumen buildings remained intact, while the ground floors were renovated for business and catering usage, and the factory workshops for artists’ studios. Most residents remain in their old housings.

The renovation of Tianzifang is one of the largest restoration projects of a historical district in China. The initial plan to replace the old residential area with skyscrapers was strongly opposed by local residents and scholars. A bottom-up campaign against the real estate developers eventually gained support from the government, and the focus of the project shifted to the preservation of the Shikumenstyle architecture.

Instead of a sweeping redesign of the entire district, planners aimed to restore only parts of Tianzifang and to expand its functions, while preserving both buildings and residents. By retaining local residents while allowing for development of new commercial and touristic aspects of the community, the developers uplifted local economy and created an inclusive, mixed-function community.

To some extent, this progress reflects a general trend of cultural preservation in China in the late twentieth century. As a result of rapid economic development and a rise in consumerism, urban marketing and cultural branding has become a popular field in China over the past twenty years. Renovations of historic districts and cultural landmarks are emphasized, often through a combination of development and conservation. Architects and developers try to preserve the old-fashioned architectural styles and cultural atmospheres while redesigning the space to

The past decade has witnessed the successful outcome of this method, yet various problems have also been exposed. As more stores are built and more tourists are attracted, the balance between visitors and residents has shifted. Residential features are gradually diminishing as business functions are rapidly expanding. Stores, including pubs and restaurants with later business hours, exacerbate dissatisfactions on the part of the inhabitants. Local residents consider the late hours a violation of their rights, and countless arguments have been brought



fit new functions, but projects are often criticized as over-commercializations of local traditional culture.


up to question whether it is possible to maintain a harmonious relationship between different communities in Tianzifang. Another problem takes the form of increasing rents resulting from the area’s rapid growth, which may drive away the artists who arrived as the first group of renovators of Tianzifang. On the other hand, the business owners are restrained by limited space and poor infrastructures. Issues like fire protection, drainages and cleanliness require extra upgrades as most Shikumen buildings were constructed before electricity other modern infrastructures were embedded. Despite these issues and conflicts, Tianzifang is regarded as one of the most successful historic district restorations yet attempted. It presents a new way to preserve cultural landmarks through public participation and community engagement. Regeneration of historic districts can be a dynamic process in which local residents are continuously involved. Preserving is not equivalent to remaining completely intact; to develop does not mean to completely diminish the history of the space. The growth of Tianzifang shall always remind us of this. SHANGHAI’S TAKE ON HISTORIC REDEVELOPMENT




growth for academia learning to think big kayleigh bruentrup

“ARCHITECTURE IS THE FICTION OF THE REAL WORLD TURNING DREAMS INTO CONCRETE REALITY WITH BRICKS AND MORTAR. ARCHITECTURE IS THE CANVAS FOR THE STORIES OF OUR LIVES.” - BJARKE INGELS, FOUNDER OF BIG How often during reviews are phrases like “this could never be built” or “that’s not plausible” uttered? Too often, in my opinion. These comments are usually directed towards a student when a design reaches too far out of the box. Practicality and plausibility in architecture school becomes a hindrance to our creative abilities. Bjarke Ingels does not let existing notions of what is “impossible” in architecture dictate his creative problem solving. The founder and principal architect of BIG is internationally known for solving problems through innovative design solutions. Ingels recently released a video titled “World Craft and Promiscuous Hybrids,” in which he discusses the inspiration behind many of the ideas coming out of his firm. Ingels uses the term ‘Bigamy’ and describes it as taking “multiple desirable elements that might not fit together or even seem mutually exclusive…and merge them together into a new genre. You don’t have to remain faithful to a single idea, you can literally marry multiple ideas together into a promiscuous hybrid.” These are the types of questions and answers that should be encouraged in architecture school as a forum for research and experimentation. Examples of this exploratory approach can be seen in most BIG projects. A residential project in Copenhagen called The Mountain combines two types of living: one can live in a highrise and still have a backyard with a garden. GROWTH FOR ACADEMIA

The Amager Resource Center in Copenhagen is a waste-to-energy plant where one can ski on the top of the building, the internal technical functions of which produce rings of steam that emanate from its smokestack. BIG challenged the traditional idea of a smokestack and adapted it to become both a measurable indicator of emissions and a work of public art. This system did not exist until they made it possible by investigating and developing technology that ejects rings of steam into the sky. In the video, Ingels tells a story from when he was in architecture school: people would often ask him ‘Why are all new buildings so boring?’ Faced with the notion that “buildings are containers of space, boring and boxy,” Ingels knew they could be more than that. Ingels’ was right; architecture had become boring. Architecture shouldn’t simply be designed to contain activity; it should be a catalyst for discussion, for inspirations, for living. Students should be thinking outside the box in order to prevent boring and boxy architecture, and to challenge the status quo as BIG does. Architecture students should not be told that their ideas are impossible; rather they should be asked to figure out how to make these ideas possible. If we stick with what is comfortable then there is no room for growth. We need to challenge traditional approaches and bring academia out of the past and into the future.




bio design: intersections in science and design ryan kilpatrick

Steve Jobs once said that “the biggest innovations of the twenty-first century will be the intersection of biology and technology.” As designers, we are constantly absorbing and observing the world around us, habits that can ultimately lend us the ability to manifest our discoveries into products and practices that all can use and benefit from. The interwoven relationship of science and design has existed for centuries, having been pioneered by renaissance men such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Their application of emergent technology and invention led to speculative designs well ahead of their time. But this cross-disciplinary interest did not end with the Renaissance - rather, leaders like Peter Gallison, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, have seen recent technological advances fuel cross-disciplinary innovation. “What nanotechnology, in particular, and quantum physics have brought to designers,” Gallison says “is this renewed interest, this real passion for design. This idea of being able to build things bottom-up, atom by atom...” The influence of science on design is so ubiquitous that it can be almost impossible to distinguish the two. Consider trends such as biomimicry, cradle to cradle design, and the general realm of “green design” - all, in essence, biological approaches to design. Bio design, more specifically, refers to the integration of living organisms as constituent members contributing to the function of the final product. As a whole, bio design extends past biology-inspired designing, redrawing disciplinary boundaries and generating hybrid typologies. For architects, the questions that arise in the conversation of bio design almost always include, “Can we grow a building? And if so, how?” Though it may sound like the stuff of science fiction, a select REALLY GOING GREEN


group of speculative practitioners have dedicated their careers to finding answers to these questions. A leader in this realm is Mitchell Joachim, cofounder of the urban-ecological design firm Terreform ONE. Observing current residential building practices, Joachim has recognized the proliferance of sterile inhabitation imposed on surrounding ecosystems. Indeed, American culture seems to revolve around fabricated excess, from the McMansions we live in to the GMO foods we consume. Joachim has devised techniques addressing this lifestyle of excess that vastly limit its adverse ecological impacts. “Pleaching”, the craft of tree shaping, has long been a technique employed within the arborilogical and horticultural communities. Coupling this 2,500-year-old technique with robotics through computer-numerically-controlled technologies, Terreform ONE has developed a process by which pleaching can allow us to construct carbon-neutral homes. They call these structures “Fab Tree Habs.” The trunks of self-grafting trees establish a matrix of load-bearing armature. The branches of these trees occupy the space between, creating a continuous criss-crossing frame creating walls and roof. The outermost layer is occupied by interwoven vines and foliage which serve as a protective barrier. CNCmilled scaffolding manages to control the pleaching of the trees. This scaffolding also allows for certain control of the final geometry. Over a long period of growth [7-10 years], the branches are trained to grow across the removable plywood framework. After achieving a condition of self-stability, users can remove the plywood, which can then be reused. Fab Tree Hab is ultimately a contemporary take on an ancient practice, and one that reveals exciting and unusual concepts through the leveraging of biological processes in design practice. After exploring the growth of a structure utilizing


vegetation, Mitchell Joachim further examined growth, this time using meat in a project known as the “In Vitro Meat Habitat.” Studies that are ‘in vitro’ are performed with cells and biological material outside of their typical biological context, and have only been possible in the context of design for the past 20 years. In Vitro Meat Habitat is a proposal in which an extracellular matrix is grown from extracted cells, after which a 3D printer is used to form organic dwellings. The printed tissue then grows and matures, further strengthening the structure.

by David Benjamin, founder of The Living, HY-FI is a tower composed of 100% organic material. The vehicle of the design is mycelium (essentially the root structure for mushrooms and fungi). It consisted of an extremely dense network of rapidly growing, minute, filament. They decompose organic compounds in a soil substrate in order to feed the fungi.

Benjamin capitalized on the ability of mycelia to spread quickly and occupy a growth medium with its dense fibers. Nearly 10,000 biodegradable bricks were grown by allowing mycelia to consume agriculThe habitat leverages the hypothetical functions of tural waste placed in brick-shaped molds. This tem‘meat tectonics’. Bones serve as the principal load- porary structure was the first nearly carbon-neutral bearing structure, muscle fibers and fatty tissue project to occupy MoMA’s PS1 courtyard. By temprovide insulation, and sphincter muscles act as porarily diverting the natural carbon cycle, HY-FI was an aperture network capable of reacting to external built of nothing but earth, and after disassembly, restimuli. But this ‘meat home’ is more than just a turned to nothing but earth. Pedro Gadanho, curator bizarre experiment in design, and the innovative in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, merits of this concept are undeniable. As Joachim states, “Recurring to the latest developments in bioputs it, In Vitro Meat Habitat is a “victimless shelter” tech, it [HY-FI] reinvents the most basic component - no sentient being is harmed in the process of its of architecture - the brick - as both a material of the design or construction. Fascinating as these projects future and a classic trigger for open-ended design may be, Terreform ONE has not found innovation to possibilities.” be easy. Each project encountered technological and financial obstacles, which inhibited production That said, the fact remains that the project is built of scalable prototypes. using architecture’s most rudimentary structural element: the brick. Architecture’s continuing converMoMA’s PS1 provides an opportunity for young de- gence with science in the twenty-first century offers signers to explore truly innovative work in the field possibilities ranging from a grown meat house and a of architecture that otherwise would likely be con- mushroom tower to possibilities which have not yet sidered unfundable. This year’s project, known as been considered - an opportunity both immensely “HY-FI,” embodied this mission perfectly. Proposed exciting and immensely critical to future designers.









01. TERREFORM ONE / in vitro meat house a new typology that resulted from Mitchell joachim’s speculative investigation in the application of artificially-grown muscle tissue as a building material


02. The living / hy-fi david benjamin’s project for moma ps1; the bricks that make up the intersecting towers of the pavillion are grown from fungal root structures (mycelium) 03. in vitro meat house: detail section joachim’s proposal includes the use of bones as the primary structural element and hair as a thermal insulator


04. THE LIVING / HY-FI The mycelium towers as they stood in the moma ps1 courtyard; at the end of the summer the organic bricks were composted in queens



05. MYCELIUM BRICKS mycelium molds and bricks used to construct the hy-fi pavillion by the living for the 2014 MOMa ps1 young architects program 06. FAB TREE HAB prototype terreform one’s prototypical organic structure to support and guide the growth of a habitable shelter


07. TERREFORM ONE / FAB TREE HAB a rendering of a community of terreform one’s fab tree habs - habitable shelters grown on top of an organic structure





Two years ago Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, leaving a trail of unforeseen destruction. Millions were left without power in a region that, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority, suffered $4.75 billion in damages to public infrastructure alone. Within New York City, over 80% of schools were deemed inoperable and 30,000 to 40,000 citizens were without housing. In the face of such destruction, architects must critically assess their obligations to both society and environment. Are architects, as skilled professionals, obligated to aid in disaster recovery? If so, what is the nature of this obligation? Beyond immediate recovery, what is the architect’s responsibility to implement lasting reconstruction? Finally, are these considerations mere ethics or should they be the guiding principles of design? A clear answer requires a firm distinction between temporary and permanent solutions. Perhaps the most basic and obvious temporary solution is the canvas tent, ubiquitous on the evening news. The cheap canvas tents are erected as a response to both natural disasters and violent conflicts; they currently are the primary component of the huge Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey. Uncomfortable, cramped, and without amenities we take for granted (toilets, electricity), these tents embody the idea of temporary. The inhabitant, forced to eke out survival day to day, is unable to make the long-term professional and personal goals afforded to those with permanent housing. The tents embody the three traditional characteristics of temporary housing: they are cheap, easy to erect, and lack basic amenities. Architects, through experimentation and applied knowledge, are ARCHITECTURE OF TRANSITION


challenged with developing solutions that fulfill the first two requirements without sacrificing basic amenities. It is a challenge that far too few architects have addressed. The existence of the Gehry’s Bilbao and the canvas tent typology within the same era seems counterintuitive: if architects can experiment with wildly-twisting forms and facades, why are they unable to apply the same level of experimentation to disaster relief? Temporary solutions are inherently suited to experimentation, as their lower cost and erection time allow for more iteration at a lower risk. Sophia Vyzoviti’s work exemplifies how new materials and form can result in comfortable temporary housing. For a 2008 competition in Thessaloniki, Greece, Vyzoviti constructed a pleated tent made of layers of cardboard, Tectan, and insulation. Pleats give the tent structural stability, which is reinforced by the honeycomb pattern of the interior layer of cardboard. The design thus uses geometry rather than a traditional frame to create a livable space with a large footprint. By using geometry, Vyzoviti has also created a design that can be easily folded and shipped, much like origami. Flexibility of the materials allows for the pleats to be manipulated so that the south-facing pleats invite warm air into the tent, enabling thermal comfort in the winter. Vyzoviti’s design may have been inspired by the work of Shigeru Ban, winner of the 2014 Pritzker Prize. Ban is considered a pioneer in what is often referred to as “disaster architecture.” Unlike many of his contemporaries, Ban emphasizes the materiality and cost-effectiveness of structure over its form. The resulting solutions are often far from glamorous, leading peers to critique his works as lacking a clear aesthetic signature. But it is this very simplicity that makes his designs so brilliant. A tent


vyzoviti’s temporary shelter folds flat for easy shipping and expands to accommodate multiple persons comfortably

designed for Rwandan refugees in 1999 consisted of only two components: a standard UN plastic tarp and a network of paper tubes cheap enough to be massproduced quickly, and durable enough to withstand local wind conditions. Both Ban and Vyzoviti are unique in that they acknowledge the critical role of site in temporary architecture. Too often, temporary solutions are uniformly applied to various different contexts, creating more problems than solutions. The UN’s initial response to the Rwandan genocide illustrates the failure of applying a single design to all geographic and climatic contexts. Originally, the organization supplied refugees with aluminum poles to support their tents, not taking into account the value of aluminum and the extreme poverty of the refugees. Instead of using the poles for shelter, the refugees sold the poles and cut down surrounding forests for supports, contributing to already severe deforestation. Ban’s structural system of cardboard tubes reduced deforestation as well as the shipping cost of aluminum poles. Likewise, Vyzoviti’s pleated design is determined by the climate and ARCHITECTURE OF TRANSITION

sun’s orientation on the site in order to provide better thermal comfort. The work of Vyoviti and Ban demonstrate that temporary architecture is as much grounded in site and culture as permanent works. Temporary architecture, like all meaningful work, requires analysis. Ban’s work in particular challenges the traditional role of temporary architecture. His Cardboard Cathedral, built as a response to a 2011 earthquake in New Zealand, forces one to reexamine the possibilities for temporary structures. The 6.3 earthquake that struck the town of Christchurch, New Zealand damaged over 1,000 buildings in the Central Business District, including the historic John the Baptist Cathedral. Working pro-bono with the local firm Warren and Mahoney, Ban designed a temporary church for the congregation made of shipping crates and cardboard tubes. Due to the availability and relatively low cost of the materials, the church was the first major civic building to reopen after the quake, and also the most controversial. The Cardboard Cathedral fundamentally challenges



the basic tenants of temporary architecture, namely its relative impermanence and low cost. At the expense of $4.61 million, the church is exponentially more expensive than typical tents (yet still much less expensive than a traditional church). However, one could argue that its contribution to the community significantly outweighs its cost. With a ceiling height of 69 feet and space to seat 700, the cathedral has been the site of community ceremonies, concerts, and services since opening in 2012. It is open to the public 7 days a week, 365 days of the year and has become one of the major tourist attractions for the city. In 2013, Lonely Planet named the Cardboard Cathedral one of the top ten places to visit and it was featured in a 2014 New York Times travel article.

if this vote would be different today. Would the voters of Christchurch be more willing to invest in temporary structures after the astounding success of the Cardboard Cathedral?

The church forces one to question what “temporary solutions” are and what they have the potential to become. Innovative architects can and should design for potential future uses without undermining the immediacy and low cost of a temporary solution. The lifespan of these solutions is determined by their ability to offer amenities suited to a stable society. In the case of the Cardboard Cathedral, this amenity is a large, well-lit gathering center. In Vyoviti’s work, the spacious interior and thermal comfort provided to the inhabitant enhances the structure’s potential The Church’s controversy arose from its status as lifespan. temporary. Insurance money from the quake was denied to the diocese of John the Baptist to erect This approach to building need not be limited to a temporary structure in place of the previous stone immediate disaster relief. Temporary structures have church. The church’s annual stipend of $240,000 for the potential to facilitate rapid urban growth and maintenance costs was also unanimously denied by redevelopment. This approach is well suited to New city council. Clearly, the taxpayers of Christchurch Orleans, a city still characterized by post-Katrina did not want to invest in a structure that may or may destruction. The work done by Make-It-Right, while not become part of the city fabric. Yet one wonders commendable, only illustrates how traditional

ban’s simple temporary shelter

conditions in refugee camps like these could be improved drastically with more humane, climate-specific shelters


cardboard cathedral, shigeru ban + warren & mahoney

building methods are too slow and costly to allow for large-scale redevelopment. New, state-of-theart homes by the likes of MVRDV, Eskew + Dumez + Ripple, and Ban himself sit adjacent to vacant lots in the Lower Ninth Ward, creating not so much a feeling of community as a network of scattered, isolated units. Basic infrastructures, such as post offices, remain nonexistent in the area. Why not build these structures following Ban’s methodology for Christchurch Cathedral? Lower initial costs would encourage potential investors as well as establish a precedent for future development. Temporary structures could be phased out as needed or remain for the duration of their natural lifespan. ARCHITECTURE OF TRANSITION

Too often architects allow perfection to get in the way of the very good. The quest for the perfect permanent solution prevents one designers exploring the possibilities of the temporary and stretching the boundaries of this typology. Through experimentation, architects can develop entirely new structures that can function both within an immediate and a longterm context. This architecture is neither entirely permanent nor temporary, but rather transitional. As such, it is not limited by the constraints of either type, but rather only by one’s creativity.



contributors KATHERINE ALLEN is a thesis student at TSA and Co-Editor of the Charrette. She’d like to visit Milford Sound, but fomer Yugoslavian war zones are chill, too. HANNAH BAHNEY is a third year student at TSA and helped locate images for this issue. She’d like to be relaxing on a beach.

MAGDA MAGIERSKI is a first year student at TSA who worked on graphics, including the cover of this issue. She likes to spend her free time listening to One Direction.

ERIC BETHANY is a thesis student at TSA and the Editor-in-Chief of the Charrette. If he could be anywhere right now, he’d be on the beach with his dog.

CHESLEY McCARTY is a third year student from Huntsville, Alabama, and is Co-Editor of the Charrette. She’d like to be enjoying a bottle of wine and a mountain vista.

KAYLEIGH BRUENTRUP is a thesis student at TSA, and contributed an opinion piece for this issue. In her free time she can be found doing “anything with cats.”

GIANNA MORELLI is in her fourth year at TSA and wrote an article for this issue. Her favorite free-time activity is reading mystery novels.

SHIRLEY CHEN is a first year student originally from Fuzhou, Fujian, China. Shirley contributed and article and photos to the issue.

SAM NAYLOR contributed an opinion piece from Copenhagen, where he is spending the fall semester of his fourth year at TSA. When he’s not working he can be found adding to his expansive Instagram portfolio.

JOHN COYLE (TSA ‘13) is an Americorps VISTA Fellow at the Tulane City Center. When he’s not helping to revitalize derelict neighborhoods, he can be found tending his herbs. JAKE GAMBERG is a fifth year thesis student from Long Island who worked on graphics for this issue. If he could be doing anything right now, he’d CAMILLE HENINGER is a first year student from Alaska who helped edit the articles in this issue. She’s still adjusting to not living in an igloo.


RYAN KILPATRICK is in his fifth year at TSA. If he weren’t busy working on his thesis, he’d be on the nearest golf course.

JESSICA ROY is in her first year at TSA and edited several articles in this issue. Her obsession with Captain America takes up the majority of her free time. SELINA WABL is in her first year at TSA, and contributed an article and worked on layout. She’d be at Oktoberfest if she didn’t have to be at school. KELSEY WILLIS is a first year student from Washington state who wrote and worked on graphics. She likes to spend her free time baking and consuming cookies.

CREDITS GENTRI-FRIED the line between growth and destruction all images available via Google images under Creative Commons license TOO MUCH! a comment on the crisis of over-growth Cloud City image courtesy of; Six Flags New Orleans image courtesy of Flickr user Kim Hill RENAISSANCE: OC HALEY generating new life for a cultural hot spot elevation image by Katherine Allen; images courtesy of John Coyle, New Orleans Public Library, and the Louisiana Weekly MICHAEL WOLF documenting the urban condition all images courtesy of TIANZIFANG Shanghai’s take on historic redevelopment images by Shirley Chen GROWTH FOR ACADEMIA learning to think BIG images taken from “Worldcraft” video by Bjarke Ingels Group REALLY GOING GREEN bio design: intersections in science and design Fab Tree Hab and In Vitro Meat House images courtesy of Terreform One; Hy-Fi by David Benjamin/The Living images courtesy of the Huffington Post,, and ARCHITECTURE OF TRANSITION the creative potential of temporary shelters Vyzoviti shelter images courtesy of Archinect and Flickr user KAM Workshops; Ban shelter image courtesy of the Japan Times; refugee camp image courtesy of; Cardboard Cathedral image courtesy of ArchDaily


tulane university school of architecture


Profile for thecharrette

theCharrette October 2014  

GROWTH - the October 2014 edition of Tulane University School of Architecture's student-run publication.

theCharrette October 2014  

GROWTH - the October 2014 edition of Tulane University School of Architecture's student-run publication.