Page 1

“ theCharrette

february 2010

Why pulling an all-nighter doesn’t work. Alexandra Bojarski-Stauffer

The college system of getting by on three or four hours of sleep during the week and crashing for twelve hours on weekends doesn’t work. You may think that staying up all night to finish a project or study for a test will simply give you a few more hours to get the job done. But the reality is, when you starve your brain of sleep, it does not retain the information you learned during the day. Think about it. You stay up all night memorizing terms for a test and after a few days, all the information you had memorized during the “all-nighter” faded away. The fact of the matter is that by staying up all night, you never let your brain process and store the data properly in your memory circuits.

See your brain works kind of like a computer. Say you were working on a large project (on a PC and auto save didn’t exist). If you leave the computer on long enough eventually the computer will freeze and you will lose the information you worked on. In order for your brain to properly process the information you received throughout the day you need to let it properly “shut down,” that is get six to eight hours of rest, not four or five. The sort of sleeping you do at the beginning of a night’s sleep, and the sort you do at the end are different, and both are required for efficient learning. The first two hours of sleeping are spent in deep sleep, what psychiatrists call slow wave sleep. During this time, information that has been gathered during the day in the memory center of the brain, the hippocampus, is transferred to the cortex, the outer covering of the brain where long-term memories are stored. This process preserves experience for future reference, like moving information in a computer from active memory to the hard drive. Without sleep, this information will be lost and long term learning cannot occur. Over the next few hours the cortex sorts through the information it has received, distributing it to various networks. Particular connections between nerve cells become strengthened as memories are preserved, a process that is thought to require the manufacture of new proteins, which is a slow process. If you halt this process before it is complete, the day’s memories do not get fully transcribed and you don’t remember all that you would have, had you allowed the pro-

cess to continue to completion. Quick hour long naps simply do not get the job done. The last two hours of a night’s “uninterrupted” sleep are spent in rapid-eye-movement or rem sleep. This is the best part of the night, where dreams occur. The brain shuts down the connection to the hippocampus and runs through the data it has stored over the previous hours. This process is important to learning as it strengthens the many connections between the nerve cells where new memory is stored. The brain goes over the information it has learned, repeating it, like a child would to memorize a new definition. This is why many people have repeating dreams, or dreams that occur over and over again, with slight variations of each dream, within one sleep. Dreams however are not stored like memory. For this reason even though everyone actually dreams, not everyone remembers it when they wake up. So the next time you want to cram for a test or stay up all night working on a project, think about how your brain will function the next day. The fact of the matter is it won’t. So if you don’t want a head full of slush, manage your time well, and be consistent in getting a good night’s rest, to the best of your ability. It will be better in the long run…like when you get a job at a firm and need to remember the maximum clear spans for C16 grade softwood. Or you could just be a doof and google it, but that won’t look too good when you boss walks by.

K EILLIN partnership City Center Grant


Outside the Studio


TSA Rennovations


Tulane City Center_$1 Million Grant It’s official now. Compliments of a $1,000,000 anonymous grant, the City Center is now a big (well, bigger) deal. Although meager in office space and fulltime staff, the Tulane City Center, TSA’s “Applied Urban Research and Outreach Program,” has had a far reaching impact in the greater New Orleans area for several years now. With projects ranging from URBANbuild, which has now become its own entity, to the schematic design of health centers and even urban farms, the City Center has been working and building with the community almost completely under the local radar. However, thanks to a marketing push, consisting of eloquent lectures and catchy project booklets, beginning about one year ago, the City Center is now receiving some of the recognition that it rightfully deserves. Emilie Taylor and Dan Etheridge (currently on leave at home in Australia) running most day to day operations and Scott Bernhard directing the fund-raising and public relation efforts, the City Center has amassed a portfolio of work that incorporates numerous community organizations, motivated teachers, and hundreds of student workers. This body of work, along with the efforts of Scott Bernhard and Dean Kenneth Schwartz, has led directly to a $1 million gift donated by an anonymous source. Due to the anonymity, the school can be thankful that there will be no re-branding of the organization as the Goldberg-Woldenring City Center, or anything of the sort. Unfortunately there will be no celebration with stacks of Benjamins, as the donation is paid over 10 years and the funds are generously directed to the community projects. The grant will be used for two distinct projects each year: a “visioning document,” and a design/ build project. The visioning document will provide schematic design and phasing strategies for local community organizations looking to expand or renovate. The design/build project is equally open-ended, suggesting that the donor, although modest, does indeed desire physical results from the grant. For both project types, the City Center will send out a Request for Proposals from local organizations, and will select via an advisory group which projects to



Kristian Mizes

pursue. Simultaneously, the City Center will also send out a Request for Qualifications to faculty members, who will essentially apply to lead grant-funded projects. This is important to students as well because whenever new projects are added to the City Center agenda, new positions for student workers open up as well. Although there will be no official request sent to the student body, the City Center is always accepting applications, whether verbal or printed, from interested students. To be clear, any students interested in working with the City Center need simply to stop by the office (located in Room #403 on the 4th floor near the 1st year studio) and let Emilie Taylor know of your desire to be involved. As would be expected, the grant provides the City Center with a new found sense of financial comfort. Although $1 million may not go far in terms of actual construction, it does allow the City Center to take on a new and perhaps its most important client: itself. Of specific interest is a new project entitled Scale Shift that has barely begun. Although there is no direct link between the recent grant and this specific project, one can speculate that internally funding a large-scale project would be impossible without a significant cash reserve. Scale Shift is a speculative higherdensity multi-family housing project consisting of three faculty groups each working on one of three, urban sites. This project provides a provocative indication in reference to the future ideological direction of the organization. For one, the focus on high-density housing indicates TSA’s new approach to the thinking of “URBANbuild Macro,” the larger scaled side of URBANbuild that has scaled back since the departure of former Associate Dean Ila Berman in 2007. Given that the school has successfully voiced its opinion on single family housing in New Orleans via four student-built houses, the time has come for the school to project its stance within the realm of the multi-family affordable housing conversation. Additionally, through suggesting prototypes for high-density housing (4-20 units) on specific sites, the City Center has the opportu-

nity to take their proposals to developers for construction consideration. While it remains doubtful that the City Center would become a non-profit housing developer, an expanded role for the organization does seem likely. Given the City Center’s current dependence on grants and donations, the project suggests that alternative and more sustainable means of funding may indeed be plausible. Where the City Center will go from here, who knows. Community architecture champion? Perhaps. Full-fledged housing developer? Perhaps. Likely. Whichever route they choose, the efforts of the group cannot be commended enough, and TSA can be assured that given the City’s Center financial success in this economic climate, their stock is only on the rise.

image and front page logo courtesy of Tulane City Center. CAREER FAIR

Over a dozen firms have confirmed. Currenrly registered firms include:

Eskew Dumez Ripple - New Orleans Trahan Architects Concordia - New Orleans Mathes Brierre - New Orleans Perez APC - New Orleans Rugo Raff - Chicago NBBJ - Seattle Performance Architecture - New Orleans Manning Architects - New Orleans Trapolin Architects - New Orleans and a handfull of others...

Outside the Studio_Jade Jiambutr It’s no surprise that architecture school attracts a diverse range of creative-minded students, students who come from a variety of artistic backgrounds. Inherently, “studio culture” itself relies upon the pre-existing skills and portfolios of its students who create a hub of innovative energy that fuels our education. Unfortunately, the grueling demands of studio deadlines and reviews can eclipse our desires to express ourselves in other mediums and we often risk falling prone to “plan, section, elevation,” isolation. This column aims to seek out the rare student that strays from their drawing board to pursue other artistic interests, interests that inspire and sculpt their architectural identity. Third year Jade Jiambutr has an interesting background in music, stemming from his early childhood in Bangkok where his father “forced me to take piano lessons.”Jade’s rebellion soon turned to passion as he approached middle school and started experimenting with a multitude of instruments, specifically guitar. As his interest in music matured throughout high school, Jade began collaborating as the bass player with his current rock band, Ghost Story. According to Jade, the band seeks inspiration from everyday life in Thailand. “Dealing with traffic, rushing to work, and those bottled up feelings about, you know, living in a big city.” He says the band has moved passed their early emo/hardcore phase, and has become a “collage of different sounds and ideas” within the rock genre.

Hannah Ambrose

Due to his considerable workload and commitment to TSA’s architecture program, Jade is only able to practice and play shows with his band over Tulane holidays. While he’s at school, Ghost Story uses a temporary bassist, but keeps Jade updated by sending him new material online. When asked if his music is reflected in his architectural work, Jade responded, “Yeah, I think it definitely works that way. But also, being here helps my music because I’ve been exposed to, and I’m developing, a good sense of design. I think the design process applies to any creative field.” In addition to his instrumental success, Jade has developed a reputation for his sketching and watercolor. If you (or anyone you know at TSA) have a passion that inspires your work as a student, please feel free to contact Hannah Ambrose at .

Three Questions Every issue a member of theCharrette staff will go around TSA and ask three students a question which the staff finds pertinent to current issues within the school. Question: What would be the most effective way to get students to work in studio? Answers: Ross Kelley, 4th year Require the production of more physical models.

Michael Welsh, 3rd year Make studio a more comfortable working environment.

image from Ghosty Story album John Nelson, 2nd year Create incentives for people to work in studio rather than restrictions on working elsewhere.

Opinion Poll Which do you prefer to spend your long nights with?



Mac 45%

Mac 42 votes PC

52 votes





March 1 Thesis midterm reviews March 1 – 2nd year final review, dorm project March 5 – ACSA Conference March 8 - Dana Buntrock, TSA ‘81 Lecture, 6PM March 10 – 3rd year mid review March 11-14 - AIAS South Quad Conference, UH March 12 – 3rd year mid-review March 15 – Douglas Darden Exhibition March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day March 19 – Susan Monaco Lecture, Noon March 19 – Career Fair, Qatar Ballroom March 22 – Errol Barron Tsa ’64 lecture March 22 – mid-review 2nd year March 24 – mid-review, 2nd year March 27- April 5- Spring Break



Hub Hobby Shop 3829 Airline Drive Metairie, LA 504-828-6868

9:30 am to 5:15 pm Closed Wednesdays and Sundays

“The men behind the models.”

Richardson Memorial Renovations The renovation of Richardson Memorial Hall has become TSA’s newest project. The premise of the project was simple: relocate staff offices from the 4th floor to the ground floor and make the computer lab more accessible to the student community. To undertake this process the able team of Professors Irene Keil and Tiffany Lin began to programmatically find design solutions. Keil/Lin faced a unique problem: a large client base including Dean Kenneth Schwartz, the faculty, and the students all with differing opinions. In order to best serve the community the process needed to be open to everyone to see and voice their opinions. This project was just recently found possible with work done by Dean Schwartz. John Wettermark, Tulane alumnus, was signed on as the architect of record and has now become a fully integrated member of the design team along with Keil/Lin. After looking at various precedents such as a renovation done at University of Virginia, Dean Schwartz’s previous school, the team worked through many solutions and schemes until they were presented at the school-wide town hall meeting. With this the democratic process unfolded with the Tulane community voting on the versions they felt best suited for the school. Although many of these votes and opinions were conflicting views there became a clear favorite in a centralized forth floor computer lab with pin-up space on either side and offices on the ground floor. This scheme’s proposal of classroom/pin up space will better suit design critique and review processes. An unofficial time schedule puts construction starting immediately after graduation and finishing a week before school starts in Fall 2010.

Eric Baumgartner











LABÊ1 16



LABÊ2 1 1


LABÊ3 27














RM 101









Proposed Ground Plan

images courtesy of Irene Keil and Tiffany Lin.



Letter to the Edtor


Over the past year, many students and faculty have looked forward to the opening of the McAlister Place Pedestrian Mall. The administration had promised an end to vehicular traffic on the most important axis within the campus. As we continued and continued to await the opening of the new eco-friendly walkway, it became very apparent that things were not as green as we were led to believe. First came the demolition of the historic Anthropology Building in order to provide replacement parking. Next, foreign palm trees were introduced to a traditionally planned oak alee on Freret Street. The final straw occurred when the campus was intoxicated under the thick, greasy smell of fresh asphalt. Many students had assumed that McAlister Place would be paved with an eco-friendly permeable material, rather than a product which employs petroleum in its production. As the asphalt was poured under the helpless eye of the student body, the past nine months of construction seemed utterly paradoxical: nothing changed. Architecture students cringed. The Tulane University Administration had hired a developer who utilized potentially foreign oil to pave over the central portion of campus. Meanwhile, the biggest source of energy on this side of the Persian Gulf sat untapped- the university’s own students. Imagine a design competition where the students are called on to design their own campus. Surely the creativity and resourcefulness would be immense. I call on the university to allow every new construction on campus to be open to a design competition. In the meantime, who else has seen the newest dorm plans? They are located in the LBC lobby. All I want to know is, when’s the review?

From the entire Charrette staff and myself, I am happy to present the first issue of the 2010 spring semester. This issue is special in many ways. Since its inception in 2006, theCharrette has greatly changed and has now entered a new phase. We have evolved into an independent study class, in which our editors and staff members can now earn credit hours in return for their dedicated work. This gives our staff recognition for their hard work but provides an incentive for others to get involved too. The new staff members share a passion in journalism and freedom of speech in the architectural realm. I enjoy the potential of debate that writing can produce in a design-based profession and I look forward to how this plays out in theCharrette. Our staff brings their own unique backgrounds of experience at many levels to help make theCharrette a force within TSA, more than it ever has. Changes are occurring rapidly. As we search for an identity that defines theCharrette, an influx of ideas comes our way; we must sift through them to find the optimum balance of content. Thanks to the generous support of Dean Schwartz through the Dean’s Funds for Excellence, we have an operating budget for our journalistic needs and fuel for generating discussion and critique within TSA. Dean Schwartz said it best during a conversation I had with him last semester. “Diversity equals success.” This arose in the context of our outstanding faculty, but it can be applied to what theCharrette strives for: diversity of self, diversity of thought, and diversity of ideas. We want to do things differently and that starts with who we bring aboard as writers and staff. Thanks to the guidance of Dean Gamard and the supervision of our faculty advisor Professor Robert Gonzalez, we have forceful backing to achieve this goal. Please do not hesitate to contact me at I want to hear any and all opinions. Let us know how we’re doing.

Arthur Ostrowski


kevin michniok, eic ian o’cain brian sulley

Kevin Michniok, eic


hannah ambrose mira asher eric baumgartner xiaoyun li kristian mizes


travis bost arthur ostrowski alexandra bojarski-stauffer

Profile for thecharrette

February 2010 Issue  

TheCharrette staff presents the February 2010 issue

February 2010 Issue  

TheCharrette staff presents the February 2010 issue