Page 1

theCharrette tulane school of architecture January 2014


We are students interested in contemplating what it means to study architecture in a city as unique as New Orleans. The potential of journalism within the realm of architecture allows us to research, investigate, and theorize the future direction of design in a highly impactful profession. Due to the well-positioned nature of Tulane School of Architecture within both the larger architecture community and the city, we have powerful resources at our disposal and students who represent differing backgrounds - all converging to form what we call theCharrette. theCharrette is critical, interdisciplinary, and a positive force. It communicates and makes bold assertions. It creates a culture of debate and a voice for which we bring forth our agenda: a medium of ideas uniting in the form of a magazine.





I am thrilled to present this January 2014 issue of theCharrette. After quite a lengthy hiatus, theCharrette is back in action and ringing in the New Year with one of our longest and most diverse issues to date. We have had a number of significant changes, including the graduation of our long standing Editor in Chief Kevin Michniok. I would like to personally thank him for the energy, dedication and heart he has put into this journal throughout his career at Tulane. He has given me tremendous insight and knowledge and has been a great colleague. I am honored to walk in his footsteps as the new Editor in Chief this year. This issue brings with it a diverse set of topics and writers extending beyond the School of Architecture. While maintaining an architectural focus, this issue tackles a broader discussion of the arts and how art can interplay with other academic fields such as psychology, philanthropy, and philosophy. We hope to not only bring to light the important role of architecture in every discipline,


but to show the vast connections between architecture and the rest of the world. The writers for this issue come from a variety of majors - architecture, political economy, environmental science, and dance. In fact, exactly half of our writers and editors are representing schools at Tulane other than architecture. Our writers and editors are also from all over the country. We believe that maintaining and encouraging this diversity of perspective is paramount to a creating a well-rounded issue. I want to draw your attention to a number of pieces addressing current New Orleans issues, such as transportation and the urban/rural divide. I also want to highlight our international focused articles coming from students who have recently gone abroad. Thank you for your support! Past issues are available at:







instagram unedited













subtly stark




transport design







Beggers Point | Portland, OREGON Frederiksberg, DENMARK






Last year, bicycles outsold automobiles in twenty-five of the twenty-seven member countries of the European Union. As car sales in Europe reached a twenty-year low, consumers in parts of Europe were buying bikes over cars at rates of up to five-to-one. Europe is not the only one with a new affinity for two-wheeled transportation; in the U.S., “Last year, bicycles the numoutsold automobiles ber of bike in twenty-five of the trips taken twenty-seven countries by 16-34 in the European Union.” year olds increased by 24% in the last decade. People increasingly choose bicycles over cars, and this trend has not gone unnoticed by designers. As bicycles prove a more prevalent and preferred method of transport, architects and designers are choosing to incorporate two-wheeled transport into both their projects and the evolving urban fabric. It is now a documented trend that global populations are moving back into the city, and in the process chasing new jobs, entertainment, and modern amenities. New urban densities require more efficient and eco-friendly modes of transport—more people choose public transportation, their feet, or bicycles to get from A to B, rather than waste time and money sitting on clogged freeways. Bicycles compromise the autonomy and freedom provided by a car with the efficiency and cleanliness of mass transit or walking. Local bicycle advocacy groups unite and mobilize growing bicycle communities until governments take notice and implement bicycle-oriented legislature and infrastructure. Currently, cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam serve as the models for functional urban bicycle centers,

with bicycle modal shares, the percentage of travelers using bicycles for transport, around 26% and 38%. In these cities, local government have recognized the value of investing in bike lanes and paths; they have created reserved “bicycle highways” that allow commuters to enter cities from outlying suburban areas on paved paths. Australian architect, professor, and avid cyclist Steven Fleming believes that most cities are already capable of a large-scale transition to cycle-centric transportation, given the support and resources. Fleming’s theory, as explained in his book Cycle Space: Architecture and Urban Design in the Age of the Bicycle, proposes that as cities transition from manufacturing-based to service-based economies, networks of unused brownfield sites and former industrial transportation networks remain. He suggests that these sites could be converted into vi“...Former industrial brant, transportation networks green corridors remain that could be for cyclists converted into vibrant, and pedesgreen corridors for cytrians, ones clists and pedestrians...” that are removed from the dangers of conventional roads. Designers in New Orleans, whether they are aware of Fleming’s research or not, are already putting these ideas into practice. Two projects, the Lafitte Corridor Connection and the Reinventing the Crescent initiative, are currently working to connect and revitalize pieces of the city’s dormant postindustrial landscape to create linear greenways that provide safe routes for bicycle commuters, among other programs.

Harbour of Anzio | Lazio, ITALY


These projects represent large-scale incorporation of cycling into a mobile network of a city, but how are designers considering bicycles in projects of a smaller scale? In order to thrust bicycles into the mainstream as the modernists of the early twentieth century did for cars, Fleming proposes that today’s architects consider bicycles in the same way that Le Corbusier embraced cruise ships, airplanes, and automobiles. In Europe, architecture firms like Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have been designing with bicycles in mind for years. Based in Copenhagen, Bjarke Ingels and his team are acutely aware of the logistical, formal, and organizational implications of bicycle-mount“Fleming proposes that architects of today consider ed occupants, bicycles in the same way that and have applied Le Corbusier embraced cruisethis knowledge and experience ships, airplanes, and automo- with success in a biles...” number of their projects. In their 2008 housing project 8-House, gentle slopes were used to allow cyclists to ascend all ten floors of the building with ease, with the front of each housing unit facing this common path. In 2010 BIG created what is recognized as the purest expression of bicycleoriented architecture to date, the Danish pavilion for the Shanghai EXPO 2010. The pavilion featured a double helix of ramps curled around


a central water feature. The dual ramps allow for both walking and riding, but are intended for visitors to ascend to the roof of the pavilion and mount one of 1,500 donated city cruisers; after, they can ride gently down the ramp to the ground level, exit, and pedal to the other pavilions at the expo. The pavilion is conceptually and formally driven to facilitate and glorify bicycle transportation as both an environ- “The pavilion is conceptually, mentally responsible formally, and organizationally driven to facilitate and and experientially glorify bicycle transportaprofound method of conveyance. In tion...” the U.S., KGP Design Studio in Washington, D.C. has created several works of cycle-oriented design, most notably the Union Station Bicycle Transit Center in the nation’s capital, which features a bicycle-inspired form and material palette. New Orleans seems poised for a breakthrough for bicycle transportation. The local cyclist community has grown from a counterculture movement to include more mainstream riders; they are represented by several advocacy groups, most notably Bike Easy. Founded in 2003, Bike Easy works to promote bicycle safety and education in New Orleans by providing guides, maps, and communication channels.



They sponsor regular events, such as their annual bicycle second line, and are active at many local events, most recently providing a bicycle valet services at the 2013 Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival. Bike Easy’s efforts have resulted in drastic improvements to local bicycle infrastructure, recognition for the city by the League of American Cyclists, and a strong image for cycling in the city. Their annual Bike Map and Guide to Safe Cycling, as well as their interactive Incident Map, prove invaluable tools for local cyclists. The presence of a strong advocacy group, coupled with promising new projects such as the Lafitte Corridor Connection and Reinventing the Crescent, points to a bright future for New Orleans as a leader among U.S. cities with high bicycle modal shares. However, not everyone views the bicycle as the answer to changing transportation needs. Calcutta, India, one of the world’s largest cities, recently banned cyclists from using many of the city’s major thoroughfares during the day. In a city where around 2.5 million bicycle trips are made per day, this means thousands of people must risk arrest to get to work or go home. Officials claim that city’s infrastructure is overwhelmed by the myriad of vehicles that descend upon it every day, and that removing cyclists from roads will increase safety and decrease congestion. However, the sheer number of cyclists makes the law

hard to enforce, and many riders simply ignore the law. Calcutta’s case is an anomaly; in many other major urban centers, cyclist populations are growing and flourishing, and architects, designers, and urban planners pride themselves on recognizing and embracing these rising trends. They have started to consider bicycle infrastructure not as supplementary features in their projects, but as guiding principles or primary inspira“As fuel prices continue tion for their to rise and global climate work. As fuel prices contin- change becomes more apue to rise and parent, it is likely that the bicycle will occupy a promiglobal climate change nent position among modes becomes of transport.” more apparent, it is likely that the bicycle will occupy a prominent position among modes of transport; as a result, design projects of all scales will need to accommodate cyclists and their equipment. In Steven Fleming’s vision, designer bicycles will take the place of luxury cars as enviable material possessions, and cities will be threaded with a network of green mobility corridors. Post-industrial cities like New Orleans are primed for such a transition; it is the job of advocacy groups like Bike Easy, local governments, and architects and designers to facilitate the change.


HOT DOG STAND, City Center | Copenhangen, DENMARK





This past semester, Tulane allowed me the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Copenhagen, often referred to affectionately as the pearl of Scandinavia. After my flat mates and I got settled in our new apartment in the intre by, the center city, we decided to go out on our first excursion, a “leisurely” bike ride to the Danish Architecture Center. After mere minutes, I found “Danes themselves cannot seem to fully explain why they myself trailing breathlessly are consistently ranked, both behind our RA as muddy at the individual and national, puddles of melting snow levels, among the top contend- sprayed up beside me; the ten of us struggled for ers in overall “happiness.” seven long miles to keep up behind her, like cute but clueless ducklings. The burning sensation in my palms finally forced me to stop, and as I shivered on the side of the road, I thought to myself, “How can this place be consistently ranked as one of the happiest nations on

Earth? It gets dark at three in the afternoon, and my fingers and toes are frozen and have been for the last week. No one even looks happy.” Frustrated, I got back on my bike and struggled to catch up with the group. This far away wonderland of Scandinavia has remained a hot topic of discussion for years; images quickly come to mind of tall men and women in casual dress, happily biking in the early spring chill to work, their three adorable, blonde children in tow outfitted in matching snowsuits. While this image is not so far off, it is certainly not always the status quo. After receiving an assignment in my Positive Psychology course to find the missing piece to the ‘Danish happiness’ puzzle, I took matters into my own hands and hit the streets. I approached strangers and posed the question to them, hoping to get some solid answers. “This” a man mumbled his

8TALLET, Ørestad | Copenhagen, DENMARK

answer to my question, his mouth full of warm, chocolaty goodness and his half-eaten pastry in hand, “is what makes Danes happy.” The concept of Danish well-being is one which people question across the world, but even the Danes themselves cannot seem to fully explain why they are consistently ranked, both at the individual and national levels, among the top contenders in terms of overall ‘happiness.’ Some believe the ratings have to do with the homogeneity of the population - the fact that everyone appears ethnically alike; others argue that the ratings simply reflect low expectations. Regardless of the theories, the survey results remain firm in what they posit to the public: the Danes truly are of a happier breed. Therefore, the question becomes not if Denmark is in fact the happiest country on Earth, but rather, why is this so?

After walking around during my first few weeks abroad in search of signs of overt joy, I found myself in a state of consistent disappointment. The Danes certainly do not smile or laugh more often than one would expect of any other nationality. In fact, I would argue that they exhibit these positive emotional qualities even less frequently than Americans do.


VM MOUNTAIN, Ørestad | Copenhagen, DENMARKAY

The scales used to measure these qualities cross-culturally, however, are not based simply on the display of positive emotions; statistics base them on “Denmark build a system over an overall sense 100 years ago, which allows citi- of well-being zens the ability to live a simple and community life with guaranteed security health. The Galand a sense of trust in the gov- lup World Poll ernment.� includes the following wellbeing categories: satisfaction with career, social relationships, financial stability, and community involvement: all of which are accounted for in Danish culture. While Americans seem to debate constantly topics such as assistance for those living in poverty and healthcare insurance, wasting valuable time and energy, Denmark built a system over 100 years ago, which allows citizens the ability to live a simple life with guaranteed security and a sense of trust in the government. Throughout their years in school, schools and parents encourage Danish children to try new things and to explore their personal strengths and talents. This type of schooling enables students to prosper in areas where they thrive, allowing them to seek out a career early on which matches their abilities and allows them to pursue work which provides them with personal meaning. In Denmark, 50 percent of employees in the work force are extremely satisfied with their job, and 45 percent are moderately satisfied; only a miniscule fraction of the population find

their jobs to bring little satisfaction in their lives. Low unemployment rates and high social security also play a role in making day-to-day life far more enjoyable. While this might come as a shock to some, to those who understand the way the Danish educational system works to prepare students for the workforce, it makes perfect sense. The power of social relationships in well-being is something that a society should not overlook in favor of stability and financial security, and the focus Danish values and governmental systems place on these relationships prove the importance of these social relationships. When we build connections with the people around us, we experience higher levels of well-being as well as stronger resilience in the face of adversity. After school programs exist for most school-age children in Denmark, offering a range of social and creative activities; citizens of Denmark consider social education just as important as academic education. My host sister, Line, described to me a high school situated on the outskirts of Copenhagen where there are no classrooms and no textbooks, but instead, large open spaces to facilitate group discussion and teamwork. Social health in Denmark is the direct result of governmental institutions that demonstrate an understanding of what makes these interactions so important in fostering a well-functioning society.


Deer Park, DENMARK

Of course, there is the money thing. Can we buy happiness? It seems our society constantly overloads us with information telling us that money is among the most important things in life. At the national level, research shows that the Gross Domestic Product is in fact relevant in providing well-being for its citizens. But unless you fall on the either extreme end of the financial spectrum, personal income generally does not influence one’s happiness all that much. In Denmark, income disparities simply do not exist, and this leaves the people in a place where other things, such as spending time with family and friends, take priority over the material goods they own, the cars they drive, or the size of their houses. With that knowledge, it has become clearer to me why everyone in search of the so-called ‘American Dream’ tends to wind up short-handed: we are looking for happiness in the wrong places.

People once believed that happiness was the result of the acquisition and maintenance of all basic human needs. With food, water, and shelter, one could live in a constant state of bliss; however, that idea found critics, who now argue that true happiness and subjective well-being require far more than just the fulfillment of our basic “It has become clearer to me physiological why everyone in search of the needs. Various so-called ‘American Dream’ experiences of tends to wind up short-handed: my own, as well we are looking for happiness in as the results of the wrong places.” research, have defined important areas of wellbeing, and I have found the Danes to fulfill all these criteria in a number of ways. These individual pieces of the puzzle come together to create the Danish thriving we have, and over time, we can come to know and understand them.


Most college students love instagram filters and editing apps because they turn our amateur pictures into masterpieces. We use filters to make the grass look greener, the sky look brighter, and to make our images generally more appealing. The Inkwell filter, for example, changes the image color to black and white, making the photo seem “artsy.” The 1977 filter gives a photograph a Polaroid look, instantly rendering the image authentic. With apps like Picstitch and Doubletap, we can even throw ten photos into one image and cover it with colorful stickers and “emojis.” The purpose of these applications is to make our pictures seem more lively, more fun, and to send a message to our viewers that our Instagram pictures are a reflection of our “attractive” lifestyles. Many Instagram users have developed the tendency to extensively edit and decorate their photographs, believing in response, they will receive more ‘likes’ on Instagram. If all of these filters and editing apps are so fun to use and make our pictures look more attractive and “likable,” why are young adults starting to post more pictures with the hashtag, “#nofilter”? Instagram users are getting tired of looking at pictures that have been over-edited. Most Instagram users know when a picture has been enhanced, filtered, cropped, shadowed, sparkled, and bedazzled to the point that the image no longer

looks real. Anyone can take a picture on a beach and make it look like they are the most attractive person on the most beautiful beach in the world. But viewers are tired of looking at fake beauty. Students with a background in the arts and design fields are especially jaded by the overuse of filters that often do more harm than good for a photograph. The new trend “Instagram users are getis to upload ting tired of looking at picunedited pictures that tures that have been over are naturally edited.” appealing. More and more, Instagram users are posting realistic photos that do not need to be covered in virtual stickers to attract attention. Students who use Instagram should be on the lookout for this new trend, and even consider trying it out.

FLOR | #nofilter INSTAGRAM

instagram UNEDITED










Although I have been in Rome for slightly over two months, the city of Rome never ceases to surprise me. Coming alive with countless symbols of architecture, a vibrant and dynamic urbanism, and layers upon layers of history, this eternal city is one difficult to dislike; however, in each new church I find and every random concert I hear, one aspect strikes me as Rome’s biggest challenge in terms of design. Many people are probably familiar with Piranesi’s etchings of Rome, overgrown and covered in chains, the ruins of which were arguably once the greatest Empire on Earth. In a way, Rome still bears those chains, trapped in its past and either unwilling or unable to seek out a new future. Apart from a few contemporary buildings (Zaha Hadid’s Maxxi Museum, of course, comes to mind), new construction consistently reflects the history of the city, assuming it is even ever approved for construction, as so often the discovery of ruins during excavation halts the building from ever being realized. In a way, Rome’s unwillingness to forget its past, which realistically, is what makes the city so special and eternal, will also be its undoing. Rome cannot truly hope to compete for another thou-

sand years without embracing the future in which it will exist. My concern for such a beautiful city is it is mere steps away from becoming a living museum, with residents existing on and among modern interpretations of Piranesi’s etchings. That being said, the residents of Rome certainly do live. Every day the city breathes and bustles, and every night, tents and “The beauty of Rome in part is nightlife line the linked not to its buildings, but its banks of the Tiber, streets, which create a fabric for until it becomes too cold. The entire life to unfold...” city is seemingly out to eat, mingle and meet. The beauty of Rome in part is linked not to its buildings, but its streets, which create a fabric for life to unfold, converging at nodes – Piazzas, of course – forming stages for everyday residents to act out their lives. One unfortunate, but likely necessary, leap forward into the future Rome embraced was the automobile – seeming as though it does not belong racing over the winding cobblestone of Rome, a city obviously never designed for machines to occupy the streets, and forcing groups to compress themselves as angry Romans tear past on mopeds. In any case, the streets of Rome are unlike those of any other city



I have visited, neither in Europe nor in the United States. Compared to the massive boulevards of Paris, the scale seems almost comical, but without question, this difference creates a vastly different feel for each street condition. The sidewalks along the Seine in Paris, in some places as large as perhaps fifty feet wide, are so often empty except for a few passerby, creating a serene environment in direct opposition to the crowded, compressed alleyways of Rome. Of course, from an urbanism perspective, such compression is not only desirable, but also vital if Rome desires to continue the lifestyle it currently leads, filtering visitors through boutiques and department stores, creating the pressure from which escape is necessary, as if the storefronts were a membrane and osmosis through it was natural and necessary. Such chaos, however, has its consequences as well. Only

yesterday I personally received an email from our housing organization in Rome asking us to stay away from the famous Via del Corso, where rioters were clashing violently with the riot-clad military police, ever present throughout the city and driving massive up-armored versions of vans and carrying automatic weapons. It is interesting to note the obvious contrast between European police and the police in America, where a very different attitude towards firearms is offset by an entirely different attitude towards individual freedoms. The presence of people is continuously ironic throughout Rome. One can perhaps easily imagine stepping into the silent Pantheon, alone, and looking up at the massive beam of light framed through the oculus above; however, he or she can seldom ever experience Rome in such a sublime way.


The constant buzz of tourism keeps the city alive, while sucking some of the life from the very objects people flock to see. One church preserved from this problem, probably because it is not as internationally known, is Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza, near the Pantheon but distant enough to avoid camera-toting travelers intent on snapping ‘selfies,’ unknowingly missing the very experience they came so far to see because they are too concerned with proving to their followers on Instagram that they are, in fact, where they are. Sant’Ivo consists of a flat stone courtyard, surrounded by a portico and a twisting spire atop a plan based on the design of the Star of David. The Catholic Church is considered one of Borromini’s many masterpieces and a perfect representation of a space of low pressure, which can pull a wanderer in off the street for a moment of calm amidst a city of chaos. Despite my many critiques of Rome, it remains one of the most influential cities in architecture and a modicum of urbanism that many cities in America should be


happy to reference, if not replicate. I will maintain, however, that such a beautiful and historic city has earned the right to persevere; Rome should not exist as a city solely of the past but, if it moves in the right direction, also as a beacon of the future. The world cannot afford to lose this eternal city, which has taught me so much and from which I will undoubtedly continue to grow and learn, as will countless architects and design students after me. I would, however, encourage any and all who plan on visiting Rome in “Rome should not exist as a city the near solely of the past, but if it moves or distant in the right direction, also as a future to beacon of the future..” approach it not only as another destination of tourism on a continent saturated with history, but a destination for architecture and culture alike, as the foundation of our own history. Only when one sees the city through such a lens can he or she truly appreciate the sanctity of Rome and hopefully preserve it, not as living ruins but as a living city.







Tree houses have long peaked my interest. Physically, they teeter between the ground and the sky; more abstractly, they exist in the limbo between reality and fantasy. They challenge the child within us all to entertain the notion of possibility once again. I have successfully procrastinated many hours of work by ogling at images of tree houses that seem to magically “Physically they teeter bedefy gravtween the sky; more abstract- ity. When I ly, they exist in the limbo learned of a between reality and fantasy.” tree house located in the city that I now call home, I had to go, and the mystical object I discovered proved far better then any of my expectations. From the exterior, 1614 Esplanade Avenue blends in seamlessly with the neighboring Creole Mansions in the historically dense Fauborg-Treme area of New Orleans. However, from the moment you step across the property line, the very progressive goals of the NOLA Art House become evident. I first became acquainted with the NOLA Art House Society when I attended an event located in their backyard tree house at their other location, St. Claude Avenue in the Bywater. Unlike other tree houses I have seen, the tree house in Treme clumsily lumbers along, boldly claiming the entire back yard as its own. From the ground, the macro-view of the tree house proves impressive and broad. But once I began to tentatively climb the rickety equipment, I began to fully appreciate all the

tree house was capable of doing for its occupants. I climbed a questionably fashioned ladder into one of the several look-out pods, made from repurposed old gondolas or pieces of jungle gym equipment; when I stopped to catch my breath, I quickly lost it again once I was exposed to the impressive beauty in front of me. At the top of the pod, I was introduced to an overwhelming vantage of New Orleans. I was standing in a tree house looking at the vast playground of New Orleans, and my inner child was giddy with excitement. Society holds multiple polarized views of tree houses. Traditionally, they are the wooden and plastic backyard creations for children’s play, adorned with swings, slides, and monkey bars. On the other end of the spectrum, they are the luxurious, private getaways for those with expendable wealth and the thirst for being a weekend recluse. But never before had I heard of a tree house created with the intent of gathering young adults, and in all my hours of searching tree houses, I had never stumbled upon one made of entirely recycled materials like I saw at the NOLA Art House. With no website, no phone number, and no contact names providing details on the tree house, I was left to gather my information from their Facebook page. The “Never before had I heard of Nola Art House a tree house created with the Society had intent of gathering young posted about adults.” having a “free market” at their Esplanade location. Unable to get in touch with



anyone in charge, my curiosity lead me yet again to the doors of the NOLA Art House. And yet again, I found myself enveloped within the surprising confines of an entirely different structure. The free market was held at 12 PM on a Sunday afternoon. Illuminated by the sunlight, I was able to gather more background information about their location and the meaning behind the NOLA Art House than I was able to in the night-cloaked event at the St. Claude house. The “Free Market”, much to my dismay, is actually exactly what it sounds like: bring what you don’t need, in exchange for what you want. The offerings of the freemarket were everything from clothing repairs to old shoes, dresses, and dumpster-found donuts. After milling around for a while, I got the opportunity to speak to Lizzie, a tenant of the house for the past five years. She explained to me how the Nola Art House got its founding. In 2005, John Orgon bought the property to provide affordable housing to artists in New Orleans. Soon after Orgon bought the property, he and Scott Pterodactyl met. Pterodactyl thought of the idea of building the tree house in the backyard, and is

the mastermind behind both the structure of the NOLA Art House and the tree house. The tree house structure is constantly evolving, as the current residents accumulate new and different materials from various sources such as craigslist and abandoned buildings. Lizzie continued to explain to me that the motto of the house would be, “work as little, and share as much.” As Lizzie told me, “ the tenants of 1614 Esplanade “The motto of the house are trying would be, “work as little, and to create share as much.” different avenues of living while eliminating the focus on making money.” They want to enjoy life more fully, without the emphasis our culture puts on monetary wealth; their philosophy is essentially that if we all give a little, we should be able to exist outside the oppressive boundaries of capitalism. At both the St. Claude and Esplanade locations, travelers who are passing through the city are welcomed to stay at the house free of charge. If the guests are staying for an extended period, they will be asked to contribute in some small way, such as sweeping the floor or cleaning the bathroom.



To me, there seems to be a very salient motif pulsating through the core of what the NOLA Art House stands for - circumstantial beauty. Everything from the building and its structure to the tenants and the free market occur because of the wonderful trinkets and ideas that they happen upon. To have a goal for their structure would go against their grain; instead, they wait and see what New Orleans presents them with

and then alter their plans accordingly. Perhaps not having a phone number or a website contributes to the overall aura of the place. We should embrace their entire perspective and should not force things to happen but rather to go about our lives adjusting when things present themselves. The NOLA Art House see inspiration where others literally see trash; I will be curious to see what will beget their next creative move.




SUBTLY stark

In these images I studied a transition from a main street in New Orleans into the adjacent residential area, specifically the shift between Magazine Street and Felicity Street. Though at a quick glance the two streets appear very similar, the collage exposes the stark differences in the regulated design of the commercial main street and the organic, historic design of the bordering residential space. Such shifts resonate throughout the urban fabric of New Orleans, as commercial infrastructure transforms into residential framework without a transitional zone, where one type can dissolve into the next. From further study and observation, this language proves characteristic of New Orleans, and lends itself to the argument that the urban fabric in New Orleans stands as the only of its kind.





As a recent alumnus of the school, I repeatedly found excuses to keep in touch with Tulane. It took all of three weeks to begin having withdrawals: from the fast-paced academic but laid-back city lifestyle, restaurants, ability to bike, and great personal relationships with friends and professors. I missed Graham’s suave Pierce Brosnan-esque accent and putting “Duke of Edinburgh” after his name in emails, to fit the environment of my thesis. I would praise Elizabeth’s shrewd commentary, giggle at Grover’s quick wits and the two Scott’s wide grins while talking. I could not shake from my mind Jill’s technicolor rendition of Dean Schwartz’s face and remembered his stylish white scarf from the Dalai Lama at graduation. In the aftermath of graduation and driving back home, my culinary withdrawals forced me to recreate Pascale Manale’s BBQ Shrimp; rather my mother did while I sat back and ate it. When I began to interview again for jobs, I was reminded of the strong ties alumni have with Tulane. I kept in close touch with friend and fellow alumnus Jason, now in London, to constantly feed me updates on his end: news on his firm, how to approach principals, how to market and brand myself, and above all to keep the confidence in my work and skill set. Because of him, my personal network has grown significantly. To see current students transition into the next age of theCharrette, under the directed leadership of Cameron, I am again grateful to see students value the importance of writing - and the interdisciplinary nature of design. Thanks to Tulane, I discovered early my particular proclivity to the combined power of writing and architecture. When I needed guidance on how to craft my own design persona within the realm of architecture, I immediately knew the who to ask. Having individuals invested in your success is paramount. Considering this, I put together a Top 10 for landing an offer post-graduation in the hopes that it will give aspiring designers direction and guidance on where to turn.




once asked, “Is it true that if you don’t use it, you lose it?” Yes. Totally different context, but Yes. Linked(in) gives you access to thousands of networks and, when studied for use in an interview, can create a talking point of who knows who. You run the risk of losing out to someone else who has a profile when – after initial contact – the first thing most employers do is check to see if you’re Linked(in).

2 3

I’m in!

Find a mentor. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone who will listen to your passions, ideas, fellowship apps, and bold employment plans. School is just as much the applied knowledge you learn as it is the endeavors you create. Surround yourself with different, passionate and connected people.

C’mon, Rev-it!

Don’t overlook the resume. In many cases the resume is most important, as the portfolio is just a snapshot into your ability to solve problems, and render the crap out of your building. Don’t use crappy fonts and make it graphically strong, just not an eyesore. And for god’s sake put “Revit” under skills. As his name suggests, David Merlin is a wizard at it. Heed his words.

.. C.V.


But are you Linked(in)?!

Linked(in). If you’re a student and don’t have Linked(in), use it. Steve Carell


Most students have a resume, but not a C.V. The Curriculum Vitae isn’t for old, crusty, bespeckled academics. Many non-US firms or US firms with European leadership want it. It should always be in your arsenal.

Whether or not you plan on getting licensed, sign up for the Associate AIA status. It is free of charge for eighteen months post-graduation. And when applying for an application, the “Assoc. AIA” behind your name may mean the difference between the waste bin and the principal’s sweaty palm.

“issue” or “e-sue”?



Use electronic versions of your work to your advantage. I have repeatedly projected portfolios on ISSUU during an interview. Rather than staring down at a clump of color-rich paper and spewing your life’s work, consider using your extensive presentation experience for a lively roundtable discussion while they flip through and listen.

TOP 10


Don’t be afraid to move around at first. Firms value individuals with geographically diverse work experience, especially those with significant international work. In the U.S., I’ve found San Francisco and New York to be the hardest, but certainly not impossible, to break into.

8 9




Sending applications to jobs@ addresses can work, but get an insider email. If a principal’s or associate’s address isn’t located on their website, search around the web. I’ve found numerous on AIA chapter websites for committees. Play the market. The market certainly plays us.

Lose the ego. Firms don’t give a damn how great you are designing

Buddy, lose a “g”

crazy shapes. They want to know how you relate to your peers, and that you won’t get your nose bent out of shape working with designers better than you. There is always room to grow, but you often can’t teach humility.




T-U-L-A-N-E. Flaunt that ****. Use the network Dean Schwartz, Megan Weyland,

and your professors and alumni build everyday. Alumni are crazy passionate about each other, but maybe that’s just an architecture thing. I’ll never forget Lee Berman’s words, “Architecture is the ultimate fraternity.”

BONUS—I’m stealing this from another mentor of mine, Pacific Northwest’s Finest, theCharrette Editor in Chief Emeritus Nick Vann—Post-graduation we are all thrown into the same melting pot - so to speak - no matter how good we are. Valedictorians are often in the same pool as those scraping the bottom. The business of hiring is disorganized and illogical. Stay true to your abilities, and keep in mind you have allies everywhere.








In the past, if someone wanted to go see art for entertainment’s sake, they would have to choose from a plethora of categories (painting, theater, comedy, dance, opera, photography, etc.) and go see that specific type of art by itself. Paintings and photography would be found in separate galleries. Dance would be seen on a stage. Bands played in specific concert venues, and poets had their own clubs. Rarely could someone find more than one art form put together in a venue, unless the person attended an annual fair or festival. Recently a trend has grown within the art world: the fusion of art forms. Artists everywhere are becoming more creative and collaborating with other artists from different genres, to enhance the quality and presentation of their art to the audience. By experimenting with different art forms and gathering different types of art into one venue, artists are boosting their own cre-

ativity, as well as drawing in larger audiences. One popular example of this new trend can be seen from a performing dance company, called Soul Escape. Based in Dallas, Texas, this contemporary dance company travels around the country to perform in both large theatres and local intimate venues. Choreographer, Justin Giles, incorporates the “Artists everywhere are bemediums of dance and painting into his com- coming more creative and pany’s performances. collaborating with others.” The purpose of Soul Escape is to show the choreographer’s interpretation of his favorite famous works and tell the story behind each painting. In the show the dancers use paintings, like The Scream by Munch and The Kiss by Klimt, as back drops for their performances. The dancers begin on stage by posing identically to the figures in the painting. When the music starts they pop out from their frozen positions and tell the story of the painting, making it come to life

for the audi ence. This use of creativity across multiple artistic mediums draws in large audiences that are more entertained than ever before. Another outlet in which viewers can find multiple art forms in one venue exists right in the city of New Orleans. An indie-art organization, called RAW: natural born artists, puts on monthly events that showcase art forms of all kinds and put them into one venue. At a RAW event, one can find local visual art, fashion design, hand-made jewelry, dance, snap poets, bands, and trapeze artists all in one showroom. Not only are all these different types of artists collaborating with each other, but they often interact with the audience. For example, in a previous showcase an artist used people as her canvas, painting colorful images on any audience member who chose to participate in her work. Another artist did live painting and caricature of audience members. These showcase events bring creativity to a new level, enhancing the exploration of artistry and

involving audiences more than ever before. The next RAW showcase event is called “Awakening�. During the event, attendees can see the work of 27 different local artists in one place. Audience members can meet the artists, listen to live music, and enjoy beverages with friends. This event will be on February 27th from 12 PM to 4 PM. Location TBA. Audiences must be 18 or older to attend. Tickets can be purchased on their website at neworleans.


Portland, Oregon-based bicycle company Renovo Bicycles produces high-performance cycles using wood as the primary frame material. The result is a more durable frame with enhanced shock absorption properties and runway-model aesthetics. Although Renovo’s target demographic is certainly serious cyclists, founder Ken Wheeler has stated that a large number of his clients guessed it...architects. Which got me thinking what’s the architect’s favorite bicycle? Here are a few that come to mind.








I like to think that architects entered the field because they wanted to make the world a better place...or at least design better. It is inspiring to see architecture which not only makes a difference in the built environment, but also in the communities and lives of those it serves.

underserved population of Greensboro, Alabama. Sam Mockbee believes that architecture is a social art, which allows architects to affect lives in a positive way. The projects contribute to the profession by exhibiting not only through quality design but also a noble social cause.

One great way to get involved at the student level is through participation in a design build studio offered by universities. These programs allow students to directly engage with their community and environment. Students learn about social issues and practical design methods to address these issues. Two exemplary design build studios in southern architectural schools include the Rural Studio at Auburn University and the Tulane City Center right here in New Orleans.

The Tulane City Center (TCC) produces architecture which improves its community. The TCC is Tulane School of Architecture’s applied urban research and outreach program. The TCC works with community partners to serve a need in the community and have an impressive body of work including an urban farm.

Rural Studio was founded in 1993 by Sam Mockbee as a studio designed to teach the social and professional responsibilities of the profession. Students have the opportunity to design and build quality houses and community spaces for the

The Grow Dat Youth Farm is a TCC project on five acres in City Park. The program educates students about urban agriculture and creates job opportunities for high school students. The project is an excellent example of shipping container architecture and it blends into its landscape with its green paint, wood shade structure and climbing plants.



Another container project with a social program is the Illumination Center. Two modified shipping containers provide computer stations for at-risk youth in New Orleans neighborhoods. The project is a result of the work of Maziar Behrooz Architecture with the Youth Rescue Initiative (YRI) in collaboration with the New Orleans Public Library. The Illumination Center acts as satellite locations for the library in at-risk neighborhoods. The building illuminates the area at night to create a safe urban park. Children have access to computers, networked to the New Orleans Public Library. Library staff will monitor each center and assist students using educational software for resume building, homework and general research.

On a global scale, Architecture for Humanity is a firm providing professional design services to communities in need. The work of this charitable organization has helped communities in Sudan, Uganda, Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda, and Tanzania to name a few. The New Orleans chapter is currently working with the National Growth Academy to renovate a house into transitional living for children coming out of foster care. Recently the AIA recognized the value of design activism, by proposing a bill to provide student debt relief. The National Design Services Act (NDSA) would provide student loan assistance for participants who work at community design centers by securing grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The NDSA increases support for design centers by giving students an opportunity to repay their student debt.



Cameron Conklin Editor in Chief Tulane ‘14 Baltimore, MD

Kevin Michniok

Editor in Chief Emeritus TSA ‘13 St. Louis, MO



REINVENTING THE WHEEL PROJECT HAPPINESS Christina Cheney Editor Tulane ‘14 Mobile, AL

Chesley McCarthy Editor TSA ‘17 Huntsville, AL

instagram unedited



Writer TSA ‘14 Centereach, NY

Becca Ames

Writer Tulane ‘14 West Orange, NJ

transport design DESIGN ACTIVISM



image courtesy of Maciek Lulko,

images courtesy of Lucy Mayback,; Moyan Brenn,; Tulane Public Relations, images courtesy of Becca Ames

image courtesy of Julio Cesar Mulatinho, images courtesy of Han Santing,; Moyan Brenn,; sketches courtesy of K. Bernie Lakkenbar Danna Wasserman Eric Bethany

images courtesy of Danna Wasserman

Writer Tulane ‘14 Demarest, NJ

images courtesy of Chesley McCarthey

Writer TSA‘15 Charleston, SC

face graphic courtesy of Robert Patricy; graphics courtesy of the Noun Project, Public Commons, recreated by Kevin Michniok; images courtesy of Homies in Heaven,; Raw Artists Media, images courtesy of Renovo Bicycles, Biomega, Larry Vs. Harry, Pacific Cycles and Baubike


images courtesy of Auburn University Rural Studio, Tulane City Center, and Maziar Behrooz Architecture

K. Bernie Lakkenbar Laura Aronoff Writer Tulane ‘15 Raleigh, NC

Writer Tulane ‘15 Marietta, GA

We as a staff appreciate the usage of imagery in a fully academic context. All rights reserved by the owner.

Profile for thecharrette

theCharrette January 2014  

theCharrette's January 2014 Publication

theCharrette January 2014  

theCharrette's January 2014 Publication