Earlier this month, Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao toured the Priestley Charter School of Architecture and Construction and the Hollygrove Growers Market and Farm, drawing attention to two projects linked to the Tulane City Center, an urban outreach and research program of the School of Architecture.
"I was pleased the congressman was able to see what we were doing and how the students were responding to these educational opportunities," says Ken Schwartz, dean of the School of Architecture.
The school's relationship with both the Hollygrove project and Priestley are "part of our larger agenda, engaging the School of Architecture with the New Orleans community," he says.
Schwartz, who sits on Priestley's board of directors, says students there have responded well to the design-focused curriculum, which the architecture school helped develop.
At the location of the Hollygrove Growers Market and Farm, architecture students under the direction of faculty members Cordula Roser Gray and Sam Richards designed and constructed a pavilion that provides a shaded gathering space. The market, says Schwartz, enhances the aesthetic of the neighborhood and provides residents access to fresh produce.
"I see Hollygrove as an innovative, catalytic project for the neighborhood," Schwartz says. "If you think about it from the standpoint of our students, they have a truly amazing opportunity to be involved in something that is transforming a place through design and community participation."
By integrating an education in architecture into the city's ongoing recovery, Tulane's architecture school sets itself apart from all others, says Schwartz.
"There's not a single architecture school in the country that is going out into the community to the degree that we are," says Schwartz. "This is a unique moment in [the city's] history and a unique set of relationships that are distinguishing the university and helping the city in its continuing process of recovery. "