Students, Architect Team Up for Neighbors

During the recent Architecture Week at Tulane, five groups of architecture students collaborated with renowned Los Angeles architect Bob Hale to create a series of information kiosks for the Leonidas neighborhood of New Orleans.

Los Angeles architect Bob Hale, left, and students collaborate on constructing information kiosks for the Leonidas neighborhood in New Orleans. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

About 75 participants, ranging from first-years to graduate students, teamed up to design and fabricate the kiosks that will be placed throughout the Leonidas community, located in West Carrollton near the university area. In doing so, they built on the strength of the neighborhood and reinforced their own educational experience.

"The motivation for this year's A-Week was to choose a project that would truly help a community in need," said project coordinator William Trakas, a junior architecture student. Banding together creatively, students received guidance from Hale every step of the way.

A Tulane alumnus and partner of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Hale oversaw the design of the kiosks while advising the students in how to please their clients, representatives of community organizations in the Leonidas neighborhood.

"Bob has been so helpful and patient with students as we attempt to cope with real clients, budgets and timelines," said Trakas. "It's not often that you find a professional who will sit with a group of students until midnight attempting to figure out a connection detail."

Hale aimed to empower students as he worked one-on-one with them throughout the week. He praised the School of Architecture for encouraging students to achieve a balance between excellence in design and real-world knowledge.

"I wanted to give expression to their ideas, bring in real-world experience and reflect upon how their ideas fit in," said Hale. "It was a hands-on learning experience, and I was amazed at how well they were invested in it."

During his visit to the uptown campus, Hale also gave a lecture at the School of Architecture on "Urbanizing Suburbia: Architectural Adventures in Los Angeles."

Mary Cross is a senior majoring in communication at Tulane.