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Tulane launches new research studios on climate change and water management

Students in the new URBANbuild research studio, launching Fall 2019 at Tulane (Byron Mouton)

Tulane’s School of Architecture announced a series of multi-year Research Studios earlier this month that will debut in the fall, each designed to address environmental issues and climate change. Combining both rigorous research engagement as well as traditional designed studio methods, the goal is to produce scholarship and real-world solutions to some of the most pressing problems affecting the architectural profession today. That includes examining a single topic over three-to-five years, including water management, conservation, sustainable real estate development, and more,

The school’s setting in New Orleans, a sprawling metropolis located below sea level, has put students and faculty on the front lines of pressures from receding coastlines and escalating natural disasters. Architect Iñaki Alday was appointed Dean in August 2018 with the goal of aligning pedagogy towards practical challenges facing architecture and urbanism, and the Research Studios reflect his personal commitment to architecture that works—he is a cofounder of the Yamuna River Project, a pan-university initiative to tackle the urgent rehabilitation of the Yamuna in India.

Yamuna River Project

Yamuna River Project (Iñaki Alday)

The studios, scheduled to launch for the Fall 2019 semester, will be led by Alday and global experts like Richard Campanella, Byron Mouton, and Kentaro Tsubaki, among others. Studios are expected to be interdisciplinary, spilling into other areas of scholarship at Tulane like the social sciences, law, and real estate. The Research Studios are a first of their kind and may inspire similar initiatives or climate focuses at schools around the world. With titles like Big Questions, Small Projects and The Future of Ports, the studios set out to address all scales, challenging students to design with a new type of urgency for the future. 

The new Research Studios will cover the following, according to Tulane:

· The Yamuna River Project and the Rajasthan Cities. By lead instructor Iñaki Alday, Dean and Richard Koch Chair in Architecture.
· URBANbuild: re-evaluation, affordability, national translation. By lead instructor Byron Mouton, AIA, Director of URBANbuild, Lacey Senior Professor of Practice in Architecture.
· The Future of Ports: From the Backyard to the Forefront of Ecology, Economy, and Urbanity. By lead instructor Margarita Jover, Associate Professor in Architecture.
· Resilience Reinforced: Architectural precast concrete systems addressing the regional water infrastructure challenges. By lead instructor Kentaro Tsubaki, AIA, Associate Dean for Academics, Favrot Associate Professor of Architecture.
· Contemporary Architecture in Historic Contexts: The Case of Magazine Street in New Orleans. By lead instructor Ammar Eloueini, AIA, NCARB, Favrot V Professor of Architecture.
· Toward a Civic Landscape. By lead instructor Scott Bernhard, AIA, NCARB, Favrot III Associate Professor of Architecture.
· Fast/Strong/Sustainable: Exploring the Expanded Mass Timber Industry for Design in Hurricane-Prone Regions. By lead instructor Judith Kinnard, FAIA, Harvey-Wadsworth Chair of Landscape Urbanism, Professor of Architecture.
· Addis Ababa River Project. By lead instructor Rubén García Rubio, Assistant Professor in Architecture and Urbanism.
· Big Questions, Small Projects: design build’s potentials to advance community-driven ideas. Led by instructor Emilie Taylor Welty, Favrot II Professor of Practice.

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