Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane University: New Orleans, LA
Bridge from the Past
In the period prior to Katrina, New Orleans often ignored its rich history of climate-responsive and cost-effective architecture, creating environments that were entirely artificially cooled, even in temperate weather. In its reconstruction, the architectural culture developing is also at risk because of limited interest or investment in more sophisticated models of sustainable building developing in other parts of the world. The project to transform Tulane University's 112,000 ft2 university center into a dynamic new center for university life was 50% complete at the time of the flooding. The new 148,000 ft2 building reprograms the existing concrete structure by pairing microclimates with social activities such as studying, dining, and meeting. It also acts as a demonstration project by bringing together climate-responsive architecture that uses both passive and active systems.