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Tulane School of Architecture is currently closed due to the impacts of Hurricane Ida. Remote instruction will begin Sept. 13, 2021, and in-person instruction will resume on Sept. 27. For more information about Tulane's response and reopening, visit the university's Forward TUgether website.

Blokker and Liles receive grant for transformative preservation of historic African American schools

Old, damaged bleachers inside a school gym with a torn-up ceiling above

Helping to reclaim the African American spaces left behind by school desegregation is the focus of new work by Tulane School of Architecture faculty Laura Blokker, Interim Director and Lecturer of Preservation Studies, and Andrew Liles, AIA, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Architecture, at the Tulane School of Architecture. 


Blokker and Liles recently received a national grant for $15,000 to support work already underway by alumni of under-documented mid-century African American schools in Louisiana. The biennial Richard L. Blinder Award is given through the Trustees of the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation. The award will be used to help the alumni pursue adaptive reuse strategies for the schools.


“This work all really stems from alumni of these schools who are trying to reclaim them for the future of their communities,” Blokker said. “By getting this award, Liles and I will be able to put our professional services to work for them.  The project will entail a stakeholder meeting to gather input in addition to the work throughout with individuals and groups affiliated with the various buildings.” 


Much is already known of Rosenwald Schools, the buildings constructed with support of the Julius Rosenwald Fund between 1917 and 1932 for educating African American youth in the South. Far less is known of their successors, the large-scale mid-twentieth-century schools constructed in states such as South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana as last-ditch efforts to protect segregation by providing “separate but equal” facilities for Black students. More than schools, these structures, with their large gymnasiums, auditoriums and fields, hosted parades and dances, sports games and community gatherings. Following school integration in 1970, many of these facilities in Louisiana were closed.


Now, building on the advocacy and preservation efforts already begun by alumni and community groups throughout the state – individuals long striving to save their historic schools and preserve their heritage – Blokker and Liles, are studying potential for adaptive reuse. Blokker and Liles will confront realities of cultural memory, interpretation and reuse of historic properties.


“For many years, these mid-century African American school buildings have sat vacant, many preferring they be forgotten and their history silenced,” Blokker said. “We must not ignore America’s past. These schools were created in the era of segregation and that story must be told – not to commemorate oppression, but to celebrate the legacy of generations of African American educators, leaders, and communities who nurtured these learning environments and sprung from them.” 


The project will begin with identifying as many as possible of the surviving mid-century African American school buildings in Louisiana. This work will build off of an existing online map of historic schools to locate extant mid-century buildings and document them. 


Once this survey is complete, the overall design, plans, and materials of the school plants will be assessed and categorized. This will serve as the basis for the next steps of identifying potential reuse schemes and outlining specific preservation recommendations and ideas for new design interventions. A meeting of stakeholders from across the state will be convened to brainstorm about potential uses of schools in different communities. 


Based on the survey of existing buildings and concepts for reuse, recommendations for material and future preservation and design interventions will be created for the different categories of design, plans, and materials. Two schools will be selected to create example visioning plans of the potential of preservation and new design interventions to bring these campuses back to life. The final product will be a graphic and textual handbook of materials and plans with correlating recommendation for preservation and new design, featuring the example vision renderings along with other photographs and illustrations. This will be distributed to all known stakeholders.


Architecture professor and graduate student help local organization provide a safe space for LGBTQ youth

Through an innovative use of the Tulane School of Architecture’s graduate research fellowship, Professor of Practice Andrew Liles and graduate architecture student Lucy Satzewich employed a design approach to help local LGBTQ youth organization BreakOUT! create a functional, welcoming space at their new headquarters.

BreakOUT! works to end the criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color and build a safer future for queer people in New Orleans. The group hosts organizing, healing justice and leadership programs, and operates an open drop-in space.

When the project began in the fall of 2017, BreakOUT! was in the midst of relocating to a larger building. Satzewich and Liles worked with the organization to identify the property conditions, organizational needs and goals to develop a program analysis and branding strategy.

To meet the need of a structured area for staff members, Satzewich used her carpentry background to design and build seven custom desks. The pieces incorporate BreakOUT! brand elements, including its logo and signature bright pink, to bring a cohesive visual identity to the room.

Working with BreakOUT! allowed Satzewich to explore her interest in how queer people make space within cities on an architectural level.

“Assisting BreakOUT! with their move to a larger space really pointed out how relatively minor changes could have a huge impact in their new layout and functionality,” said Satzewich. “Spaces like BreakOUT! provide so many services and have so much program it allowed me to experience the nuance and complication of how these spaces are created, which was really exciting to me.”

The project was also a launching point for Satzewich to establish a broader research effort looking at the spatial and architectural needs of LGBTQ youth of color. She received funding from the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking’s Changemaker Catalyst Award to develop a foundation for the research by traveling and meeting with national allied organizations this summer.

Architecture team aids in theater’s historic honor

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Architecture team aids in theater’s historic honor  Carol Schlueter

In the North Louisiana town of Oak Grove, the Fiske Theatre has been a distinctive landmark since its construction in 1950. Now, thanks in part to work by students and professors from the Tulane School of Architecture, the theater has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

The project began when the theater’s operator, Adam Holland of Holland Entertainment, contacted Tulane, searching for lost blueprints of the Fiske, one of the state’s few remaining small, mid-century theaters. With support from architecture dean Kenneth Schwartz and a Dean’s Fund for Excellence grant, the architecture team traveled to Oak Grove in the spring of 2013 for historic research on the theater.

Adjunct faculty member Andrew Liles and professor John H. Stubbs, director of the Preservation Studies Program, led the work by Gabrielle Begue and MaryNell Nolan-Wheatley, students in the master’s program, and architecture undergraduate Jack Waterman.

“What a life lesson, that less than a semester of research and documentation by three students can cement a place in our nation’s narrative,” Liles says. “We, of course, were just the catalyst; the theater and West Carroll Parish are the steady stalwarts, blazing over 60 years of trail. We simply contributed a small but significant chapter.”

The students worked largely the entire spring semester, with the MPS students doing preliminary historical research and the architecture student mocking up plans and elevations for on-site measurements. 

They documented the entire building, then spent the semester completing a narrative on the region and the theater’s history, while Waterman finished architectural plans for the Fiske. 

This fall, their work complete, the team members helped get state-level approval for the historic listing, and the Fiske earned its national designation in late January.

Still an active theater owned by the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce, the Fiske shows movies Thursdays through Sundays. 

Andrew Liles’ and John Stubbs’ research on the Fiske Theatre propels the theatre onto the National Register of Historic Places, the first structure for Oak Grove.

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The West Carroll Chamber of Commerce and Holland Entertainment LLC of Oak Grove, La. were informed Thursday afternoon by the United States Parks Service that the Fiske Theatre has been approved and is now officially listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

“It is my honor not only the be the United States Representative but also a native of West Carroll to see the theatre I attended as a child be restored to such a stature that it has been over the last few years to be now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.” Congressman Vance McAllister said. “I commend Adam Holland for his leadership and all other community leaders that have contributed not only to restoring it to such prestige to be recognized, but also to what it has given back to a community that works so hard to maintain Louisiana’s core values that I am proud to call my hometown and birthplace.”

Congressman McAllister and Senator David Vitter both wrote letters of support to the National Parks Service on the theatre’s behalf supporting its listing on the National Registry.

“Words cannot express how big of an honor this is not just for the theatre, but for the Town of Oak Grove, our citizens and all of West Carroll Parish.” Adam Holland, W.C. Chamber Director of Special Events, and President of Holland Entertainment said. “This listing brings with it much distinction and prestige for the theatre and the town, as well as, the possibility for grants to preserve the building for our posterity.”

The Fiske is the first building in the City of Oak Grove to be listed on the National Registry.  There are other buildings in town that may qualify for listing including the Legion Hut, OGHS Old Gym, and both the First Baptist and United Methodist Church to name a few. 

“We are proud of Adam for all he has put into bringing the theatre back to her prime and this listing is just one more testament to the work he has done and the support that we as a chamber have received from countless people to make restoring the theatre possible.” W.C. Chamber President John Elliott said.  “By having the theatre now officially listed on the National Registry we as a Chamber and the City can capitalize on this distinction and the theatre can become even more of an economic engine for our town than she already is by drawing tourist who travel the country side visiting historic places.”

The process of having the theatre listed on the National Registry began when the Chamber received the Tulane School of Architecture’s Dean’s Fund for Excellence grant in April of 2013 which funded a group of students and professors to travel to Oak Grove and study the architecture and cultural impact the theatre has had on Northeast Louisiana.  The students published a book and used that information throughout the application process.  Adam Holland, Doug and Rita Ainsworth along with Donald B. Fiske Jr. then represented the theatre at the November hearing of the Louisiana Historic Registry Commission where they voted unanimously to forward the nomination on the NPS.

“I’m very proud of the Fiske Theatre and the entire Oak Grove community for receiving this recognition. It’s a great tribute to Mr. Donald Fiske and all of the local leaders who have worked so hard to restore, update, and maintain such an iconic structure, and I’m pleased that it will be enjoyed for generations to come,” Senator Vitter said.

The current Fiske Theatre was built in 1950 featuring the Ultra-Moderne Art Deco style that was prevalent in movie theater construction of the time.  It was designed by the late B.W. Stevens who also designed the Joy Theatre on Canal Street in New Orleans which is an almost replica of the Fiske.  In 1951 it was named “The Most Modern and Well Equipped Theatre” in the United States that was constructed in 1950 by the Motion Picture Exhibitors Catalog.

The Fiske Theatre was donated to the West Carroll Chamber of Commerce in 1988 by its founder Donald B. Fiske and is currently operated by Holland Entertainment LLC.  The Fiske is open each Thursday-Sunday showing a different first-run film each week

U.S. Green Building Council Elects Tulane Affiliates to the 2014 Board of Directors

Congratulations to Amber Beezley TSA '04 , Interim Director, University Planning Office / Project Manager for the Richardson Memorial Hall Project, Z Smith, Tulane Adjunct Faculty member and Andrew Liles TSA '09, Tulane Adjunct Faculty member; for recently being elected to the U.S. Green Building Council 2014 Board of Directors. 

Welcome: 2014 Board of Directors
With a big year ahead of us, USGBC Louisiana proudly welcomes our new leadership.

Amber Beezley, Tulane University (Alternate)
Andrew Liles, AM Liles Architect/ Tulane University
Craig Turner, Make It Right
Ed Jenkins, CSRS
Geoff Zawacki, Blue Frog Building Performance
Grasshopper Mendoza, Latter & Blum Inc. (Alternate)
Heather Tank, TLC Engineering
Jason Zuckerman, McDonnel Group
Jay Dlugos, Gallo Mechanical
Jeff Grindstaff, Siemens
Michael Pousson, Reit Management and Research
Matthew Hedrick, Republic Services/Allied Waste
Pete Robinson, Coastal Renovation and Construction
Z Smith, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

Article on the fleeting Vert-A-Pac by Adjunct faculty Andrew Liles AIA ’10 published by docomomo_us.

Docomomo_us has published an article by Andrew Liles, AIA LEED AP BD+C, with assistance from Stuart Hurt, M|Arc Candidate 2015, on the short-lived Vert-A-Pac, which was a completely re-envisioned and more efficient mode of automotive railway transport.  Docomomo_us focuses on the documentation and conservation of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods of the modern movement.


Sustainability vs. Historic Preservation with Andrew Liles AIA LEED AP BD+C

When: Thursday Sept 19th, 5:00 PM

Where: LSU College of Art and Design Auditorium; Room 103

In a world where we fight for the right to healthy work atmospheres and high performance buildings, there is also the world where we strive to consider the amount of new materials we use, the amount of materials we send to landfills, and to preserve culture through historic building architecture.

Join Tulane Professor and USGBC Louisiana Board member Andrew Liles as he discussed this complex dichotomy and proposes how we can find a balance between the two worlds. 

ARCH 2021/6021

Second year studio concentrates on developed architectural form and design methodologies through processes of analysis, synthesis and transformation. Students work on the conceptual frameworks for their designs, with emphasis on issues of environmental context, urban design, and cultural and technological systems and their impact on architectural form.Different approaches to the making of form are investigated, along with principles of organization, such as spatial hierarchy, circulation, structure, and site relationships.

Andrew Liles (TSA '11) Adjunct Lecturer published in the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research

Andre Liles

Coordinated by Andrew Liles AIA, Tulane School of Architecture second year design studio students documented the effects of the 2011 Atchafalaya Basin floods on the Morgan City. The students conducted interviews and developed essays focused on the businesses most affected by the floods. The material was compiled into a single volume presented to the Morgan City Archives which do not have the labor to gather the information on their own accord; but thrive on the personal stories of their citizens.

This volume has been selected for publication by the Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning & Community-Based Research. Published by Penn State Berks, the journal also selected the "reflection" essay of Aubrey Keady-Molanphy, a current third year student.

ARCH 1012/6012

As an introduction to the basic fundamental methods and principles of architectural design, students are given an immediate experience of the design process, developing their capacity to conceive, manipulate and analyze architectural form and space. An emphasis on verbal skills, and graphic and material techniques for architectural representation, enable students to express and communicate their ideas. The studio develops the students' capacity for critical thinking through constructive evaluation.


Old Course Numbers: DSGN 1200/6020