Architecture students take on a ‘shady’ project

December 18, 2013 11:00 AM

Barri Bronston

It may not be topped with a festive red and green bow, but for LOOP — the Louisiana Outdoors Outreach Program — it is a holiday gift like no other, thanks to Tulane City Center. 

LOOP project on Scout Island

Designed and built by students, a shaded pavilion on Scout Island in City Park will help the Louisiana Outdoors Outreach Program expand its work with kids. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

This semester, Tulane City Center, an outreach program of the Tulane University School of Architecture, partnered with LOOP to design and build a shaded pavilion on Scout Island in City Park, where LOOP’s ropes course is located. The 900-square-foot pavilion will provide children with an escape from the heat and enable LOOP to expand its programming.

LOOP, a program of the Louisiana Office of Parks, offers an academically linked adventure program to underserved youth. The program teaches teamwork, problem solving and conflict resolution through such activities as challenge courses, hiking and canoeing.

“Except for a few picnic tables, there was nothing out here,” says fifth-year architecture student Dan Akerley, one of 13 students on the project. “We wanted to create a shaded space where kids could get out of the sun, eat lunch, do activities and cheer on their peers when they are out on the ropes course.”

The pavilion features a canopy made of 650 aluminum yield signs with connections milled on the architecture school’s CNC (computer numerical control) machine. It is held up with six steel columns, and seating is built into an earth berm created with old railroad ties. The Regional Transit Authority donated the railroad ties from the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, which is undergoing repairs, and Dash Lumber provided wood for the bench seating.

“This kind of public interest design work is important since it gives us a chance to bring design services to underserved communities,” says Emilie Taylor, design build manager.

“It’s also an opportunity to educate a new generation of designers who are more socially conscious, technically competent and able to work collaboratively.”

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000