Ceremony celebrates teacher, architect and author

March 30, 2012 5:43 AM

Michael Ramos

Professor John Klingman helps students at the Tulane University School of Architecture rethink how New Orleanians can live within their natural environment. A ceremony on Friday (March 23) celebrated his expertise in the studio, the publication of his new book and his investment as the Richard Koch Chair of Architecture.

Kenneth Schwartz and John Klingman

Architecture dean Ken Schwartz, left, celebrates with John Klingman at his investiture ceremony. (Photo by Jill Stoll)

“It’s not only architecture but civil infrastructure that’s fundamental to living comfortably here,” says Klingman.

As a participant in the Dutch Dialogues workshop series, Klingman has researched such thorny issues as demolishing concrete floodwalls to make canals more accessible to pedestrians. Students in his recent studio course suggested a redesign of the Orleans Avenue canal into a place where neighbors can walk and play, with boardwalks connecting the Lakeview neighborhood to City Park.

The purpose of such exercises is to encourage people to adapt to threats inherent in living in a subsiding delta, he says.

A native of Philadelphia, Klingman joined the Tulane faculty in 1983, when he registered as an architect in Louisiana. Since 1997, Klingman has authored the annual “Best New Architecture” series for New Orleans Magazine. These reviews form the basis of his 2012 book, New in New Orleans Architecture, which considers how to infuse new ideas into a historic city through 80 local projects.

“This is all about the New Orleans community and what we have done recently and can do to help our society physically manifest itself more fully and sustainably,” he says.

The Koch Chair was established through the bequest of Richard Koch (1889-1971), the first Tulane undergraduate to receive an architecture degree. After graduating in 1910, Koch became a prominent preservationist and architect, designing dormitories such as Paterson House and leading a team that documented endangered buildings in Louisiana during the Great Depression.

Michael Ramos is a writer in the Office of Development.

John Klingman, professor of architecture and Richard Koch Chair in architecture, discussing his book about contemporary architecture in New Orleans.

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