October 3, 2011
Kathryn Hobgood Ray
Fundraising is under way for a $23.9 million makeover of Richardson Memorial Hall, home of the School of Architecture.VIEW FULL-SIZE PHOTO
Fundraising is now underway for a $23.9 million green makeover of Richardson Memorial Hall, the century old home of Tulane University’s School of Architecture.
The renovation will include maximizing the light and airiness of the building, installing solar panels and cisterns to collect rainwater for irrigation and, possibly, plumbing use, and many other sustainable strategies. Additionally, IBM Smart Building technology will monitor and adjust the building’s water consumption, lighting and other systems to optimize their performance while lowering the building’s carbon footprint.
The makeover, which will reuse as much original building materials as possible, will also create more study lounges and work spaces for students and expand the School of Architecture’s existing shop and digital facilities. The building’s popular Drawing Board café will be moved closer to Dinwiddie Hall and open onto an outdoor terrace. All community outreach enterprises will be positioned so that visitors can approach from Engineering Road, which connects with Freret Street.
“Richardson Memorial Hall is one of the most wonderful buildings for a school of architecture – central on campus, historic, stately, well-built, high ceilings, clear spans, operable windows, excellent light,” says Kenneth Schwartz, dean of the School of Architecture. “However, it is in serious need of investment to bring it up-to-date in its building systems, lower its carbon footprint, and improve overall utility, given the changing nature of the school’s mission today.”
Fundraising for the project was kicked off with a gift from Tulane alumnus and board member Tim Favrot to develop the initial plans and a gift in kind from IBM in partnership with Johnson Controls to install the smart building technology. Schwartz hopes the project will be completed within five years.
The architectural/engineering team led by FXFOWLE and el dorado architects submitted design schemes for consideration of all architecture faculty, staff and students. A final version of the design, which will be eligible for LEED Platinum Certification, has been submitted based on feedback and incorporates Tulane’s overarching aspiration of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
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