At this time about a year ago, we were finalizing our plans for the installation of The AIA Avenue at the National AIA Convention in New Orleans. The Avenue served as the AIA Expo’s Main Street, measuring 1,100 foot long by 20 foot wide. It ran the length of the expo floor, and included a series of modular components that, combined in different arrangements, addressed a wide range of needs, including wayfinding, display, seating and spatial definition. We built the components here in Kansas City–40 overhead signs and 25 A-frame modules–and shipped them down to New Orleans, where we assembled them on site in time for the May opening of the Expo.
The project was a collaboration between el dorado, Hanley Wood, National AIA and the Tulane University School of Architecture–and it didn’t stop when the Expo was over. In the spirit of the convention theme “Regional Design Revolution”, an idea was developed to reuse all the Avenue materials in the construction of the 2012 Tulane URBANbuild house. Thus, after the expo had run its course, about a dozen Tulane Architecture Students (led by URBANbuild program director and perennial eldo favorite Byron Mouton) descended on the Convention Center, dismantling and palletizing all of the wood studs and oriented strand board panels. They were carefully stored in New Orleans over the spring, summer and fall, patiently waiting their eventual usage in the student-designed and built house.
We are pleased to announce that their moment in the Crescent City sun has arrived. The wood studs and vividly painted OSB panels have been de-palletized by the URBANbuild students, and are being put to use. Hammers are a-swinging as we speak.
We love how the house under construction displays a trace of the excitement and energy of the AIA Avenue, and we appreciate Tulane URBANbuilds efforts to effectively re-use the materials.
Thanks to Hanley Wood’s Ned Cramer for commissioning the project in the first place; to 2011 AIA President Clark Manus for supporting the vision of the project; to Tulane Architecture Dean Ken Schwartz for encouraging the partnership, and to URBANbuild’s Byron Mouton for making it happen. And, of course, thanks to the eldo crew that led the efforts up to the Convention, and to the Tulane students who took it from there.
We’ll continue to provide updates on the house as it progresses. Even though the studs and OSB will eventually be covered up with a glamorous exterior skin system that will undoubtedly get all the attention, our humble materials will continue to do perform their duty, day in and day out, a subtle legacy of the 2011 AIA Convention.