Thanks to generous support from Johnson Controls Incorporated, City Center and Tulane School of Architecture faculty and students can provide pro-bono design and planning services to these two New Orleans based non-profit and community-based organizations during the 2016-17 school year.

This year, our jury had an incredibly hard time selecting only two projects!  We’d like to thank Judith Kinnard, Rashida Ferdinand, Natan Diacon-Furtado, Michael Cunningham, Shaquita Borden, Scott Bernhard, Allison Schiller, and Saundra Reed for sharing their time and talents with us in making this decision.

Edible School Yard New Orleans students

Edible School Yard New Orleans students

Our visioning/planning project partner,  Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA), is a signature program of FirstLine Schools and provides K-12 students across FirstLine’s five open enrollment schools in New Orleans with a rich array of experiences that will prepare them for success in school and in life.

Additionally, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans delivers hands-on, curriculum-based environmental science and cooking classes to students and special garden and food education events each year for students and families. The mission of ESYNOLA is to teach children to make healthy connections through food. City Center will work with ESYNOLA in Fall 2016 to develop a design plan for the Garden Kitchen Classroom at Firstline’s Phillis Wheatley Community School in Tremé, developing design concepts that will serve as a tool to help secure funding for the outdoor multi-use weather-proof classroom. ESYNOLA anticipates that City Center’s design will answer such challenges as managing storm-water and irrigation, connecting with the culinary history of the neighborhood, and building stronger relationships with students’ parents and families, and with the school community.  

Big Class students in the Writer’s Room

Big Class students in the Writer’s Room

Our design/build project collaborator, Big Class, works to cultivate and support the voices of New Orleans’ writers ages 6-18 through creative collaborations with schools and communities. In Big Class programs, from the city-wide Pizza Poetry Project to after-school and in-school workshops, young people become published authors with the support of caring mentors, building their arsenal of literacy skills and boosting their confidence in the process. One of Big Class’s largest programs to date, the Writer’s Room at Sylvanie Williams College Prep (SWCP) reaches over 350 students annually. Currently, the Writers’ Room offers pre-K - 7th grade students a safe, quiet place to collaborate with volunteers, write and get feedback on their writing, attend writing clubs, and read other students’ published works.

City Center will work with Big Class in Spring 2017 to design and renovate the current Writer’s Room into a modular space that will inspire young people at SWCP to tell their stories and remind them that their voices matter, as well as enlarge the room to accommodate SWCP’s expansion into 8th grade in the 2017-2018 school year. As the only open room in the school, the new room will also serve as storage for art supplies, host professional development sessions for teachers, and occasionally host related service-providers like occupational therapy and counseling.

We’re excited to get to work this fall semester, and we hope to see all of you at City Center to celebrate the completion of these projects with us!

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