Woodward Project Makes the “Best of” List

1 April 2011

New Orleans Magazine published its annual “Best New Architecture” issue. Featured at the head of the story is the gleaming new Dillard University Professional Schools Building. We are proud to have delivered this important new facility to Dillard University, a school we rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. Congratulations to Dr. Marvalene Hughes, the entire staff and student body at Dillard University, and our design partners on the project, Madison Madison International and Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects.

New Orleans Magazine

Best New Architecture – The Top 5 in New Orleans

New Orleans Magazine

2 March 2011

Dillard University
Professional Schools Building

Following their work on master planning for Dillard University, Sizeler Thompson Brown was engaged on the Professional Schools Building design in association with Woodward Design-Build and the Detroit firm of Madison Madison International for programming and schematic design. The large three-story building is well-sited on the Dillard campus. Utilizing the traditional white brick, it has a prominent entrance with a full-height colonnade facing the main quadrangle with its Rosa Keller Avenue of Oaks. The building also has two other entrances: a major one to the north and a modest one toward the neighborhood to the east. This relates to a theme of the building’s design, that the first floor facilitates interaction with the community. The monumental north side facade, including clock tower, currently seems somewhat of a miscue, addressing a group of small non-university buildings across a street; however, in a future campus development scenario, it will face onto a courtyard.

Inside, the building’s central organizing space is a full-height atrium. On the first floor a large, glass-walled, subdivisible classroom generates activity along one side; on the other is a moot court room, designed to foster students’ communication skills. The glass walls of these spaces slide open to provide a large contiguous event space. The building houses multiple departments, and shared spaces from corridors to conference rooms and a large auditorium are orchestrated to promote interaction and collaboration among the diverse disciplines.

Aspects of sustainable design are both visible and invisible. On the exterior, systems of stormwater management are well-conceived and deployed. Rainwater from roofs is collected, some utilized in a sculptural fountain and some channeled through a newly created wetland, eventually reaching the historic campus duck pond, a remnant of the Gentilly Bayou. There is also a large frame above the main western entrance, originally designed as a shading structure. A terrace at the third floor also sports a miniature green roof. Here and elsewhere around the perimeter native plants are emphasized. Inside at the entrance is a building energy-monitoring station, designed to provide real-time information. In the atrium are slow-moving destratification fans at the top – a visible and dynamic element. The client brought an interest in sustainable design to the table, and the architects have responded in a multiplicity of ways.

Woodward Design+Build; Chris Michel, Chris Mardis, Meghan Smith; Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects; Ian Thompson, principal-in-charge; Bill Sealy, project architect; Lisa Kay Gilkison, Julia Stefanski, interiors, Madison Madison International

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