Irvin Mayfield's Blog

Week 9: Kenneth Schwartz

by StephanieMayne on Mar.23, 2011, under Weekly Guests

Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA

Dean, Tulane School of Architecture

Website

Twitter – @DeanKenneth

Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA came to Tulane University from the University of Virginia where he was a professor of architecture, former department chair and associate dean, and chair of the Faculty Senate. He has over twenty-seven years of teaching and practice experience in architecture, preservation, urban design and community planning. As a founding principal of CP+D (Community Planning + Design) and Schwartz-Kinnard, Architects, he has won four national design competitions exploring the constructive force that progressive urbanism and architecture can play in rebuilding cities. In addition to his design work, Mr. Schwartz has served as a planning commissioner and member of the Board of Architectural Review for the City of Charlottesville, focusing on design and preservation issues in the community. Mr. Schwartz served on the University of Virginia Master Planning Committee and the Art and Architecture Review Board for the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a Past President of the National Architecture Accrediting Board and recent board member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Schwartz was awarded UVA’s Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award, the university’s highest teaching honor given to one faculty member each year. Mr. Schwartz is pleased to be continuing his work as an educator, architect, and engaged citizen at the Tulane School of Architecture.


31 Comments for this entry

  • AlexR

    Mr. Kenneth Schwartz is a professor and dean at Tulane University. He gave a very detail presentation of Tulane’s architecture program. There were various projects that were presented that showed the school’s works. The program seems to be very interactive in that the students often design and play an active role in the building. The site that was created to develop gardens or vegetables to sell to the community was especially appealing. Also, I was interested to hear about the church in the lower ninth ward. The Episcopal Church, which was once a Walgreens, had its interior done in a way that is unexpected and beautiful. I’ve never been there, but I live not far from the site. So I’m planning on visiting the church to examine what the inside looks like.

    Mr. Schwartz illustrated the importance of architecture. He compared it as being as important in defining & distinguishing the city of New Orleans as its food, music, and culture does. I agree with him totally. The architecture of the buildings and homes here in the city has much appeal to the tourists. I know this from working at a tourism center. Tourists comment on our architecture all the time.

    Though Mr. Schwartz is employed at a private university as well as promoting it, he understands the role that public universities play in the communities. It provides people with a way to better their lives through higher education, when they may not necessarily be able to afford a private education. It was nice of him to provide us students an in-depth look into architecture, Tulane’s architectural program, related community projects, as well as his life story.

  • JustinF

    Kenneth Schwartz, Dean of Tulane’s School of Architecture, is putting into motion some projects that can be very beneficial to the city of New Orleans. With all of the blighted property in the city, much of which can not be blamed on Hurricane Katrina, it can be depressing to travel through many areas. Central City, in particular, looks Third World in many parts, so the efforts of Schwartz’s team are very welcomed and refreshing. What’s so great about much of the company’s work is the fact that much of it is done to better such neglected neighborhoods as Central City. For example, the futuristic looking house built on Saratoga and Seventh is breath-taking and I can imagine it does wonders for the psyche of those that live in the neighborhood. Another wonderful project by Schwartz and his team was constructed in another deprived, underprivileged neighborhood in the city – the Hollygrove area. I just recently learned about the concept of a food desert, an area where healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables are scarce. Holygrove is one of these areas and Scwartz’s team developed a market in the area in which the residents have access to healthy foods. Their goal, according to Schwartz, was to bring a garden to such a desert. In addition to the health benefits for the residents, there is also opportunity for economic benefit, as some of the people in the neighborhood are able to grow foods and sell them. Clearly, New Orleans and its residents benefit from projects such as these, and it would be great if other organizations followed suit and took part in such projects as Schwartz and his team.

  • JohnW

    Kenneth Schwartz is the dean of the Tulane School of Architecture and was this weeks guest. He started off with an excellent presentation about the various projects that his department is part of. It was very detailed and well thought out. The passion Mr. Schwartz has for architecture was apparent just minutes into his delivery. After the presentation, Mr. Schwartz talked about how his interest in architecture came to him before he was a teenager, and that architecture should interest everyone because it is part of all of our lives even it we do not realize it. He explained how architecture draws from and expresses culture, especially in a city like New Orleans, which is why he wanted to move here. When most people think of New Orleans, the first things that comes to mind are food and music, but Mr. Schwartz stressed that architecture is another area that makes this city unique and interesting. I have not been to many big cities, but I would agree that New Orleans has some very unique buildings and structures. He then talked about how there is a strong focus on more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to build and maintain, such as better water management. Later on, Mr. Schwartz emphasized how important public institutions, like UNO, are to the communities that they serve by providing the area with an affordable opportunity for a higher education. Even though he is employed by a private institution, this shows that a college degree is important no matter where you get it from. Mr. Schwartz has opened my eyes to how architecture is not just about building something, it is a way to express our culture to the world.

  • CynthiaS

    This week’s guest was Kenneth Schwartz. Kenneth Schwartz is the dean of the Tulane School of Architecture and has over twenty-seven years of teaching and practice experience in architecture, preservation, urban design and community planning. He has won four national design competitions as a founding principal of CP+D (Community Planning + Design) exploring the constructive force that progressive urbanism and architecture can play in rebuilding cities. He is a past president of the National Architecture Accrediting Board and recent board member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. During the interview, Irvin asked Dean Schwartz why was he interested in Architecture and he said, “I knew by age twelve that I was interested in art and building things because I couldn’t figure out how to sculpture or Paint.” He was to fortunate to know his calling at such a young and impressionable age because some people spend a life time trying to figure it out. As a profession, Architects have separated themselves from others because the field of architecture has become more specialized and sophisticated even to the point of arrogance, as he stated. There should be a deep connection between the craft and the people who are affected by it in their communities. Everyone should be interested in Architecture because it provides us with shelter, life, love, and things that we take for granted daily. Architecture draws from culture and it makes culture rich and unique. For example, fundamentally speaking, architecture is the DNA of New Orleans along with food, music, and Mardi Gras. There is no other place in America like New Orleans with its distinct houses, corner stores, and monumental buildings. This city is definitely distinctive and unique according to its Architectural heritage. Dean Schwartz should be commended for all of the work that he has done and is doing to rebuild our neighborhoods and communities, especially after the devastation of hurricane Katrina. Blighted property and buildings are definitely taking away from the Integrity of our city’s architectural heritage in neighborhoods devastated by Katrina.

  • JustinF

    In addition to the seemingly humanitarian work that Kenneth Schwartz and his team are doing in the New Orleans area, I was also impressed by a lot of the points that he made regarding architecture as a whole. I was a little surprised when Schwartz mentioned how he had been interested in becoming an architect at a very young age. If you ask children what they want to be when they grow up, architecture is not really expected to be a common reply. However, when Schwartz expressed how the creative aspect of architecture is very similar to other art forms, it made sense. Architecture can, in many ways, be as appealing to a creative mind as sculpting, painting, and music. One of our previous guests, renown painter, George Rodrigue, mentioned that anything that is made, is drawn up prior to its creation. In this way and in the many points that Schwartz made, architecture is an undeniable art form. In fact, Schwartz even referred to architecture as a “social art,” as a great majority of meetings between people, whether formal or informal, takes place within the structure of a building. He also expressed how, like other art forms, much emotional investment is put into architecture. The cultural effects are also strong, with New Orleans serving as a perfect example. Our shotgun houses and the building designs of the French Quarter are immediately recognizable and unlike any other city in the country. Despite these facts, however, Schwartz acknowledges that most of us, myself included, often times take architecture for granted. However, I also believe that many of us appreciate its power. For example, during my first trip to New York City, I remember viewing the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Heights. My brother and I were both awestruck at the view. I’ve seen mountains and beaches, but to this day, I consider that view of the Manhattan skyline to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Schwartz is correct, architecture is definitely an art form.

  • CynthiaS

    The majority of students in our class agree with Mr. Schwartz when he says that the buildings and architecture of New Orleans are reflective of the History of New Orleans and the city’s monumental heritage. In his own words, he said, “It is as important and distinct as New Orleans food, music and culture.” New Orleans is famous for its plethora of unique architectural styles, from Creole cottages to the grand mansions of St. Charles, from the balconies of the French Quarter to an Egyptian Revival Custom House and a rare example of Moorish revival church. The city boasts fine examples of almost every architectural style, from the Baroque Cabildo to the modernist skyscrapers of the Central business district. The colorful architecture of New Orleans both old and new is historic treasures. Creole cottages are scattered throughout the city of New Orleans, with most being built around 1790-1850. The majority of these cottages are found in the French Quarter. Creole Townhouses are perhaps the most iconic pieces of architecture in the city of New Orleans. They were built after the Great New Orleans Fire (1788) until the mid 19th century. The previous wooden buildings were replaced with structures with courtyards, thick walls, arcades, and wrought iron balconies. Shotgun Houses were built from 1850 to 1910, and can be found throughout the city. Double Gallery Houses were built in New Orleans between 1820 and 1850. These were built as a variation of the American Townhouses in what was at that time considered the New Orleans suburbs of the Garden District, Uptown, and the Esplanade Ridge. The California-style Bungalow Houses were built from the early –to mid-20th century in neighborhoods such as Mid-City, Gentilly Terrace, Broadmoor, and scattered throughout older neighborhoods in New Orleans. Mr. Schwartz emphasized during the interview that we must protect what is important to our city’s integrity. Many of the structures that were torn down in the Treme area were historical structures that people felt passionately fond of saving. Instead, they were torn down and something new was rebuilt and made to look historic. However, nothing could ever replace the authentic historical heritage these structures brought to New Orleans. Mr. Schwartz gave a very interesting presentation on the Tulane school of Architecture. He focused on building better neighborhoods and communities and implementing special projects. I was really impressed with the Holly Grove Market project. This project demonstrates how to bring healthy food to a neighborhood desert and how people can become educated about healthy food strategies. The Tulane School of Architecture is known for design excellence and is one of the oldest schools in the country.

  • JessicaD

    Kenneth Schwartz is about as new to this city as I am. He is the dean of the Tulane School of Architecture, the position that brought him to New Orleans, and seems to be doing really great work since his arrival. The projects and programs Tulane offers to their students, and, in turn, the services those students offer to their community, are inspiring. They are involved in projects to revive the city through sustainable, green architecture that helps to unify a community in the process. Among their completed projects are a community garden and market in Hollygrove and their construction of shotgun-style homes that are available to the public. These students, led by Dean Schwartz, are given the opportunity to receive a great education, and actually take part in an architectural experience that not only helps to build their resumes but also does great things for the city. As Kenneth Schwartz noted, sometimes a field such as architecture can distance the creator from his work, but in this case he shows an enthusiasm for the artistry that goes into the structures he designs, and also a connection to the people who will eventually use his creations. He gave me a very different perception of what architecture can be. On one hand, it is a completely functional field, but on the other is one of the most understated art forms. This fusion of function and beauty must make architecture a very exciting career to participate in, and I respect Mr. Schwartz for putting so much of his effort into a community that he is so new to. This was certainly a very inspiring interview, as it reminded me that everybody has some skill to offer to better their community.

  • DavidR

    Kenneth Schwartz is a very innovative thinker. His PowerPoint presentation reminded me of Steve Jobs unveiling the newest Apple product. But Mr. Schwartz doesn’t work in computers, he’s an architecture guru. He talks about his taste in architecture like it’s his taste in food, with flavor and nutrition compromised. Buildings need to operate efficiently and look pretty.

    A prime example of how architecture is as important as food is the Hollygrove Farmer’s Market. It’s a physical manifestation of the link between architecture and food. It’s amazing how after Katrina they took an abandoned building, and made it a source for food where there was no source of food for miles. They made a garden, and developed a building to host classes for gardening. They taught a kid to grow plantains, who now sells his crops at the farmer’s market. The look on the kid’s face, selling his plantains had me wondering about what his life is like. It just seemed gardening is such a wholesome thing he could be doing, giving memories and skills he will hold on to for the rest of his life.

    All the houses they built for people look amazingly futuristic, and come with smart features like hurricane shutters. They are built with the idea that New Orleans should work harder to adapt to it’s environment, based on the lessons taught from hurricanes. Although the houses look futuristic, it still has a very New Orleans look to it, if that makes sense.

    He doesn’t want his futuristic buildings everywhere. He showed a concern for preserving original New Orleans architecture in many cases. He showed a distaste for the fakeness of new buildings badly imitating old ones. In particular, he mentioned the projects. I remember when the New York Times wrote about the beauty of certain projects they were going to tear down, and replace with similar looking buildings.

    I would like to see the modern style of Dean Kenneth Schwartz and his young architects students influence entire neighborhoods, particularly parts of New Orleans that are currently ghost towns.

  • AlexR

    Is seems that other students that were as struck by garden project that was made in holly grove as I was. The project was so innovative and was able to give the community something unique. Mr. Schwartz told how a boy was taught to grow plantains and sold them at the market. I never learned to garden or anything but I would imagine it is awsome to see food grown from scratch in gardens. In addition, I could see that by allowing this kid to be able to make money from the food is a way of motivating him to work. And it also is a good outlet that would minimize his likelyness to get involved in delinquent activity.

    People commented on the importance of architecture in the way that Mr. Schwatz potrayed. Architecture was sayed to combine function and art. Some of the projects that that the Tulane School of Architecture works on stands out from a physical view. They have a more modern look and try to incorporate modern functionality into the houses. However, others have modern functionality but there is an attempt to keep the old fashion look of the exterior in order to blend in with the neighborhood. This is because the architecture of certain communities is something that is unique and attempts to preserve this uniqueness is a priority. The Tulane school of architecture is a school that gives back to the community and gives the students opportunites to get a lot of hands on experience based on what was presented to me by Mr. Schwartz.

  • ElizabethP

    This week’s guest was Kenneth Schwartz is dean of architecture at Tulane University. He is very active in the community, and has used his skills to help improve the community. During the last few years, he has developed programs that have benefited numerous neighborhoods like the Ninth ward, Treme and Hollygrove. The community garden in Hollygrove is an amazing example of the “Teach a man to fish” theory. Here, they offered classes so residents could learn how to grow a garden, then developed a space where they could sell their vegetables. Also, this project brought healthy food to a neighborhood that had no healthy choices before. This is a perfect example of the theory that architecture can have more than just an aesthetic affect on a neighborhood. Under Dean Schwartz’s leadership, the architecture department at Tulane has done projects that are helping bring New Orleans back.

    He talked about the importance of maintaining original New Orleans architecture styles, and how quick a city can loose its character when futuristic or modern buildings replace historic ones. With that thought in mind, Tulane’s programs strive to help New Orleans adapt to its environment. They incorporate the use of hurricane shutters and stronger foundations in their projects. The Tulane students get the chance to not only learn but contribute to the community at the same time.

    He has a passion for architecture that is infectious, and he brought an exciting view of the field to our class. He had a deep concern for the people who he is creating structures for, and the communities these homes and projects are being built in. He also pointed out that buildings can be both functional and beautiful at the same time, and that you can incorporate modern technology into traditional features. He expressed his dislike for how fake some new buildings are, when they try to appear old, and fail miserably. I particularly liked his view that architecture is a form of art, and is as important to the New Orleans culture as food and music.

  • AdamS

    Today’s guest was Kenneth Schwartz who has a Masters of architecture. Not only does he work as an architect but also teaches architecture at Tulane. He has twenty-seven years of practicing and teaching experience. At the University of Virginia, he was a professor, department chair and associate dean, and chair of the Faculty Senate. At Tulane, Mr Schwartz is also dean of the Architecture college. His most recent accomplishment is a program developed to let students interactively work and design their own construction. This is a very interesting project.

    Mr. Schwartz doubled the graduation rate for the Architectural Department with so many programs to offer, one such program is URBANbuild. This program builds eco friendly houses for people in the community. One of the most interesting projects was when students built a Growers market and farm in the Holygrove section of the city. This is part of the department’s objective to provide a forum for students and faculty to work on projects in partnership with community based organizations. Not only did the students produce a market and farm, but through this project they brought the community together, and people of this area will grow their own fruits and vegetables there.

    He also talked about how important preservation is in this city and in the United States. Mr. Schwartz discussed the issue of how a certain neighborhood was knocked down then rebuilt to resemble the original look. He said no matter how close they look to the original, they won’t ever be the same and the state should have preserved the original houses. This is important because New Orleans is all about preservation.

    This was a great guest and very informative. I wasn’t aware of how many community projects built in the city were eco friendly. The programs Mr. Schwartz offer are very interesting, and I hope many students keep helping to improve the community.

  • ElizabethP

    After reading other students posts, I found a few common themes. First, almost everyone mentioned how exciting the projects Tulane’s architecture program has done are. They all benefit the communities they are in, and try to improve each of those communities. Also, many people mentioned how important architecture is to the culture of New Orleans, and appreciated how much attention Dean Schwartz placed on that importance in each program he discussed. Lots of people mentioned the Hollygrove community garden and how beneficial it is to that neighborhood and its residents.
    Most of the bloggers also mentioned how passionate Dean Schwartz was about architecture and its role in our city and the city’s recovery. I also found this enthusiasm exciting, and am eager to see what new projects Tulane will develop.

    I also noticed that a few people commented on Dean Schwartz’s’ thoughts on how important public higher education is. Even though he works for a private institution, he recognized that public universities provide educational opportunities to the communities they serve that would not exist otherwise.
    I also liked that AdamS mentioned URBANbuild, one of the Tulane architecture department’s projects that is eco friendly.
    Dean Schwartz was a great guest, with many interesting views.

  • AdamS

    It seems like most liked the idea of Mr. Schwartz’s design class where students get involved in the community and build an eco friendly structure. Mr Schwartz also discussed how important architecture is to the city. “He compared it as being as important in defining & distinguishing the city of New Orleans as its food, music, and culture does,” ALexR stated.

    People also like his idea of building new structures in areas of deconstruction which is raising awareness to the community and helping the areas come back to life. This is a positive thing for the city and promotes rebirth. This a good move for our city. Mr. Schwartz with his students are helping bring New Orleans back.

    Classmates also admired how Mr. Schwartz knew at a young age that he wanted to be an architect. They found it admirable that a kid at a young age could be interested in that. It takes much skill to get where Schwartz is today and is accomplishments are pretty astounding.

    Many students interested in Architecture should definitely take his Masters program. Not even being interested in this major, it made me want to join right away. Mr. Schwartz definitely knows his skill and shows students it with much passion and interest.

  • JimmyS

    During this class, I was able to meet an outstanding character. A person that is usually well spoken, articulated, an intellectual and a leader. He was able to put Tulane school of Architecture to the most recognized schools in the country. Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA came to Tulane University from the University of Virginia where he was a professor of architecture, former department chair and associate dean, and chair of the Faculty Senate. In his 16 years at the University of Virginia, Schwartz has assumed numerous leadership roles, focusing on strengthening the architecture program’s relationship between design, theory and the art of building well. The U.Va. School of Architecture is widely known for its excellence in integrating building design, theory, and practice with public service, community engagement, sustainability, and advanced computing. Believing an architect must be an engaged citizen, Schwartz has worked to increase awareness of architecture’s role in the community through his service on the City of Charlottesville and New Orleans. Planning Commission and Board of Architectural Review. He also founded the non-profit Design Resources Center, a community-based organization that uses design to increase communication among the public and private sectors, university administration and developers concerning growth, development and urban design issues and their short- and long-term impacts on the community, economy, and environment. His charm and leadership skills has taken him to new allures in the city of New Orleans, and he will be a leading figure in his community.

  • JessicaD

    What most impressed me and my fellow classmates about our guest, Kenneth Schwartz, is his willingness to give back to a community in need. He has a very keen sense of the culture of New Orleans, and how much architecture has been a part of shaping that culture. He recognizes the beauty that exists in the buildings in this city, and even equated our specific style of architecture with the other cultural touchstones of food and music. With this in mind, he works with his students to build progressive, green structures that still respect and celebrate the architectural tradition here in New Orleans. The project that made the most impact was his community garden in Hollygrove. The food deserts that exist in this country are not only unfortunate, but inexcusable, and people like Kenneth Schwartz are making a big difference by improving their communities from the ground up. It shows integrity that Kenneth Schwartz uses his talents to improve areas of the city that are most devastated. He could just as easily work in more affluent parts of town that have money and resources to rebuild their neighborhoods on their own, but he chooses to share his time and effort with those who really need his help. Together with his students at Tulane, Kenneth Schwartz has a lot to show for himself during his short time in New Orleans, and I’m sure he will continue his work to revitalize our city in the years to come.

  • JohnW

    Virtually every blog agrees with Mr. Schwartz that architecture is one of the most recognizable aspects of New Orleans, in addition to its food and music. Even though our unique shotgun houses and courtyards are important, there is also room for modern designs and practices. The concept of a food desert was another prominent topic discussed. I have never heard of that term before and had no idea what a food desert was, but after hearing Mr. Schwartz, we now know that it is an area lacking fresh produce that is locally grown and sold. This is a very intriguing idea and after further consideration it makes perfect sense to take an abandoned area and turn it into a self-sustaining food resource. Great innovations like this are helping New Orleans move into the right direction. Others wrote about how it was a little surprising for Mr. Schwartz to become so interested in architecture at such an early age when most children do not even know what architecture is.
    Thinking of architecture as a social art fueled by emotions was another area discussed. Some take architecture for granted and do not realize just what goes into planning and designing a building, or how there must be a balance between looking good and functioning efficiently. There seems to be an ever increasing demand for greener buildings that require thinking outside of the box. I, along with others in my class, believe that Kenneth Schwartz is on the right track to helping New Orleans move into the future through innovative planning and fresh ideas.

  • TheodoreR

    Kenneth Schwartz is an interesting individual—he kind of reminded me of an old teacher. His mission to transform the city of New Orleans by using brilliant, green technology and avant-garde architecture to build new structures here. First, his slide show presentation pushed the school of architecture at Tulane University standards and gave us brief examples of the students’ work. Some of the builds that fascinated me was the Hollygrove Farmers Market with man-made irrigation and the shotgun house that reminds me of a futuristic diner that I would see on SCAD’s campus. He has a very acknowledgeable agenda, and that is to improve the structure of New Orleans.
    I’ve never really been interested in architecture, but Schwartz’s presentation kind of set off a creative spark in my mind. I bet him and the students would be great set designers—I have to keep that in mind. What I do know is that if I ever want them to build me house in the future—which sounds like a plan—I have no place for nostalgia, which I’m just fine with that.
    Kenneth, like the most professional people, found his passion during childhood. “I knew I wanted to be an architect by the time I was twelve”, says he. His imagination inspired his craft—using his hands to build is his gift.
    Yes, Mr. Schwartz is a very busy man—a professor of architecture, a husband, an architect, and businessman, a thinker, a doer. He is head of this new master’s program called a Masters of Sustainable Real Estate Development, which is basically a graduate program that teaches tools on how to “regenerate cities, tax credits, sustainable design principles, working with attorneys and politicians . . .to really understand how to re-create our cities from within, rather than building on green field sites.” A mouthful, I know.
    My interest did not click with his interview portion, I felt as though he was mimicking everyone else’s information about life; even though he could elaborate a great deal about how architecture could benefit the city of New Orleans, all of the information went into one ear and out the other. One thing that Schwartz believes in is regeneration and creating new opportunities for growth—a good thing. For instance, someone asked if his students could possible rebuild a nostalgic, New Orleans style home—with old-fashioned Spanish architecture I’m assuming—and he said that they would not because it would be a “missed opportunity”. He mentioned something of the sort talking about historical housing being demolished and rebuilt into new housing that attempts to imitate the old style structure; this is not they way to preserve a historic landmark, but as long as they are strong, supportive houses and contributing to the community, they are ok—his words summarized.
    Kenneth Schwartz was an all-around well-spoken character, even though his interview was far from interesting. I bet if gave it a chance that I would slightly enjoy architecture, but in the meantime, I could pass.

  • NickD

    Kenneth Schwartz’s interview gave me a different outlook on architecture. It is more that blueprints and construction, but a way of an artist to create something unique. He was incredibly articulate and by the way he spoke, you could tell that he is very passionate about his work, both in and out of the classroom. It’s funny because I deal with architects on a weekly basis and they can be very difficult people to work with. Sometimes they get so caught up in their creativity that they don’t stop to think if something can actually be carried out to the T. I can see now why they do the things they do. It is just like an artist staring at a black canvas. They want to create something unique that people will see and be amazed.
    Mr. Schwartz said that the profession has become more specialized and that there is a sort of arrogance that surrounds it. I think he is correct with his statement. Sometimes you get these architects that are such egomaniacs that they begin to tell the homeowner’s what to do and how something is GOING to be done. Do I agree, no, but at the same time we need to understand that this is the architect’s brand. They want their work to be perfect. Having said that, I think that Mr. Schwartz works with the best interest of his students and the people he is working for in mind.
    Looking at some of the projects he has done, you can see the creativity in them and the willingness to let others put in their opinions as well; i.e. Students. I am in total agreement with him stating that architecture is a social art. Without it we would be living under rocks or in caves. Every home or building that goes up has it unique features that you won’t find anywhere else. Kenneth knows his profession and is passionate about what he does and willing to pass on his knowledge to better the people around him. Now let’s see if he can stop that sun from baking Tulane in the afternoons.

  • NickD

    So, the blogs seem to be leaning towards architecture as it relates to our city. From the farmer’s market to the modern houses being built, the old Walgreens turned into a church and the one theme that flows through them all, the art that is New Orleans architecture.
    Kenneth, even though he is not from New Orleans, shows a passion for the city and the work that he does for it. It seems that he is always ready to jump on to the next project and willing to help someone in need. I think that the class agrees that the projects Mr. Schwartz takes on have meaning, meaning, in the sense that, they are going to either change the community or someone’s life for the better. He also teaches this philosophy to his students in the form of helping to both design the projects and physically build them. It teaches creativity and dedication to making something from nothing and really pushing the envelope.
    I, as the rest of the bloggers, think that Mr. Schwartz and his team are making a big difference in the community. With each project he takes on, it strengthens the community around, the people living there and adds that much more character to our great city. I look forward to reading about the future projects he will be involved in and know that they will strengthen the culture of New Orleans more each time.

  • MariaC

    I enjoyed Dean Schwartz’s presentation at the beginning of the class. He definitely seemed like the most prepared for his interview and very eager to have people learn more about what he did and other projects that the School of Architecture had in development and had completed. I did not know that Tulane had completed so many projects in the area and I am actually really curious about the house that they built and would love to take a ride soon to go see it in person. I also like how the school is also doing community projects such as the farmers market. They are not only finding away to bring the community together but are also finding ways for people in the community to make community together and make it environmentally friendly by using water runoff instead of using water from the hose. I loved how Dean Schwartz didn’t simply express architecture as building something but also as something that can make a difference in the community as well as preserve culture. When Dean Schwartz stated that “Architecture is a social art,” it really struck a chord with me. He seemed to display passion about what he does and really show that he understood what it was really all about.

  • HeidiO

    Everyone has their passions, and some people are lucky enough to make a career out of their passion. Kenneth Schwartz has found a way to turn his love for art into a career with architecture. He started off by giving a presentation on Tulane’s school of architecture. We then found out that he is the dean for the schools program. From the presentation, it was very evident that he uses his skills and knowledge to make the New Orleans area a better community, which is a very admiral trait. Schwartz has not always been at Tulane, however. He was at the University of Virginia for 24 years where he became chairman at a young 32. He loved it there, but jumped at the opportunity to come to New Orleans when the door opened for him three years ago. Here, he sees architecture as part of the culture just as much as food or music. When I thought about this, it is true. The French Quarter would not be the same, for example, if for some reason the historic buildings were knocked down and built to be more sleek and modern. “For newcomers, its like an education” he explains when he spoke of people taking interest in architecture for the first time. He also shared that if someone is not an architect but they still want to make a difference, all people have to do is preserve and protect what we already have. As this interview was taking place, it was very noticeable how intelligent and how well he spoke. His vocabulary he used was immaculate and just how he spoke of the many city projects, it was evident of his passion for his job and the art. My favorite quality of him was when he spoke of how he does not complain about his stresses and responsibilities. “If you’re complaining about it, you shouldn’t be in those jobs.” Well said, sir!

  • RussellL

    Mr. Kenneth Schwartz is the dean of Tulane University’s Architecture School. Mr. Schwartz has built a great reputation in a field that just so happens to be his passion—architecture. So, it is not surprising to me that he is now a lead educator at one of the most important universities in the south. Upon seeing his projects that were presented in class, it is obvious that he has a grip on the architectural style of New Orleans.
    Mr. Schwartz’s accomplishments in both the architecture and education worlds are overwhelmingly impressive. However, even though he has received high honors in both, I think it is fair to say that his true legacy will present itself in his work around New Orleans. Because our city’s culture is so unique, especially our architecture, it is an honor for both New Orleans and Mr. Schwartz to have him working and teaching in New Orleans.
    Of course, I am not an Architecture major nor do I know much about the fundamentals of the actual field. However, the average person can clearly see that the architecture of New Orleans is quite different than that of anywhere else in the country. So, when I learned of Mr. Schwartz’s past awards in different parts of the nation, I was impressed but not blown away. What really captured my attention was when he presented his works around New Orleans in class.

  • RussellL

    While I read over my fellow classmates’ blogs, I could not help but notice one characteristic of Mr. Schwartz that almost everyone was immediately pointing out—his passion. What makes Mr. Schwartz so unique is that his heavy passion lies within two fields: architecture and education. Well, of course, Mr. Schwartz thrived when he started teaching architecture.
    Another aspect about Mr. Schwartz that I noticed most other people in the class picked up on was his artistic ability and how much that is crucial in the field of architecture. This interview with him just made me realize once again how much creativity is important to every day life, especially in New Orleans.
    Throughout the past weeks in this course, we have seen how big of a role creativity and passion play in becoming successful. Mr. Schwartz is another prime example of why it is important to nurture your creative spirits and pay attention to your passion. Of course, Mr. Schwartz has opened our eyes in regards to how much these aspects of life apply to architecture. However, what is really important about our guest this week is Mr. Schwartz conquered a field that is highly competitive throughout the entire country; and the fact that he applies his incredible talents in New Orleans really says something about our city’s architecture and culture. His presence here makes me question whether New York is really the city that should be attached with the phrase, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

  • SaxonB

    After the interview with Kenneth Schwartz, I was surprised to know that everything he does is to its core a humanitarian and charitable act. The Architecture Program at Tulane (which he is dean too) gives back to our community in every project they take on. What a great idea? Offer a great education to students and at the same time do so much for so many people. A program like this will probably spawn more architects like Kenneth who will find a way to go past the profession and offer more than just built structures.
    Kenneth is a grand example of how we can all adapt our thinking from choosing what we want to do as a career or trade to taking the career, or trade and turning it into something that can be used to give back to other people in need. I think most people believe you have to choose between becoming wealthy or taking on a lifestyle that is charitable. Kenneth is obviously not lacking in wealth and is at the top of a career that doesn’t have to involve charitable acts what-so-ever, and yet he gets both. Again it’s that kind of effort and innovative thinking that can take our society further.

  • DavidR

    Looking at the other blogs, everyone seemed to talk a little about how passionate he is. He is passionate about architecture. His goal is to educate the world on how architecture relates to our city. Architecture is an important aspect of any place that people live in. For some reason it is often not even thought about. Having an awareness of architecture is important.

    A lot of people also thought it was remarkable that although he teaches at a private institution, he is committed to the preservation of public education. He thinks everyone deserves a shot at a good education. It is great to see someone in such a powerful position as a Dean of Tulane go to bat for us.

    Everyone also seems very interested in the projects Tulane has going in New Orleans. Everything building he showed us looked very futuristic. Although the buildings looked futuristic, they some how had a very New Orleans feel to them. It seems like they could blend in well with the areas that are important to preserve.

    Other people also seem very intrigued by the garden project in Holy Grove. It’s truly amazing to see something like that in Holy Grove of all places. Holy Grove has a bad rep, but here is evidence that something positive is blossoming over there.

  • RyanF

    Kenneth Schwartz is the Dean of Architecture at Tulane University. He hails from the University of Virginia and elected to come to New Orleans to become part of the rebirth of New Orleans. His “Master Plan” was to attract and retain students at Tulane University. He felt that the architecture, music, and food in New Orleans have always existed and felt that each of those characteristics of New Orleans has a major impact within the community. Schwartz realized that New Orleans has so much potential and that after Katrina New Orleans had so much momentum and everything became part of the process.
    He saw post Katrina New Orleans as the opportunity to re-imagine and reimage not only the environment, but also the landscape and footprint of the city. He believes that there is no city as of Architecture by creating useful art while still preserving the history, beauty, and original architecture in New Orleans. Schwartz feels there must be a balance between the old and the new in order to protect the city’s integrity. It is important that the architecture not be too aggressive. He compared New Orleans to Barcelona, Spain as a Renaissance city where a new city was built on the fabric of the old. When you think of New Orleans you “think” about architecture, “better” think about music, and you “have” to think about food. It is very easy to become very attached to buildings and to the clients who are the citizens of New Orleans.
    In the planning stage of Architecture it is important to engage your client, the citizens of New Orleans, but it is important to know that for students there is no right or wrong. The students need to establish a connection with the building. Any disconnect between the architect and the people only serves to marginalize ourselves. Preservation is important because disrepair is not significant in the grand scheme of things. The neighborhoods must not only be aesthetically pleasing, but also must be fundamentally functional. Architecture from a cultural standpoint draws from the culture while simultaneously contributing to the culture. The architecture allows us to be a part of life. Housing styles and corner stores in New Orleans is fundamentally part of our city’s DNA. At Tulane he wants there to be a growing representation about how the school engages with the community. Schwartz believes there should be a connection between civic engagement and social interaction.
    What was so impressive about Schwartz was not only his desire to come to New Orleans to help rebuild the city from an architectural standpoint, but also that he actually did something about it by uprooting his life, accepting the job at Tulane, and becoming part of the solution. Architecture is about solving problems and creating magic through art. His passion and commitment to the city is admirable and awe inspiring, Architects care about how they are perceived as well as how the art they create is perceived. It is also cool to know that Schwartz cares about preserving and working around the existing New Orleans architecture while planning and designing new buildings and homes. Although, he is not a native New Orleanian he understands the many things we love about our city and one of the most important things is our architecture.

  • HeidiO

    • Of course he has passion for what he does, it is the reason he is successful in his career. He is very well spoken, gets his point across to people, and he makes people interested in what he is talking about. All great qualities, however, I did feel a bit like I was attending an orientation for Tulane’s Architecture school. Stating out with the power point presentation, all the way to the end dealing with the questions. But, I do love what a student said “although, he is not a native New Orleanian he understands the many things we love about our city…” This is definately true, and it is the most crucial.

  • LacyL

    The professor and Dean of Tulane’s School of Architecture, Kenneth Shwartz is first and foremost a humanitarian and engaged citizen. What he has to offer the city is greatly appreciated and very much needed. He said “New Orleans’ architecture is as important as its music and food” – He’s right! The house he built on Seratoga and 7th is beautiful. What he did for Hollygrove is remarkable. I really like the plant facility that slows down water flow that he mentioned; I think that’s really innovative and could be very effective for the city. Words can’t explain how thankful I am to have people like Schwartz in our city helping make a different, not only do we need it, but we deserve it!

  • Pitre Sibyl

    This week was a bit different from the interview format we’ve gotten used to in this class. Kenneth Schwartz, dean of Tulane’s school of architecture, opted to show a presentation rather than be interviewed. So we got to know more about the school of architecture and the projects they have completed and are working on than about Mr. Schwartz himself as has been the theme this semester. This is not to say it wasn’t interesting, in fact, I found it quite informative. He was able to insert some personal tidbits as he went through his presentation which clearly demonstrated his deep affection of architecture. He remembers becoming interested in architecture at the young age of five and recalls being called a ‘disobedient malcontent’ along the way. Wisely, this ‘disobedient malcontent’, was not stifled by such comments. Instead he used it as a launch pad for creating solutions rather than let it stifle him. Schwartz sees architecture as a social art connecting with the community; it draws from culture and contributes to it.
    Where New Orleans in concerned, architecture is a fundamental part of our DNA.
    The one thing that really impressed me was his commitment to the community. While overseeing a budget of roughly $6 million, he makes sure faculty members are connected to the community by partnering them with local non-profits. Students work on community projects designed to uplift and involve the citizens. One example is the Hollygrove farmer’s market which is entirely designed and constructed by Tulane architecture students. Built on the site of an abandoned rail line, the market has breathed new life into the Hollygrove neighborhood. Residents have easy access to healthy foods while simultaneously supporting local growers. Additionally, a training farm adds an educational component to what the market is bringing to the community. The structure itself makes efficient use of space through multi-purposing and also includes a cistern for collecting rain water to be used on the grounds.
    There are too many ongoing and upcoming project to list but the one common thread throughout is the emphasis on eco-friendly construction utilizing sustainable products. In bringing these projects into the centers of neighborhoods, Schwartz is able to bring awareness to communities that may not otherwise be exposed to the benefits of this type of lifestyle. In doing so, people are learning how to live a more eco-friendly life.
    The only thing I was not fond of was the location of the Tulane Greenbuild 1 house. I understand the purpose of the project and support the reasoning for this type of sustainable construction. It’s the location I object to. I think its design is best suited for a suburban neighborhood. In no way, shape or form does it fit in with the architecture of the neighboring houses. Again, I realize aesthetics were not a concern in the construction of this house, but it sticks out like a sore thumb and takes away from the charm of the neighborhood. I feel just the same about the new construction happening along Leake Ave. They look like homes you would buy in box from say, Home Depot. They lack charm, personality, and take away from the historic homes in the area. I would like to see the students take on the challenge of creating an eco-friendly home while without straying away from the local architectural style we all love and admire. I’ll get off my soap box now….
    Ultimately, I know that Schwartz wants to and is doing what he feels his best for our community and has a genuine appreciation for the local architecture. For that, I thank him. His talent and dedication is an asset to our city.

  • MariaC

    I think my classmates found Dean Schwartz interview very intriguing and enjoyed his presentation that he had set up for us. Many of us, when we think about New Orleans, forget to take into account the architecture that makes things distinctly New Orleans. I think that Dean Schwartz reminded us to be more aware of the way things are built up around us because it really does affect our everyday life and how we interact with one another. Many of us were impressed with his and Tulane’s commitment to community projects.

  • MatthewM

    Dean Kenneth Schwartz differed greatly from the previous guests. This is a guy that opened up with a presentation. Presentations mean business, especially coming from the Dean of Tulane’s school of Architecture. Even though Schwartz doesn’t hail from New Orleans, he has a definitive grasp on what makes the city unique. His respect of the culture and his acknowledgement of the mixture between old and new architecture is proof that even an outsider can get the city. Not only does he get the city, but his goal is to better the city, which is more than evident in the Hollygrove Market & Farm.

    Schwartz approaches architecture as an art form. It’s clear that he’s very passionate about it. This is something that he’s been interested in since he was a child. Now that he’s doing what he loves, he continues to improve our fair city. Schwartz has been at it for some time now- he has over twenty-seven years of teaching and practice experience in architecture, preservation, urban design and community planning.

    The class was very pleased with Schwartz and the work he has done . They enjoyed his presentation and found him keeping their interest with his unbridled passion for architecture and his acknowledgement of it as something that is as culturally important as the food and music. Schwartz’s hard work and love for architecture has lead to some amazing things and here’s hoping to it leading to even more.

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