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      American Institute of Architects Conducting Design Assistance Project In New Orleans

      Charrette To Center on the Future of Elysian Fields Avenue Corridor

      Contact: John Schneidawind
      202-626-7457
      johnschneidawind@aia.org
      http://twitter.com/AIA_Media

      For immediate release:
      Washington, D.C. – April 28, 2011 –
      The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced that the AIA’s Center for Communities by Design, in accordance with the AIA’s long-standing commitment to public service, will conduct a pro-bono design assistance project on the Elysian Fields Avenue Corridor in downtown New Orleans.

      The effort, known in the architecture world as a charrette, will take place May 8 through 11, just before the AIA’s annual convention in New Orleans convenes May 12-14. It culminates in a final presentation to the community on May 11 at Dillard University at 6:30 p.m.

      The AIA will lead a multi-disciplinary team of national experts, in partnership with Eskew, Dumez & Ripple, a leading New Orleans firm. The team will be led by Todd Scott, AIA, who has been involved in and led design assistance projects in places as diverse as Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and Maine. Scott will work with city officials, residents and corridor stakeholders to analyze existing conditions along the corridor and form a set of design recommendations for its future.

      The charrette will involve public tours, stakeholder work sessions, public workshops, interviews, and design studio sessions with partners from the New Orleans design community. The team’s work will focus on both the corridor as a whole, as well as strategic sites that lend themselves to urban design interventions. The project will build upon the current momentum in New Orleans to revamp its major streets for livability and economic revitalization. The full team roster will be issued shortly.

      “The AIA’s Center for Communities by Design builds on the AIA’s four-decade legacy of working with communities and assembling some of the best architectural talent the country has to offer for projects just like this one,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA. “As we assemble in New Orleans to dialogue on the importance of designing our cities and their regions to ensure that ecology matters, this specific endeavor is but one example of the AIA’s commitment to the city of New Orleans and its revitalization.”

      In the cultural life of the city, Elysian Fields Avenue is in part notable for being the fictional setting for Tennessee Williams' play “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Its importance from a redevelopment perspective derives from its unique position in the city’s urban landscape. It is the only avenue in all of New Orleans that connects the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain with a single, straight, north-south line. It was also the first point upon which the city of New Orleans reached the lakefront; as a result it became the axis on which the city developed throughout the area.

      About the AIA Center for Communities by Design
      The Center for Communities by Design is the clearinghouse for the American Institute of Architects' many activities—from promoting sustainable design to leading design based technical assistance projects in communities—that influence the quality of life in our nation's communities. The center is a nonpartisan forum that provides information, develops policy, creates partnerships, and assists in advocacy efforts to facilitate discussions of community design and inform choices for neighborhoods, cities, regions, and the nation.

      About The American Institute of Architects
      For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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