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 2023 |  Renovation  | 7,500 sq. ft.
Tulane University

Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching

Tulane’s Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT) is committed to fulfill the core purpose of creating meaningful learning through exceptional teaching. Studio West saw this project as an opportunity to design a new dedicated space on Tulane’s campus to promote research about teaching and create community among faculty. The new Center includes a technology-enabled classroom for faculty instruction, several small conference rooms, a lounge, a communal kitchen with a coffee bar, and administrative offices and support spaces.

A hub for faculty training and technology assistance

Located on the third floor of Tulane University’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, the new Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching is an ideal location for the program’s mission of promoting synergies between research and teaching. Libraries are transforming from repositories of books to centers of knowledge and learning, and partnerships with academic institutions such as CELT enrich the experience of the University community. The space was previously a mash-up of IT spaces, storage, dated classrooms, and library stacks. In collaboration with the Library staff, Studio West worked to efficiently reorganize the stacks, so only a minimal amount of collection reorganization was required, and designed updated graduate study carrels to provide more flexible and functional modern study spaces. This allowed for both CELT and the library to gain new spaces from the construction project.

Evolving role of libraries

A character defining feature of the Tulane University Howard-Tilton Library interior is it’s sculptural vaulted ceiling dating from the 1960s. The 4’-2” x 4’-4” ceiling grid is difficult to retrofit, so most projects in the library resolve to demolish the sculptural ceiling and replace it, which is costly as it requires relocating mechanical, electrical and fire suppression systems. Studio West mocked up several retrofit lighting and smooth panel options, providing a template for how future spaces in the library can be renovated without resorting to removing the entire ceiling. In addition, to maintain the interior character of the library, the design decision to retain the existing ceiling grid, led to a more sustainable interior by minimizing construction waste and was a cost-effective solution for the project.