As one of the most well-respected research universities in the country, Tulane University continuously looks for ways to enhance its programs, facilities and offerings, which serve over 8,500 undergraduate students. In early 2021, they relocated their Academic Learning and Tutoring Center to Howard-Tilton Memorial Library (HTML), the main library on campus, to provide a central location for academic support. Tulane’s facilities team worked with VergesRome Architects to design the basement build-out of HTML and transform the space into a dynamic Testing + Tutoring Center. While a basement is usually thought of as isolated and cold, VergesRome rose to the challenge and designed a space that feels fresh and vibrant, incorporating pops of color and biophilic design, and complements the other renovations around campus. AOS provided a comprehensive suite of manufactured interior construction, furniture and acoustic solutions for the project to help create a productive, supportive and inclusive learning environment.
From organic chemistry to writing coaches, the Tutoring Center supports an array of student needs and instruction and gives them an ideal space for peer tutoring, independent work and group learning. The project includes offices for faculty members, private study rooms, group work spaces, individual study areas, and lockers for students to temporarily store their belongings. Flexible furniture solutions can be arranged specific to the task at hand or students can gather in comfortable lounge seating. In addition, mobile marker boards offer space delineation, privacy for one-on-one instruction and writable surfaces to brainstorm and share ideas. Felt ceiling baffles also enhance the acoustics by absorbing sound and minimizing noise from nearby students.
Adjacent to the Tutoring Center is a community space, where faculty and students can work in between classes and tutoring sessions. Tulane wanted to incorporate natural elements into the Center so VergesRome utilized an architectural acoustic solution that would introduce biophilic design, integrate with lighting, and help prevent sound from traveling to the nearby testing and tutoring rooms. Backed with absorptive PET fibers, the veneer slats aid acoustic comfort and bring in a natural warmth. Overall, the acoustic elements not only contribute to the well-being of student and faculty members but also enhance the clean, streamlined and modern aesthetic.
Just around the corner, the Testing Center also offers students an effective, quiet place to take exams. DIRTT walls, consisting of a combination of glass and solid panels, separate the Center into three rooms. They provide transparency across the testing areas and allow for future flexibility since they can adapt it to changing needs. Rows of study carrels and three small independent exams rooms help reduce distractions during test-taking while meeting spacial requirements and durability standards. Designed as a welcoming, agile education environment, Tulane’s Testing and Tutoring Center is now a high performing space that contributes to the academic success of students and their overall learning experience.
New Orleans, LA
15,400 SQ FT
DIRTT Combination Walls, Power, Acoustical Art Concepts Akupanel