Ciara Stein


Throwing Shade: Heatwaves, Emergency Preparedness, and Produced Risk

Advised by Jill Desimini

“Throwing Shade” introduces a series of public cooling landscapes designed to offer relief both daily and in emergencies. Through considering networks of infrastructure and public acupuncture, the design proposes heat escapes situated within, and with the capacity to be leveraged by, the social infrastructure of New Orleans’ Seventh Ward neighborhood. Inspired by the routes of Second Line parades, held by Social, Aid, and Pleasure Club mutual aid organizations, the project focuses on movements and moments within the neighborhood—specifically the library, park, highway underpass, and street medians. Each site has both distinct and connected histories, encompassing legacies of racism, resistance, and celebration, that are reflected in the design. Elements include infrastructure unbuilding, shade structures, tree plantings, de-paving, grading, water features, and solar energy capture. Through the throwing of shade, the project provides a framework for spatial memory and climatic justice.

Illustration of building interior facing outside with many trees, and  people sitting, walking, conversing, etc. A pair of hands holds a folded map in the foreground.  Circular insets include a thermometer, lungs, brain, and skin-cell.

A line drawing showing aerial view of a street intersection with buildings and trees. Multiple locations are highlighted to show the following: Medicine Refrigeration Access, Elevated Generator, Sprinklers, Road Closure, Drinking Water Access, Outdoor Kitchen, Solar Energy Storage, and Shaded Activities.
The cooling center at Nora Navra Library includes solar panels, an elevated back-up generator, medicine refrigeration, clean drinking water access, and an outdoor kitchen. Low energy activities held under the backyard shade structure will provide relief during the hottest points of the day.

Line drawing of highway passing over local roadways, trees, and buildings.
The Interstate-10 overpass between Tulane and St. Bernard Avenues is partially removed with highway decommissioning. The design’s interventions support both daily gathering in the nearby Hunter’s Field and crossings during Second Line parades.

Line drawing of an outdoor park covered by a partial shade structure, beneath which people are participating in various leisure activities.
By combining a shade structure and plantings at Nora Navra Library, the tree canopy can grow to provide expansive shade in the long term, while the structure can provide comfort and expanded programmatic use today. As the oaks and cypresses grow, parts of the shade structure can be unbuilt and repositioned. Below the living and constructed canopy, the light and shade define rooms for gathering and learning.

Line drawing of people walking on a pathway with columns and trees on both sides.
With the decommissioning of the highway from St. Bernard to Elysian Fields Avenues, a boardwalk and shaded porches are constructed with cypress planks. While the highway top will be removed, the pillion supports will remain—transformed into objects of memory that will become less visible as the canopy grows.

Colorful image of people participating in a New Orleans parade, including one individual dressed in an elaborate Mardi Gras Indian outfit.
“Throwing Shade” considers the rich history of Second Line parades in New Orleans’ Seventh Ward neighborhood as a framing for designing movements and moments of cooling.