Malkin Sacks Commons

Northwest Rain Garden

The 77,000-square-foot Tulane University Commons designed by New York-based firm WEISS/MANFREDI, will create both a new dining facility for Tulane University as well as a consolidated setting for the Newcomb College Institute. The project consists of both new construction and various renovated spaces at the western end of the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life.

The new building will be a three story structure with the dining facility occupying levels one and two, and the Newcomb College Institute occupying level three. Levels one and two consist of dining and serving spaces, food production, storage and support. Level three includes an event space, offices, library and archives with dedicated reading room, a series of study spaces, a conference room, two classroom rooms, and an open air courtyard. 

Associated renovation work includes tying the existing loading dock to the new construction and establishing a connection at level two between the new construction and the Lavin-Bernick Center.

The site work consists of both exterior and interior courtyards, terraces, and landscaped areas.


Located at a critical intersection of Lavin-Bernick Quad and Newcomb Place, the building takes full advantage of the campus’ abundant green space offering extensive views of campus and connection to an existing sequence of green spaces. The building is sited at three major intersections which have influenced the organization and form of the building. The primary dining space occupies the corner at the intersection of Lavin-Bernick Quad and Newcomb Place. The other two prominent corners will be home to the Newcomb Event Space and the Newcomb Library providing a strong presence for Newcomb on campus. 


The project takes advantage of opportunities to create internal connections between the dining facility and Newcomb College Institute to further enhance a strong campus identity for NCI and to create a holistic environment through the synergy of these two programs.

Dining Spaces
Dining spaces occupy level one and the level two mezzanine with predominantly double height ceilings and full height glazing offering extensive views of Lavin-Bernick Quad. From the mezzanine dining there will be view of the Newcomb archives and courtyard above. The facility will expand the University’s dining capacity with seating for 1050 people.

Kitchen and Serveries     
Food preparation, production and serving will be open to view for patrons of the dining facility encouraging student, faculty, and staff interaction and taking advantage of dining as a social activity and entertainment. The Test Kitchen component offers a place for local chefs to educate Tulane students about food preparation and local culture.

Newcomb Event Space
Located at the Northeast corner of level three with views of downtown New Orleans, the NCI events space provides space for 75 to 100 people to gather. The room will outfitted with technology for presentations and film screenings.

Newcomb Library and Archive
Located at the Southwest corner of level three with views of Newcomb Place and Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. The primary feature of this component is a 32 seat reading room with display space for special Newcomb artifacts. In addition this component will include processing space for new acquisitions and storage. 

Project Location


Project Team

Architecture and Site Design  

  • WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism
  • Michael A. Manfredi, FAIA and Marion Weiss, FAIA, Design Partners 
  • Clif Balch, RA, Project Manager
  • Andrew Ruggles, RA and Darius Woo, AIA, Project Architects

Consultant Team

  • Associate Architect: Waggonner & Ball
  • Food Service Consultant: James N. Davella Consulting
  • MEP/FP: GVA Engineering
  • Structural Engineer: Severud Associates
  • Acoustical / Audio-Visual Consultant: Threshold Acoustics
  • Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
  • Civil Engineer: Schrenk, Endom & Flanagan
  • Landscape: Towers/Golde
  • Code Consultant: Code Consultants, Inc.

Quick Facts

Overall Square Footage – 77,000 sf

  • Dining Facility – 58,000 sf 
  • Newcomb College Institute – 19,000 sf 

Primary Spaces Breakdown 

  • North Dining Room – 4900 sf 
  • West Dining Room – 3400 sf 
  • Dining on the Green – 2500 sf 
  • Mezzanine Dining – 4400 sf 
  • NCI Event Space – 1950 sf 
  • NCI Courtyard – 2300 sf 
  • NCI Library/Archive – 2600 sf

LEED Information