In today’s changing political, cultural, and ecological climate, new urbanization patterns are not only increasingly desired from a real estate and development perspective, but increasingly necessary and essential from an ecological and social lens. Practicing architecture in Louisiana, a state which intimately deals with climate change, coastal erosion, flooding, and man-made disasters, requires one to see policy as inherently spatial and space as inherently political. Policy and space tangibly converge at the scale of the building. This lecture will contemplate the spatial nature of Louisiana’s recent environmental history and politics through the lens of Stephen Ortego’s time as both a legislator and architect. A special focus will be given to his firm’s mixed-use and multi-family projects in Lafayette, Louisiana.

From 2012 to 2016, Stephen served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. While a legislator, he served on the Commerce, Natural Resources, and Municipal committees. He also focused on French Immersion education, environmentally friendly initiatives, and healthcare. Notable to the practice of architecture, he co-authored and led the bill that adopted the new Louisiana plumbing code for buildings. Stephen is a graduate of the Tulane School of Architecture, is an active board member of the US Green Building Council, Louisiana Chapter and is a LEED accredited professional. His architectural specialties include historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects, new designs for office buildings, townhouses, and mixed-use buildings, and master planning.

Think Tank 2019: Megaregion was presented on September 27, 2019 by Legat Architects in partnership with DIRTT Environmental Solutions, Kimball, Site Design Group, K.R. Miller Contractors, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.