Celebrating the Work of Mark Ripple & Tracy Lea

Following long and celebrated careers leading the architectural practice of EskewDumezRipple, Principals Mark Ripple and Tracy Lea announced today their retirement at the end of 2022. Over the last four decades, Mark and Tracy have brought their unique and complementary talents in the leadership of this distinguished, nationally-acclaimed practice.

In 1989, Mark Ripple, FAIA joined the staff of EskewDumezRipple (formerly Eskew Filson Architects) under the leadership of founding partner Allen Eskew. Drawn to Allen’s ethos of architecture as a catalyzing force for civic good, Mark emerged as a vocal leader on projects centered around building community. This vision came into singular focus during the recovery following Hurricane Katrina. At a time of hopelessness for many, Mark and his partners envisioned a more expansive role for the firm: not just the design of beautiful buildings, but serving as a broader platform for community engagement and service. This ethos of service to the community remains central to the firm’s mission today.

Mark Ripple
An exterior view of NOBIC at dusk

This vision manifested itself across a range of project success stories.

• The national-award winning New Orleans Bioinnovation Center built an incubator for the biosciences in a region that had historically neglected them. The project was the first LEED-Gold laboratory building in the state of Louisiana and paved the way for several of the city’s resilience efforts in place today.
• Mark has long served as a trusted advisor to the Audubon Institute. The current expansion and renovation to the Audubon Aquarium, currently under construction, which will provide 17,000 sf of new exhibit space and a permanent home for the Butterfly Garden and Insectarium.

An exterior render of the future Audubon Aquarium & Insectarium.

Complementing Mark’s role at EskewDumezRipple, Tracy Lea, FAIA reshaped the studio as a regional leader in the technical delivery of architecture. During his 30 years with the firm, he elevated the design-first mission of the practice with a pragmatic, technically-driven architectural focus. In addition to his leadership role within the firm, Tracy dedicated himself to transferring his skillset into the broader design community, training generations of industry-leading professionals while advocating at the local and national levels within architecture’s professional member organization, the American Institute of Architects.

Tracy Lea
A courtyard view of Landry Walker High School as students move between classes

Like Mark, Tracy’s technical acumen contributed to the successful delivery of several of the firm’s most visible and technically complex projects.

• Landry Walker was one of the first public high schools to be rebuilt following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Originally founded in 1938 as only the second high school in Orleans Parish (and first on the West Bank) that Black residents could attend, the school has always held a significant place in the city’s history.
• Lamar Advertising, a 115,000 sf workplace renovation for one of Louisiana’s leading companies, surgically reinvented a dated building to support the company’s most important asset – its people.

LAMAR's light court, seen here after dusk, is a centerpiece of the corporate office

Looking to the future, Mark and Tracy have played a crucial role in cultivating the next generation of firm leaders, bringing fresh ideas and energy to a seasoned leadership core led by Steve Dumez. Just as Allen Eskew recognized the importance of mentorship and leadership development, Mark and Tracy have embraced the emergence of a new group of leaders, ensuring the continued success of the firm for years to come.

Mark Ripple at work at his desk