Beginning December 9, the American Institute of Architects New Orleans Chapter and the City of New Orleans, along with several private businesses and organizations, will present the third annual DesCours festival.

A celebration of contemporary architecture and visual arts, paired with local entertainers, DesCours showcases the city's unique architectural and cultural identity while exploring the latest in design and technology through new media and interactive art installations. Each night during the week-long event, typically hidden spaces around New Orleans will be transformed by 13 peer-reviewed and selected, site-responsive installations paired with entertainment components. AIA New Orleans' recently opened Center for Design, the only dedicated architecture and design exhibition space in Louisiana, serves as DesCours' headquarters as well as an installation space.

This year's event prominently features architects as the installation artists, granting them a platform for experimentation through new materials, technology, space, or form, according to Melissa Urcan, AIA New Orleans' executive director. Only two groups of exhibiting participants are local, while the rest hail from outside the United States, giving the event a more international flair, Urcan notes. Also new this year are pre-recorded podcast and live docent-led tours of the installations, compared to previous years' map-guided self-tours.

Installations are open nightly from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., and are free and open to the public. For full details on installations and information on self-guided and docent-led tours, visit www.descours.us.