In the Mississippi Delta: Constructing with Water 2010 Venice Biennale Project

completed
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Project Team:
  • PROJECT LEADERS
    • Jeff Carney Director, Coastal Sustainability Studio
      Associate Professor, School of Architecture
    • Jori Erdman, AIA, LEED AP Professor, School of Architecture
    • Robert Twilley, PhD Chairman of the Board
      Executive Director, Louisiana SeaGrant
      Professor, School of the Coast & Environment
    • Clint Willson, PhD, PE Professor, College of Engineering
      Director, LSU Center for River Studies
    • Natalie Yates
    • Ursula Emery McClure Professor of Architecture
    • Guy Nordenson Professor of Architecture and Structural Engineering, Princeton University
    • Elizabeth Mossop
    • Lynne Carter
    • Bradley Cantrell
    • Michael McClure
    • Katherine Seavitt
    • Anthony Fontenot
  • STUDENTS
    • Jason Bordelon
    • Marcelle Boudreaux
    • Devon Boutte
    • Louise Cheetham
    • Tom Grubbs
    • Josef Hoffman
    • Mary Martinich
    • Brandon Maggiore
    • Jacques Metevier
    • Matt Moerschbaecher

This exhibition is a collaborative project between the CSS and a multi-disciplinary team from Princeton University. The study proposes a series of five largescale sediment diversions along the lower Mississippi River to rebuild subsiding land in the delta.

The natural resources provided by the Mississippi Delta have been hugely important to the industrial development of Louisiana and the country as a whole. Tidal wetlands support the shrimp and oyster industries, while the main river supports the largest bulk cargo port in the world and the largest container port in the US. However, this fragile environment is disappearing at an alarming rate. Made worse by sea level rise and increased storm intensity, the situation is on a trajectory to degrade further unless new strategies for restoration, protection, and adaptation are employed.

This project proposes regional-scale interventions into the man-made and natural processes that currently shape the constructed landscape. The project studies the outcomes of creating robust sediment diversions from the river along with various “soft infrastructure” interventions including manmade barrier islands, oyster reefs, and wave and wind turbines. By activating new land formations and reviving existing biologically diverse habitats, the proposal challenges the hard infrastructure ideology of the 20th century with a soft infrastructural strategy of the 21st century.