Morgan City 50/50/2050

Project Goals:

Students were required to propose a bold future for Morgan City, designing building and site systems to facilitate exchange within a proposed degree of fortification or fluctuation.

Project Team:
    • Catherine Bonier
    • James Babin
    • Benjamin Champagne
    • Olga Alaminos Gonzalez
    • Renzi Terrebonne
    • Yingxue Wang

Morgan City, Louisiana has evolved over time, altered by shifting cultural, political, physical, environmental, and economic forces even as it maintains its position within the Atchafalaya Basin. At present the flow of water into the Atchafalaya is controlled to support the current conditions of south Louisiana, and to keep Morgan City safe. The city is bounded on the west by a floodwall, but on the east has a softer boundary with Lake Palourde.
Each student was asked to assess environmental, material, economic, and cultural systems, to imagine a new site of exchange that might instigate positive growth for their site. Student research included travel to Morgan City and the Wax Lake Delta as well as a visit to Port Fourchon. They began the semester by reading “Atchafalaya” by John McPhee, and by learning from Dr. Robert Twilley and Mr. Greg Linscombe, after studying the CPRA 2012 Master Plan. In parallel, they performed fluid studies: physical modeling and digital simulations of flows.

Students chose their own site and also defined their own program. They were not asked to develop a purely practical solution, but instead encouraged to ask new questions about what architecture’s place might be in a fluctuating future of their imagining. They were encouraged to reimagine the edges of Morgan City, and permitted to modify or build across existing flood control structures. Projects range from a small research center, whose structural supports capture sediment outside the levee, to a large reconstruction of the Port, which supposes a higher water level and increase of industry, and proposes a structural integration of housing with industry into a new type of levee.

The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio provided financial, planning, and institutional support for this course.