Constructing Dynamism: A Tale of Two Basins

Project Team:
    • Jeff Carney Former Director, Coastal Sustainability Studio
    • Elizabeth Williams Adjunct Professor of Architecture, Louisiana State University
    • Leanna Heffner
    • Traci Birch, PhD, AICP Interim Managing Director
      Assistant Professor in the LSU School of Architecture
    • Keith A Maung-Douglass
    • Matthew Ketterer
    • Ana Orosco

Infrastructures become ecological participants through networked hydrologic basin management. Inclusive of needs required for the productivity of adjacent social, economic, and ecological systems, Constructing Dynamism retrofits the existing HWY 90/future I¬‐49 corridor as a multipurpose cross–delta artery. Optimizing the distribution of limited coastal resources (freshwater, sediment, and financial capital), this project assumes that basins with similar conditions today will increasingly vary in salinity. Given limited resources available to most communities, this project also assumes that infrastructure will not serve a singular function but be multipurpose and facilitate landscape change. This project engages increasing freshwater and sediment within the Barataria Basin and increasingly saline environmental conditions throughout Terrebonne Basin.

In this speculative design, Highway 90 is retrofitted and redesigned to function as a transportation connector and facilitator of economic and ecological vitality. The structural intervals facilitate flows and eddies in order to encourage sediment deposition in freshwater while the structure’s foundation engages with tidal flux and rising sea levels. The multi-purpose rail and road connectors transport commuter populations to industry and settlement nodes while facilitating the transfer of resources above vulnerable territories. Producing a more flexible, diverse, and adaptive coastal region, design interventions are required to become participatory agents within these hydrological conditions.

Constructing Dynamism: A Tale of Two Basins received a Special Mention award in the d3 Natural Systems Competition 2015.