Fort Proctor: A Conditional Preservation

Project Team:
    • Ursula Emery McClure Professor of Architecture
    • Michele Barbato Associate Professor of Civil + Environmental Engineering
    • Bradley Cantrell
    • Taylor Alphonso
    • Annette Couvillon
    • Lindsay Boley
    • Cody Blanchard
    • Christopher Peoples
    • Sarah Kolac
    • Ben Buehrle
    • Audrey Crop
    • Claire Hu
    • National Park Service

The ephemerality of the built environment exists through a multitude of lenses and questions the presumed need for traditional trajectories of preservation and longevity.

Established processes tend to focus on ephemerality in terms of growth and decay, responsiveness and interaction, or as visual or phenomenological qualities. The concept of ephemerality is directly confronted in the duality of two mediums decaying or evolving at varied rates within the environment. These dualities are particularly evident in the Louisiana Gulf Coast as land loss, settlement, and culture overlap in a continuous tête-à-tête between biotic processes and the built environment. New methodologies of representation, analysis, and preservation must be developed to address issues of ephemerality within sites of cultural heritage and/or ecological significance.

To investigate these methodologies, Fort Proctor, a National Register of Historic Places site at extreme environmental risk, was selected for the design project. Fort Proctor is one of several forts built in Southeastern Louisiana following the War of 1812 and it has remained in a fluctuating landscape as a static marker or datum, recording major ecological changes within the dynamic coastal environment.

Students prepared the documentation and were awarded the 2012 Peterson prize for their archival work of the Library of Congress.

A more comprehensive project report can be found at:

Digital visualizations of the project are available on Vimeo.