Grand Isle Studio

Project Goals:

Attempting to confront the very particular challenges of design in a transforming Louisiana landscape, the Grand Isle Studio – an architecture course at LSU – addresses the challenge of architectural permanence in an environment of continual transformation, while encouraging imagination and innovation amongst a dwindling paradise. Each project proposes a program arisen from industry research, engagement, and consideration, while responding to community concerns or an apparent lack thereof. The uncertainties of continued existence among this last inhabited barrier island in coastal Louisiana are acknowledged through research and design propositioning.

Project Team:
    • Elizabeth Williams Adjunct Professor of Architecture, Louisiana State University
    • Jeff Carney Former Director, Coastal Sustainability Studio
    • Patrick Michaels
    • Matt Bethel Assistant Director of Research, Louisiana Sea Grant
    • Rusty Gaude Marine Extension Agent, Louisiana Sea Grant
    • Emily Appleyard
    • Casey Broussard
    • Abbey Brown
    • Meaghan Crain
    • Asalsadat Emamjomeh
    • Jonathan Perret
    • Kyle Schroeder
    • Carole Shockley
    • Stephen Waida
    • Christopher Weimer
    • Robert Twilley, PhD Chairman of the Board & Interim CSS Executive Director
      Executive Director, Louisiana Sea Grant
      Professor, LSU College of the Coast & Environment
    • Jori Erdman, AIA, LEED AP
    • Leanna Heffner
    • Alkis Tsolakis Dean, College of Art + Design and Professor of Architecture
    • Greg Watson Associate Professor of Architecture
    • Cathy Marshall Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture
    • William Doran Professional in Residence of Architecture
    • Robert Holton Assistant Professor of Architecture
    • Seamus McGuire
    • John Gregory
    • Christopher Brodt
    • Louisiana Sea Grant

Multiple scales of the environment exist on the transient territories of Grand Isle; infrastructure and inhabitation confront coastal risk, attempting to incorporate pasts, presents, and potential futures of evolving industries and an embedded community. Agriculture and Fisheries, Tourism, and the perpetual presence of Oil and Gas provide a picture for the development of architectural program, use, and function over time. With Grand Isle as a case study and perhaps, the start of an unavoidable provocation, Born on Island resides on a somehow distant coast increasingly subject to transforming circumstances.

Throughout its multifaceted history of human inhabitation, the island has suffered tremendous blows by environmental occurrence. On a yearly, monthly, weekly, and occasionally daily basis, one can almost watch the land against Bayou Rigaud disappear into the back bay. Even still, the islanders remain driven to remain, resolved to build and rebuild. Originally, the island was reached by ferry; perhaps, by ferry one must soon again return.