Synthetic Mudscapes: Human Interventions in Deltaic Land Building

Project Team:
    • Jeff Carney Former Director, Coastal Sustainability Studio
    • Elizabeth Williams Adjunct Professor of Architecture, Louisiana State University
    • Bradley Cantrell
    • Matthew Seibert
    • Matt Moerschbaecher

In order to defend infrastructure, economy, and settlement in Southeast Louisiana, we must construct new land to mitigate increasing risk. Links between urban environments and economic drivers have constrained the dynamic delta landscape for generations, now threatening to undermine the ecological fitness of the entire region. Static methods of measuring, controlling, and valuing land fail in an environment that is constantly in flux; change and indeterminacy are denied by traditional inhabitation.

Multiple land building practices reintroduce deltaic fluctuation and strategic deposition of fertile material to form the foundations of a multilayered defense strategy. Manufactured marshlands reduce exposure to storm surge further inland. Virtual monitoring and communication networks inform design decisions and land use becomes determined by its ecological health. “Mudscapes” at the threshold of land and water place new value on former “wastelands;” The social, economic, and ecological evolution of the region are defended by an expanding web of growing land.

Synthetic Mudscapes is a design and representation of Human Interventions in Deltaic Land Building, and was a finalist in the One Prize Competition for 2014. ONE PRIZE is an Annual Design and Science Award to Promote Green Design in Cities.