Center for Coastal and Deltaic Solutions view from the Mississippi River
Center for Coastal and Deltaic Solutions view from Mississippi River

Center for Coastal and Deltaic Solutions

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
River Revolution

The Louisiana wetlands are washed away at the rate of one football field every 38 minutes. With 24 square miles disappearing every year, a diverse coalition of citizens, scientists, business, government, and universities banded together to create The Water Institute—a research campus devoted to the collaborative study of coastal restoration and sustainability.

To start, the group needed a structure to serve as a headquarters that would anchor both the mission and the campus. Built on a historic city dock that’s home to the industrial waterfront, the new building serves as part riverside promenade to educate and engage the public and part research facility to assist in critical climate change findings.

Perched over the Mississippi, the facility is home to observational spaces, a publicly visible wet lab, offices, research areas, as well as conferencing and meeting space.

Concept sketch of Center for Coastal and Deltaic Solutions
Inspiration

Taking cues from the strong angles seen in the industrial and maritime structures of the area, the building’s form is at home in the landscape. Highly visible from the I-10 highway and bridge, it creates an iconic landmark that’s visible across the Mississippi as you approach Baton Rouge from the west.

North view from batture with high water levels
The Center as seen from the batture lands along the Mississippi.
Sustainability

The project occupies the batture lands on the banks of the Mississippi.  With its annual 40′ of rise and fall, the Mississippi River transforms the setting for the building allowing the researchers and visitors to see the daily and seasonal transformations of the river and its ecology.

East facade and main entrance with natural wood benches
Form and materiality reflect the juxtaposition of two conditions: the natural river ecology verses the historic industrial infrastructure.
Close-up view of the perforated skin detail on the exterior
Exterior loggia and perforated skin detail.
View of west facade from historic dock
The Center's western facade as seen from the historic dock.
Historic Reuse

The beloved historic city dock’s primary structure and historic crane have been stabilized and preserved. Both elements are key features in the design and are visible and accessible from the institute and the exterior promenade. The historic dock has been re-purposed as an event space for lectures, symposiums, festivals, and demonstration space for projects related to the Water Institute and the River.

Co-working space with half-walls, open desks, and views to the river outside.
The Center's co-working space has direct connections to the outdoor loggia.
Conference center with ample seating and views to the Mississippi
Fulfilling a key mission of the Center: to educate and increase understanding of natural and human aspects of deltaic, coastal, and water systems.
Estuary Conference Center
Views north toward I-10 bridge from inside
Perched above the Mississippi River, researchers and visitors are directly engaged in the daily and seasonal changes of the river and its ecosystem.
View of north side at night illuminated by interior lights
The project anticipated rising water levels and a future raising of the Mississippi levee. The new structure raises the building higher than the current levee by 8 feet and higher than the existing dock by 10 feet.

Project Team

People
Ryan Bussard
People
Kay Kornovich