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Louisiana State University

Fall 2011 Advanced Topic Studio


Group Members:

Responsive Systems Studio


STUDIO Advances in technology have drastically altered traditional methods of analysis, construction, representation, and collaboration. Architects, landscape architects and designers address temporal landscape and dynamic architectural elements through biological and computational devices that are responsive to humans and ephemeral environmental stimuli. The paradigm shift in architectural and environmental design from the static to the dynamic requires designers to understand how responsive objects and systems function within larger ecological fields. This advanced topic studio explores the role of the designer and their ability to develop responsive architectural and landscape systems. Students are asked to research sensing devices, diagram and map site related and real-time data, create working prototypes, develop case studies, examine nascent technologies and propose speculative ar- chitectural and landscape scenarios. The studio engages a range of site scales within Louisiana, focusing primarily on the Atchafalaya Basin, with each design team focusing on a specific site. Students are expected to speculate on how new respon- sive interventions could be used to enhance and reinvigorate the sites. The studio entertains a broad range of approaches organized around concepts of emergence, object orientation, self-organization, and cultural/social expression. The studio is envisioned in two phases. Phase 01 engages the course content and asks the students to develop entries for the 4th Advanced Architecture Competition: City Sense. The competition asks students to generate ideas, proposals, and visions of possible scenarios for a self sustaining city or building. The competition calls for entries that research and

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

demonstrate the impact that real-time data collection might have on sensor-driven habitats and cities. Students continue to develop the competition proposals in Phase 02 of the semester. Participating in digitally focused workshops, students are expected to advance their de- sign and computational skills by completing a series of tutorials that apply physical computing and scripting paradigms to their projects. Responsive and interactive components and prototypes are developed through digital and physical models. Employing a bottom-up approach to design, these components and prototypes are de- veloped into architectural and landscape systems. The design teams determine the exact scale, scope, and programmatic implications of the final proposals.


01 Digital Prototype (parametric model driven by inputs) In groups of 2-3 from the original competition teams the students developed a digital prototype of one of the responsive devices/systems in the original team proposal. This prototype utilized Rhino to create the model and Grasshopper to drive the dynamic inputs; ie sensors and their inputs that drive responsive actions. The model focused on the devices formal aesthetic and the transformations the device will make. The Grass- hopper components were used to drive actual values within the digital model such as rotation (0-360 degrees), transformations (movement in feet/meters) and/or binary actions (off/on). Deliverables: Rhino model, Grasshopper definition and appropriate conceptual dia- grams and models. 02 Digital-Analog Prototype (1-2 sensors) Further developing the digital model the students wired the inputs created in Grasshopper to the Firefly Uno Read component driven by an Arduino and connected sensors. The sensor data directly controlled the digital device creating a virtual prototype that was connected to environmental phenomena. The prototype paid close attention to the interaction between the sensed data and how the information is remapped to cre- ate desired responses in the digital model. The digital prototype needed to respond in a clear and understandable manner. The prototype focused on 1-2 sensors driving actions within the digital prototype. It was necessary for some projects to create

environments (models) that could be adjusted to provide the sensing field. This could have been a scaled model that simulates the phenomena that is being sensed, a constructed environment or other methods that the group devises. Deliverables: Rhino model, Grasshopper definition, sensor circuit(s) and appropriate conceptual diagrams and models. 03 Digital-Analog Physical Prototype After creating a responsive digital prototype each group used the digital model and ana- log sensors to construct a physical prototype. The Firefly Uno Read was connected to the Uno Write component to connect to the Arduino to drive servos, LEDs or any other physical component necessary to de- velop the physical prototype. The physical prototype expanded the sens- ing and responses to create a fully articulated device that provides a proof of concept for a working device. This device attempted to capture the complexity of the sensing methods and the associated responses. Rather than exploring single interactions it was necessary to orchestrate a range of sensing and responses that fully explore how this device might function within the environment. Deliverables: Rhino model, Grasshopper definition, sensor circuit(s), physical proto- type and appropriate conceptual diagrams and models.


TABLE OF CONTENTS LSU Responsive Systems Studio


Site Research

Phase 02 Accretion:

Atchafalaya Basin


Animal Life








Flood Control


Morgan City


Butte LaRose


Hunting Camps


Productive Agents:



Noah Project

Arduino Technology



Creating the Link


Calibration: Land Building







City Sense Ecolibrium


Fluvial Trans[formation]




Responsive Edge


Dynamic Installation




Aqueous Interface


Surface: Inter-Spatial Manipulator





ATCHAFALAYA BASIN The proposals for the City Sense design competition address the regional and surrounding areas of the Atchafalaya Basin. The Atchafalaya Basin is located in the central area of the Louisiana coastal zone, West of Terrebonne Parrish. The basin covers nearly 600,000 acres of land; approximately 60,000 acres of which is classified as wetlands. Major features include the lower Atchafalaya River, Wax Lake Outlet, Atchafalaya Bay, Black navigation channel and Bayous Chene and Boeuf. The boundaries of the Atchafalaya Basin are defined by features of the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) flood control system, which include the Old River complex and the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway system. These boundaries also control the flow and sediment resources entering the basin and influence its evolution. The Atchafalaya Basin is unique when compared to other basins because it has a growing delta system and nearly stable wetlands. The majority of wetland loss is typically site dependent and primarily due to erosion, human activities, and natural conversion. The hydrology of the basin has been significantly modified from its natural state due to anthropological alteration. Replenishment of ecological conditions in the basin relies heavily on the reception of fresh water from the Mississippi River. The current levee system has caused a substantial impact to the water quality of the area, which has declined since implementation. This is due to the levee system causing the bypass of water and nutrients from the Atchafalaya River into the basin; resulting in the formation of areas with hypoxic water conditions. The levee system has also introduced saltwater intrusion, which occurs when fresh water flows out at a rate faster than it can replenish. This intrusion

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

is also a result of dredging of the wetlands to create canals for ships to navigate. As saltwater diminishes the natural vegetation of the wetlands, sediment easily erodes into the gulf. The Atchafalaya Basin also contains a complex and unique eco-system comprised of bottomland hardwood forests, swamps, bayous, marshes and blackwater lakes. The region can be categorized into three distinct typologies: bottomland hardwood forest of the northern area, cypress-willow-tupelo swamps of the mid region and freshwater and brackish marshes of the southern area. Comprised of over 885,000 acres of forested wetlands, the basin comprises the largest river swamp in North America and over 520,000 acres of marshland. It also contains the largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forest in North America making it a prime wintering habitat for birds; supporting more than 300 bird species. In addition to the dynamic wildlife of the area, it is also recognized for its rich cultural heritage, most notably its Cajun culture. The lifestyles of local residents are directly related to the regions natural resources. Some prominent industries of the area include hunting, fishing, crabbing, farming, crawfishing, timber and trapping. Development of the basin is almost non-existent; the few major roads that do cross it follow the tops of levees while Interstate 10 traverses the basin on a continuous 20-mile bridge. Highway 90 is the most developed corridor of the region and includes Morgan City; a prominent port city of Louisiana and the birthplace of the offshore oil exploration industry.


Research| Atchafalaya Basin


ATCHAFALAYA ANIMAL LIFE The Atchafalaya Basin’s abundance of wildlife makes it one of the richest habitats in the world. The people of the basin’s connection to the animals that inhabit it is critical to the health and sustainability of both. Through management practices, a few animals like the American Alligator have not only come back from near extinction, but thrive and are now hunted through close monitoring. Without these management practices implemented, many animal species of the basin would be vulnerable to a multitude problems.




c ati

2010 Income Commercial Fishing Recreational Fishing 120,000,000





s tile


ds Bir






ib ph




m Ma

200 Upper Region

150 100 50

200 Middle Region

150 100 50

200 Lower Reigion

150 100 50

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


2010 Fishing Licenses Sold Resident Fishing Resident Hunting Commercial Fishing Non-Resident Fishing Non-Resident Hunting 0


Most Fished (Freshwater)

Most Fished (Saltwater)

Most Hunted






Bass Crappie Catfish Perch

Flounder Black Drum Red Drum Speckled Trout

Duck Deer Squirrel Geese Rabbit




Nutria Big Head Carp Silver Carp

Alligator Black Bear Pallid Sturgeon Florida Panther

Research| Animal Life

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Costal Marsh: Fresh to Salt

Inland Swamp: Cypress-Tupelo Swamp

Southern Back Swamps: Bottomland Hardwoods

Southern Back Swamps: Bottomland Hardwoods

Inland Swamp: Cypress-Tupelo Swamp

Southern Back Swamps: Bottomland Hardwoods

Southern Holocene Meander Belt: Upland Ridges




Fig. #

Dominante plant species Carya Sp., Celtis laevigata, Luquidambar styracilfua, Quercus phelos Quercus nigra

Quercus virginiana, Luquidambar styracilfua, Acer rubrum, Celtis laevigata

Carya Sp., Celtis laevigata, Luquidambar styracilfua, Quercus phelos Quercus nigra

Taxodium distichum, Nyssa aqquatica

Quercus virginiana, Luquidambar styracilfua, Acer rubrum, Celtis laevigata

Taxodium distichum, Nyssa aqquatica Typha sp., Spartina patens, Safittaria lancifolia, Phragmites australis, Schoenoplectus validus, Spartina alterniflora

Research| Vegetation


ATCHAFALAYA HYDROLOGY Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability. The levee system restricts the natural flow of the Mississippi river from the Atchafalaya. The levee system also causes water and nutrients from the Atchafalaya River to bypass outflows into the streams. The bypassing of outflows then causes the basin to have pockets of swamp areas where the oxygen levels of the water were harmfully low.

One issue around the southern part of Louisiana is saltwater intrusion. Saltwater intrusion typically occurs when fresh water is pumped out at a rate faster than it can replenish causing the saltwater to replace the missing freshwater. In Louisiana, intrusion occurs mainly due to the dredging of the wetlands in order to create canals for ships to travel on from the Gulf. Saltwater is a destructive force to the ecological environment to the coastal lands of Southern Louisiana.

When water levels of the Mississippi River approach flood stages more water is diverted through the Morganza Spillway. Opening the Spillway allows water to fill the Atchafalaya Basin flooding any low lying areas inside the built levees.

Mississippi River if unchanged

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Levees splits the Mississippi River


Closed Spillways

Open Spillways

Research| Hydrology


CIRCULATION One Barge Can Carry Loads Equivilant To: 60 Semi Trucks

Locks at Morgan City

15 Railcars

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Upper gates open allowing ships to enter at higher water levels. Then the upper gates close and the lower gates open, which in turn allows for the water to flush to the lower level and the ship to continue movement down stream.


Right: Highway 3177 services Butte La Rose, the only roadway into town. The community sits on the bank of the Atchafalaya River. Bottom: Morgan City is located at the intersection of the Atchafalaya RIver and Highway 90. Several smaller waterways once used for maritime traffic meet the Atchafalaya here: Bayou Teche and Bayou Black.










HW US 90

US 90


US Highway

Atchafalaya - Intracoastal Waterway Access

State Highway

Intracoastal Waterway - Morgan City Access


Secondary Waterways - Bayou Black - Bayou Teche


Atchafalaya River - Bayou Access


Research| Circulation


FLOOD CONTOL INFRASTRUCTURE The Mississippi is on the verge of switching to a new channel along what is now the Atchafalaya River. The Atchafalaya River has already capture the Red River which flows from the west and used to be a tributary of the Mississippi. Already 30 percent of the flow of the Mississippi goes into a channel called the Old River and thence into the Atchafalaya River. The configuration is roughly in the form of an H in which the AtchafalayaRed Rivers form the left leg and the Mississippi the other with the Old River being the cross branch. The Old River Control Project of the Corp of Engineers

is working to prevent the capture of 100 percent of the Mississippi by the Atchafalaya. But the Corps of Engineers doesn’t want to cut off all flow through the Old River because agricultural and marine development along the Atchafalaya River would be hurt. The Corps is committed to maintaining the 30 percent diversion that now exists. The Old River Control project includes many structures including: Old River Low Sill, Overbank, Old River Lock, Auxiliary Structure and others listed below.

Opelousas- Ville Platte Bunkie Railway Connection 1959 Old River Low-Still Control Structure Overbank Control Structure 1962 Old River Navigation Lock 1944 Morganza Combined Control Structure 1942 Point Coupee Drainage Structure and Bayou Latenache 1965 U.S. Highway 190 High-Level Crossing 1961 New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railway High-Level Crossing 1945 U.S. Highway 190 High Level Crossing 1950 New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railway High-Level Crossing 1928 Main Levee expanse began along Mississippi 1936 Bonnet Carre Spillway and Floodway

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


Control Structures


Pump Stations




Research| Flood Control Infrastructure


MORGAN CITY, LA Morgan City, established in 1876, by Charles Morgan after he dredges and clears the Atchafalaya Bay channel. Due to the railroad and timber idustry, the city grew. Growth ontinued with the the development of the onshore and offshore Oil exploration industry and its supporting businesses. Industrial employment is not the only part of Morgan City’s work force; Agriculture, mainly Sugar Can, and seafood are other components to the job picuture in Morgan City. Flooding has been a concern, but a flood wall, built in 1940 and improved in 1984, eases fear of rising waters. But, the wall divides the connection of the river front to the inhabitants.

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Due in part to the reduced oilfiled activity/production, the population has decreased in the past 30 years.

Population Growth 1880-2010






Research| Morgan City, LA


BUTTE LAROSE, LA Butte Larose is a small town located on the Atchfaylaya River. Located in St. Martin Parish near Lafayette, Louisiana, The town includes roughly 800 residences and the primary occupation of the community members includes fishing, hunting, and other professions in which the resources of the basin are utilized. Citizens are typically of Cajun or Acadian decent and have resided in Butte Larose and the basin for generations. Residents lead very similar lifestyles to those of their

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

ancestors in how they exploit the basin for both their livelihood and recreation purposes. The community is a collection of hunting camps with housing units often abuted to canals which allow for direct, easy access of boats to the Atchafalaya River and smaller waterways within the basin. Boats and this network of smaller canals are the primary method of transportation you residents.


Interstate 10 sign crossing the Atchafalaya.

Secondary Bridge from Levee entrance road approaching Butte LaRose, LA.

Fishing and hunting camps make up the majority of the infrastructure in LaRose.

Residents in LaRose are inhabited during the prime hunting seasons and are looked at as camps more so than homes.

Research| Butte LaRose, LA


HUNTING CAMPS Hunting and fishing for commerce and recreation are longstanding traditions in Louisiana, particularly in the Atchafalaya Basin. Hunting camps have developed as one of the residential forms of living in the area during certain seasons of the year. No matter if they are for vacation or for living, these small units form an entire hunting or fishing community within the basin. The camps can be considered an essential community habitat lying within the basin bringing life to a secluded area. Hunting seasons are regulated by the wildlife department to manage animal life because they take into consideration the animals abundance and

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

migration patterns throughout the area. This allows for the hunting communities to be mostly vitalized in the falls and winters to hunt and in the summers to fish. The hunting camp design is comprised of a small house with a porch on the front or back to allow space for hunting purposes. They tend to be lifted up from the ground to permit wind flow underneath in order to keep the camp cooler because of the basin’s hot climate and to avoid humidity from the swamp ground. Hunting camps are located all over the basin along rivers, canals, and deep pockets within the Atchafalaya to allow people to utilize the area for hunting purposes.


Repurposed School Bus: Modular and mobile unit which can be moved to any location. More likely used for shorter hunting and camping trips.

Floating Home: Less perminant structure which can still be moved and easily rebuilt. Commonly two rooms for sleeping and eating.

Basic Stationary Home: Elevated simple structure. More commonly configured to acclimate for extended hunting periods.

Permanent Home: House many more people. Situated further from water and also elevated higher with greater structure.

Research| Hunting Camps


SENSING This portion of the studio was focused on understanding the basis of sensors, their individual phenomena, and sensing technology in order to better apply each to its appropriate environment. Additionally, it was important to have a better understanding of the potential applications that each sensor offers, and how those applications may be further refined based on the project context of the Atchafalaya Basin in South Louisiana.

Within each of these phenomena, a specific sensor was chosen for additional research which was applicable to a particular charactistic of the Atchafalaya Basin study area. In addition to the specific sensor to be studied, a list was populated of additional sensors which were created and calibrated for each particular phenomenon. It was also necessary to define the individual sensor that was being studied within each phenomenon because though most were similar within a category, each typically functioned differently in regards to their sensing function, range, process, or output.

Each sensor that was investigated within this portion of the project had a specific phenomenon that it was calibrated to understand. These phenomena included motion, thermal, optical radiation, orientation, electromagneticism, piezoelectric, pressure, acoustic, chemical proportions, and gas and liquid flow. Each of these phenomena was then technically defined.

Right: It was important to understand the phenomenon each sensor was calibrated for as well as the environment in which it works. Specific applications, as examples, were depicted within the Atchafalaya Basin site area.

1. 2.

1. Ecological Density Motion Orientation 2. Open Spaces/ Agriculture Thermal Optical Radiation 3. Areas of Development Electromagnetic Acceleration 4. Proximity to Water Pressure Gas & Liquid Flow

3. 4.

5. Wildlife Activity Acoustic Chemical Proportions


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Definition: Optical radiation is defined as any and infrared radiation. Optical radiation includes wavelength range between 100 nanometers and 1 some wavelengths that cannot be seen by the human Definition: Optical radiation is defined as any wavelength range between 100eye. nanometers 1 nanometer. This spectrum is further by the categonanometer. This spectrum is further divided by the Theseand categories include infrared and divided ultraviolet ries of ultraviolet radiation,radiation, visible radiation and radiation, infrared radiation. Optical radiation includes some wavelengths that cannot be seen by the human eye. categories of ultraviolet visitble radiation.

Optical Radiation

These categories include infrared and ultraviolet radiation.

Sensors: Phenomenon





Photodetectors Infra-red Proximity Sensors Scanning Laser Interferometer Scintillometer Fiber Optic Sensors

1 O

Photodetectors Definition: Sensors of light or other electromagnetic energy.

in addition to the sensors being studied, it was necessary to provide research and analysis for the individual phenomena. The phenomena were classified into specific categories based on their most basic characteristics. These phenomena shared some similarities - namely that almost all of them fit within a category of waves, forces, or particulates.

After sensing of a phenomenon, the sensor is designed to produce a result of some kind. In some cases, such as a barometer or multimeter, the final result is a digital output. However, in other sensors, the final output is capable of being plugged into computing devices to affect further processes. This contrast is the primary difference between digital and analog sensors.

Each sensor function was further dissected and a schematic was developed that utilized each appropriate phenomenon as the input and showed the way in which the sensor was affected by the phenomenon. This schematic also showed the specific ranges in which sensors are designed to work. Above: This interface depicts the phenomenon definition, sensors, sensor definition, and sensing schematic to provide detailed information into the Below: Grasshopper interface showing land building patterns Right Top: This multimeter offers the ability to sense electromagneticism in ohms, volts, or amperes. Right Bottom: This barometer, capable of sensing barometric pressure is an example of a sensor which provides an analog result. In its current state, this result is purely to be observed by a person. Other versions of this sensor are capable of reporting to a computer as a voltage.

Research| Sensing


ARDUINO TECHNOLOGY This studio is based on the concept that responsive systems offer new direction for designers in the midst of the technological advances of the 21st century. A number of prototyping tools, such as the Ardunio board have been in existence for a number of years, however it is only in the last few years that this technology has become available to the design world. Previously, these technologies were only available to those who knew how to program computers, however several pieces of hardware and software have made responsive technology and applicable and usable tool in the design profession.

The board includes components to facilitate programming, and the standard way of exposing the con- nectors allows the CPU board to be connected to a variety of other components. The downfall that this piece of hardware had in the past was the inability for it to be accessed by those who didn’t know how to write computer code. However, with the advent of parametric design software, the ability for regular users to access this technlogy increased greatly.

There are four basic pieces of technology that are necessary to provide the interface between real life conditions and computer design. These components are Rhinoceros, Arduino Grasshopper, and Firefly.

Grasshopper is another piece of software that was developed by the writers of Rhinoceros. Grasshopper is designed to be a parametric design environment within the Rhinoceros platform. The parametric modeling that Grasshopper is capable of provides a unique tool for designers to be able to create models and alter their individual parameters and points to create alterations.

Rhinoceros is a modeling program which allows the user to create complex 2 or 3d NURBS models. The Arduino board is essentially a single board microcontroller, similar to the motherboard inside your computer. Designed to make process of using electronics in multi-disciplinary projects more accessable. Board is designed with an Atmel AVR procesor and on-board I/O support.

Jason Kelly Johnson and Andy Payne capitalized on the flexibility and power that the Grasshopper/ Rhinoceros interface offered to provide a piece of software called Firefly. Firefly provides a coded interface between the Ardunio and Grasshopper that doesn’t require users to know how to write computer code. Grasshopper and Firefly are both designed to be user friendly and graphically logical.

Below: This is the software that was designed in a joint by Jason Kelly Johnson and Andy Payne to provide an interface within the Grasshopper environment for the Ardunio board.

 LSU Responsive Systems Studio



27 Digital Outputs E.g. Servo, DC Motor, Relay, Actuator

To Additional Processing in Computer

Processing Right: The Arduino UNO is essentially a computer chip providing analog and digital inputs and digital outputs that can be coded in an open source programming environment.

Analog Inputs E.g. Light sensor, pressure sensor, piezo sensor, potentiometer

Prior to the Ardunio/Firefly interface, it was necessary for designers to contact outside help when it came to designing responsive systems based on the Arduino board.The interface between the Arduino through the use of the software and the real time environment is part of a loop that is established by the programmer. A benefit of the user-friendliness established with firefly is that it gives the capability for a step to be removed from the design process. Rather than having to spend time designing, then send it off to a computer programmer, then recieve the result and be unable to easily make changes, the designer is now able to do all of these things through the technology.

The ability for designers to work independently of computer programmers with the use of this software allows the ability to create a feedback loop and understand the interactions between the computer and the real world much more quickly. The data that is collected through sensors into the Arduino for instance, allows a certain range of results to be produced, digitally, within

3 1 Right: The USB Cable (1) connects the Arduino (2) to the computer. The breadboard (3) is the hub between analog and digital sensors, a power source, digital outputs, and the Ardunio UNO.

2 Research| Arduino Technology


RESPONSIVE TECHNOLOGIES the computer. Due to the ability to be able to quickly see how this data input creates positive or negative feedback on the computer system, the programmer is able to dial in the settings very quickly to reach a much more accurate and successful design or intervention. The list of applications that are possible due to this new responsive technology is astounding and endless. It is now possible for components within architecture or landscape architecture which were once viewed as static entities to be adjusted or programmed to have real time responses based on environmental stimuli. This real time responsiveness adds an additional layer of complexity to the project and demonstrates the ability of technology to be applicable within a whole range of new contexts.

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Additional applications have been created that are capable of plugging in and harnessing the powerful interface of this responsive technology. Pachube, for instance, is an internet site with which a registered user is capable of gathering sensor data, uploaded from anywhere in the world, and stream it live into their model or project. Now, not only does the designer have the ability to create a design, they also have the ability to potentially test the project in real time conditions without ever having to leave their computer.

Below: An installation at the Harvard GSD utilizes responsive technology to locate, track, and respond to a person’s hand via web-cameras and projectors as he or she moves across a blank table.


Below: This responsive model was based on real time data from photocells, each of which was programmed adjust the position of a servo based on light input.

Above: This is a representation of the grasshopper environment within Rhinoceros. Grasshopper allows for a graphics-oriented atmosphere for parametric modeling.

Research| Responsive Technologies


CITY SENSE PROPOSALS LSU Responsive Systems Studio


CITY SENSE DESIGN COMPETITION The proposals for the City Sense design competition address the regional and surrounding areas of the Atchafalaya Basin. The Atchafalaya Basin is located in the central area of the Louisiana coastal zone, West of Terrebonne Parrish. The basin covers nearly 600,000 acres of land; approximately 60,000 acres of which is classified as wetlands. Major features include the lower Atchafalaya River, Wax Lake Outlet, Atchafalaya Bay, Black navigation channel and Bayous Chene and Boeuf. The boundaries of the Atchafalaya Basin are defined by features of the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) flood control system, which include the Old River complex and the Atchafalaya Basin Floodway system. These boundaries also control the flow and sediment resources entering the basin and influence its evolution. The Atchafalaya Basin is unique when compared to other basins because it has a growing delta system and nearly stable wetlands. The majority of wetland loss is typically site dependent and primarily due to erosion, human activities, and natural conversion. The hydrology of the basin has been significantly modified from its natural state due to anthropological alteration. Replenishment of ecological conditions in the basin relies heavily on the reception of fresh water from the Mississippi River. The current levee system has caused a substantial impact to the water quality of the area, which has declined since implementation. This is due to the levee system causing the bypass of water and nutrients from the Atchafalaya River into the basin; resulting in the formation of areas with hypoxic water conditions. The levee system has also introduced saltwater intrusion, which occurs when fresh water flows out at a rate faster than it can replenish. This intrusion is also a result of dredging of the wetlands to create canals for ships to navigate. As saltwater diminishes the natural vegetation of the wetlands, sediment easily erodes into the gulf.

The Atchafalaya Basin also contains a complex and unique eco-system comprised of bottomland hardwood forests, swamps, bayous, marshes and blackwater lakes. The region can be categorized into three distinct typologies: bottomland hardwood forest of the northern area, cypress-willow-tupelo swamps of the mid region and freshwater and brackish marshes of the southern area. Comprised of over 885,000 acres of forested wetlands, the basin comprises the largest river swamp in North America and over 520,000 acres of marshland. It also contains the largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forest in North America making it a prime wintering habitat for birds; supporting more than 300 bird species. In addition to the dynamic wildlife of the area, it is also recognized for its rich cultural heritage, most notably its Cajun culture. The lifestyles of local residents are directly related to the regions natural resources. Some prominent industries of the area include hunting, fishing, crabbing, farming, crawfishing, timber and trapping. Development of the basin is almost non-existent; the few major roads that do cross it follow the tops of levees while Interstate 10 traverses the basin on a continuous 20-mile bridge. Highway 90 is the most developed corridor of the region and includes Morgan City; a prominent port city of Louisiana and the birthplace of the offshore oil exploration industry.

eco librium

Group Members: Brooks, Kim Trang Nguyen, Martin Moser, Devon Boutte, Hunter Lero + Danielle Martin CITY SENSE PROJECT TYPE Josh


ECOLIBRIUM The Atchafalaya Basin is a vast tract of cypress swamp, which occupies approximately 3000 square miles of the southern Louisiana coast. This project re-conceptualizes the use of static infrastructure to manage an unforgiving and ever changing ecosystem such as the Atchafalaya Basin. The project develops a multi-scalar network of sensing technology to create a real time model of the phenomena that drive the Atchafalaya Basin. The sensing network collects and analyzes data to monitor prevalent issues such as land loss, hyper-eutrophication, and invasive species populations. This real time data model is then used to manage ecological fitness through micro adjustments to environmental phenomena. The model is continually updated allowing the management to occur in small steps that are then propagated to large-scale changes across the ecological system that comprises the Atchafalaya Basin. Historically, the city has been defined as infrastructure, service, politics, economics, and people without considering the ecosystem in which it resides. This proposal is a critique of that definition and focuses on creating a hyper efficient ecology. This hyper efficiency benefits human settlement across vast regions through the management of resources and protection of fragile habitat. In an area currently littered by remnant infrastructural elements such as levees, canals and static land management practices this new paradigm offers a radically different alternative to current practice.

in the landscape, one that is continuously computed and updated. The Atchafalaya Basin offers a unique laboratory for the development of this concept. It receives thirty percent of the Mississippi River’s flow at the Old River Control structure increasing the overall nutrient and sediment loads entering the Basin from up river. This addition of excessive nutrients from agricultural runoff and suspended sediment along with devastating forestry practices of the mid-twentieth century and flood infrastructure elements has lead to an unbalanced ecosystem and the increase of certain issues. The issues that this project highlights are siltation and deforestation, invasive water hyacinth control, and hyper-eutrophication due to excessive algae growth. The significant number of flora and fauna that are supported by the Basin are influenced by these highlighted issues and are a vital resource to the Acadian people of the area and to the economy of the surrounding cities. To rebalance the ecosystem and provide a positive gain for the involved communities in this new system of ecological management is employed to regulate and harness the biological resources present.

Current land and water management strategies lack flexible and/or real time responses creating the need for a new system that is completely self-sufficient, autonomous, and systematic. By manipulating sediment, invasive species, and algae blooms according to fluctuating needs analyzed by a real time data network, the hydrology and ecology of the basin is managed down to the particle scale. This new ecosystem management strategy leaves a dynamic pattern PREVIOUS PAGE: This collage is a conceptual image that represents the complexity of data that is sensed, collected, and analyzed across the Atchafalaya Basin.

LSU | Responsive Systems Studio


Ecosystem Modeling




ADJACENT: The radial graph expresses the cyclic nature of the Basin’s ecosystem. It also shows that within each individual month, there is an additional 3 depth of data fluctuation. The multi-level networked sensor system helps to 4 provide the feedback of additional data to the real-time model of the Basin. 5


28 27













20 19

12 18

13 17


14 15

Data Sensing & Processing Data Sensing &

BELOW: The linear graph shows real-time data that is continuously sense over time. As an example, this graph shows the fluctuation in several data streams over the course of a year. January






Dissolved o2 Fertilizer (NPK) Sdiment Water Level Erosion Water Velocity Wind Speed Water Temp Algae Water Hyacinth

0-6 Feet

29 28




2 3

CITY SENSE | 28 Ecolibrium


Data Sensing & Processing

Data Sensing Sensing& &Processing Processing Gather



Ecological Processes






Gather Substrate + Soil




Channel Seeds

Store Reforestation Substrate

Compress Byproduct






Seeds Channel Reforestation

Substrate + Soil


Substrate + Soil




Substrate + Soil


Reforestation Store




Gather Decompose



Channel Time


Substrate + Soil


Substrate + Soil


Methane Gas




Reforestation Substrate

water hyacinth




Methane Gas

Time Methane Gas

Suspended Sediment



Suspended Sediment



(-)Sediment Suspended


Sonic Waves Assimilated




(-) Sonic Waves


Sonic Waves











Soil Ionized


Soil Mass Congealed

(+) (+) Channelled (+)Siltation

Soil Ionized



Assimilated Sediment Suspended Soil Mass Congealed



Soil Ionized


LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Sediment Suspended

Soil Mass Congealed

Sediment Suspended




The Ecolibrium project implements two major interwoven procedures: sensing and maintaining. The multi-scaled sensing network, which provides the basis for the realtime ecological model of the Basin, consists of four entities, the last one of which uniquely performs the physical maintenance. To begin with, satellite technology is used to create the basis for the model. LIDAR and aerial photography is analyzed on a daily schedule. On a twoday cycle, aerial drones collect bathymetry, topography, wildlife concentrations, and the vegetation mosaic of a four square mile grid of GPS coordinates. For the last layer of real time information, a grid of sensor buoys and moving processor units collect and analyze local data, such as nutrient loads (nitrogen and phosphorous), dissolved oxygen levels, water velocity, total dissolved solids (suspended sediment), temperature, among other things. However, the processor units are distinctive in that, while providing extra detail in data coverage, they physically intervene in either sediment distribution or the growth of water hyacinth and algae. The complexity of data attained from the various scales of sensing entities allows for issues in the Basin to be quantified and interpolated, yielding a complete ecological picture. This data is continuously collected, analyzed, and used to make system decisions, which are then relayed to the processor units to physically intervene in real time succession. The multiple scales of sensing offer greater understanding into the complex systems that make up an ecology, as well as a greater degree of accuracy into what drives change in these systems. The accuracy of the sensing network and the interventions is necessary to a tenuous ecosystem.


Ecosystem Management OPPOSITE LEFT: These diagrams illustrate the various possible processes that relate to the ecosystem of the Atchafalaya Basin. They show how natural, ecological processes and induced processes can be integrated to enhance the ecological health of the Basin. OPPOSE RIGHT: This image is a rendering of real time data that is being observed by the system.

Sediment is the lifeblood of any wetland environment where a few inches determine whether an area is constantly flooded or just seasonal inundated as well as which type of plant community can be supported. The Ecolibrium system physically intervenes in initially disadvantageous occurrences in the Basin, such as concentrated siltation and non-native species overgrowth, and it transforms them into advantageous productions, such as micro-reforestation and habitat construction. Figure #1 (right) represents a diagrammatic expression of each of the processes performed in the Ecolibrium system based on excessive algae, sedimentation, or water hyacinth. For example, when altered hydrology due to excessive siltation is registered, the new system removes sediment from problematic areas and relocates it by sonic wave technology to an area where it is needed. The processor unit, unique in its form, flexible in its use and self-organizing arrangement, can cluster, expand, and contract to perform various functions. In groups of expanded units, they emit micro-pulses of sonic waves to dissolve the substrate in places where siltation is undesirable. Using the same sonic wave technology, the unlinked processor units work together to route the dissolved substrate and also any excess suspended sediment from upstream toward areas detected for erosion or land subsidence. The processor subsequently ionizes the suspended sediment, causing it to compact in place and to form the substrate for the new constructed land.

CITY SENSE | Ecolibrium


LEFT: Each component of the sensor network functions at one of three coverage levels. Attributes of each component and its location in context is provided in the descriptions. OPPOSITE: These renderings illustrate how the performance of the system is imagined in land building processes and biomass harvesting processes in the Atchafalaya Basin.

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


CITY SENSE | Ecolibrium


BELOW: The rendering illustrates how the performance of the system is imagined in aiding land building and cypress reforestation processes in the Atchafalaya Basin. OPPOSITE: The aerial image shows observations and real time data through the lens of the sensing system.

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


In a manner similar to sediment management, the processor unit uses ultrasound waves to organize water hyacinth and algae blooms into manageable groups to be harvested. The processors link together and contract to gather the organic matter to be used as biomass to be added to the new land as a layer. The produced biofuel is then cycled back into the system to power its constituent parts. This biomass is used in the process of reforestation to add to the new land a layer of organic material to mimic the natural soil horizon of the area. After this land is created the processors, in its clustered form, will then seed the area with the appropriate plant mix. This new automated process creates a dynamic new pattern in the land, a pattern that mimics the process and the form of each unit, which gathers, stores, and processes the needed material and information. While the system is essentially changing the ecosystem

by their intervention processes, the system is sensing and updating accordingly, which creates a truly real time vision of a dynamic ecosystem. EcoLibrium represents ecological management of the future, infrastructure that is light on the land, and a new connection between humanity and their environment. By creating and using a real-time phenomena model of the Atchafalaya Basin to transform negative ecological problems into positive by-products, equilibrium can be restored. Through a hyper-efficient ecological maintenance system, a healthy place for sustenance, recreation and livelihood is created, ultimately changing peo- ples’ conception of the importance of the ecosystem’s role in our lives.

CITY SENSE | Ecolibrium

fluvial trans formation



FLUVIAL TRANS FORMATION The Atchafalaya Basin inherently desires to be the natural distributary of the Mississippi River, but to maintain navigation through the ports of New Orleans, river control structures and levees were placed throughout the basin for protection. The river control structures divert thirty percent of the Mississippi’s River flow into the basin, reducing the floodwaters of the Mississippi River. However, the Basin receives sixty-five percent of the sediment flow of the Mississippi River, presenting the opportunity to capture this sediment for future land growth. Based upon studies of two southern distributaries of the Atchafalaya River, Wax Lake and Atchafalaya Lake, this proposal seeks to achieve a land transformation intervention in the freshwater marsh south of Morgan City. The land will be formed by the use of a dynamic gate system responding to sensors distributed throughout the Basin. Sensors located upstream of the intervention detect the depth, velocity, and sediment load of the Atchafalaya River, informing the gates to shift and allow for sediment flow through the series of gates. Simultaneously, another intricate series of sensors will be dispersed behind the gate system, calculating the amount of sediment being formed by monitoring the location of the sensor and measuring the pressure of the sediment upon it. These same sensors will record amounts of oxygen and nitrogen in the soil, determining when the soil is conditioned for vegetative growth. In conjunction with the embedded sensors, an aerial sensor will be acquiring infrared photographs and reading the shape of new land formation. Each sensor in the proposal will be equipped with a global positioning system (GPS), creating an integrated sensor network. The gates, in constant flux, react to the network of sensors and build land based upon input data from the

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constituent components.

PREVIOUS PAGE: Depicts what a canal can form into once the bands have been established and land has been developed in the area. OPPOSITE LEFT: The graph indicates the sediment disribution ratio between the Wax Lake Delta and the Atchafalaya Delta. OPPOSITE RIGHT: These two diagrams display the ratio of water (top) and sediment (bottom) that is diverted to the Atchafalaya and Mississippi Rivers, west and east respectively.


30% 70%

Water Diversion

65% 35%



Wax Lake Delta

Atchafalaya Delta

Sediment Diversion 30%

CITY SENSE | Fluvial Trans-Formation



Three Responsive Sensors Sensor 1: Floating stationary sensor that detects velocity, sediment loads, and water level.

Sensor 2: Dispersed sensor into the canals that detects sediment accretion, GPS, Oxygen, and Nitrogen levels in the ground.

Sensor 3: Orbiting satellite for relaying information within the triangle of real time data in the land development.

Responsive Responsive LSU | Responsive Systems Studio

TOP: Timeline of growth within the Atchafalaya Basin versus other inter-coastal areas. The land growth in this area provides a unique opportunity to develop land. As shown in the time-line of land growth, one can see the effects of sediment diversion from the Mississippi River into the Atchafalaya. With all of this land growth in one area it is possible to collect this sediment prior to its dispersion into the deltas. This would allow the sediment to collect inside the land along the river to bring up land in order to grow a storm surge protection zone in front of Morgan City.


OPPOSITE BOTTOM: The five diagrams on the bottom show the process described above over the course of many years from having very minimal land as shown in the green progression stages. The idea would be to form land in bands along the river so when flooding occurs there is resistance and less land will be washed away from the Louisiana Coast line. RIGHT: Illustrations of land formation and city development over time.

CITY SENSE | Fluvial Trans-Formation

Infared Imagery

ent Load Sedim

G nt rre Cu Am ou

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LSU | Responsive Systems Studio


ou nt o

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OPPOSITE TOP: Responsive Unit System diagram OPPOSITE CENTER: The Gate Connection diagram demonstrates the schematics of how the gates will be added together continuously.

Responsive Configuration

OPPOSITE BOTTOM: Section Image of a cut through 3 canal bands. Showing how land can be built up on one side and allow for the river to flow on the other. RIGHT: Diagram shows different responsive configurations for different conditions.

Responsive Configuration

Standard Close

Full Open

As the sensors communicate throughout the network and instruct the gates to fluctuate accordingly, land is formed, mimicking the formation of a river delta. This is not a planned urban grid, but a dynamic urban framework, which adapts to its surrounding transforming environment. This system of land building is not relegated to the Atchafalaya Basin, but can


be replicated near any moving, large body of water carrying sediment. The formation of land is controlled and evolved through the manipulation of current ecological processes. Once the land transforms, and vegetation matures, a metropolis of sustainable urban design will emerge for future living in southern Louisiana.

CITY SENSE | Fluvial Trans-Formation


Logan Group Hall, Justine Members: Holzman, Steven Mansfield, Ji Park, Rhett Parker + Luke Venable CITY PROJECT SENSE TYPE


SAHM The Atchafalaya basin is a unique landscape, consisting of 40 percent of wetlands in the continential United States. It is home to a large number of people and wildlife. The majority of the people live in Morgan City, Butte La Rose, or in hunting camps scattered throughout the basin. Hunting and fishing for commerce and recreation are longstanding traditions in Louisiana, particularly in the Atchafalaya Basin. Hunting camps have developed as one of the residential forms of living in the area during certain seasons of the year. No matter if they are for vacation or for living, these small units form an entire hunting or fishing community within the basin. The camps can be considered an essential community habitat lying within the basin bringing life to a secluded area. Hunting seasons are regulated by the wildlife department to manage animal life because they take into consideration the animals abundance and migration patterns throughout the area. This allows for the hunting communities to be mostly vitalized in the falls and winters to hunt and in the summers to fish. The hunting camp design is comprised of a small house with a porch on the front or back to allow space for hunting purposes. They tend to be lifted up from the ground to permit wind flow underneath in order to keep the camp cooler because of the basin’s hot climate and to avoid humidity from the swamp ground. Hunting camps are located all over the basin along rivers, canals, and deep pockets within the Atchafalaya to allow people to utilize the area for hunting purposes. Using the same ideals of self sufficiency while working together as a group, by implementing todays technology to these acts the idea of the hunting camp is being redefined and a user friendly way. The redifined camp is focused around people who either live in the isolated hunting camps, and the people who travel to

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

the camps on the weekend. This new module uses technology that can sustain life in the atchafalaya, and informs the user of the best hunting locations and enviornmental changes occuring in the area. A noverall network unifies the camps the same way cajuns have always done with the phrase “coup de main�.


Baton Rouge Atchafalaya Basin Lafayette

New Orleans

Atchafalaya River

CITY SENSE | SAHM - Sensory Activated Hunting Modules


Sensors Oxygen sensors are placed throughout the basin in gridded zones. Oxygen levels are sent to each module in real time to give the hunter the best idea of where fish and wildlife are going to be. This information is also collected and sent to a larger network where researches can utilize it

Information networking between camps gives the users the opportunity to share information in real-time throughout their community. Data collected throughout this geomorpgological landscape is archived into an open source netowrk made available for research and education. Sonar sensors attached to the hull of the camp are continously scanning for naturally occureing “fishing holes�. Fishing holes are areas consisting of obstructions that attractfish. Obstructions such as fallen trees. Sound sensors attached to the hunting camps recieve bird call frequencies which are referenced by species to eliminate hunting of out of season birds and to track bird migration patterns in one of the most traveled bird migration routes in the world. Infrared satellites are used to track animal movement in the basin. The information is picked up by the satellites and sent to the individual hunting modules, where users can pinpoint the location of certain species.

OPPOSITE TOP: Diagram of network of information

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


Navigating the Atchafalaya All of the sensors work individually but also as a whole. While giving information for a specific task that the user is tring to accomplish, all of the information is collected in a larger network that researchers, and habitat and wildlife agencys can use to be up to date on what is happening throughout the Atchafalaya. The information can be used to make the best decisions regarding hunting seasons, land preservation, and sustainability of the Atchafalaya. This system also monitors the individual hunter to make sure there is no out of season hunting or poaching occuring. The individual moduals are designed to encompass the feeling of a hunting camps while using technology of sensors to the fullest. The hunting module is designed around the foundations of the original hunting camp. Having a “porch”, “back yard” gives the user the sense of place, while still achieving all the necessities of a living space and the mobility of a boat. The hunting network shares information to each camp. Information such as what the a boat is currently sensing on the other side of the basin. This helps each camp get a overall view of the basin with having to travel up and down the basin to collect the information. Each module is designed to connect to other boats to provide safety in numbers from bad weather events.

Solar panel

Plant beds Equipment storage


Energy storage

Microphone Living space

Sonar sensor

CITY SENSE | SAHM - Sensory Activated Hunting Modules

responsive edge

Chad Caletka, Darren Sharkey, Kevin Kimball, Kevin Nguyen, Lou Tonore, Ryan Steib Group Smith, Members: CITY SENSE PROJECT TYPE Breton


RESPONSIVE EDGE Human flood intervention in the ebb and flow of southern Louisiana is a balance between the quality of human life and the quality of the environment. The Atchafalaya Basin system has unfortunately reached a critical climax: the Mississippi River now seeks to naturally shift into the Atchafalaya, cutting off New Orleans and all vital commerce downriver of the Atchafalaya. As long as the river control favors the Mississippi, the condition increasingly absorbs more human resources to preserve it.

city subjected to the dynamic shifting of wetland conditions. Morgan City, Louisiana can apply new advances in sensory technology to reenvision how a port city operates.

Shifting the Mississippi The Mississippi River historically shifts to create a shorter, lower resistance path to the Gulf of Mexico--the current shift is working toward the Atchafalaya River. The current flood control infrastructure is preventing this shift, but is in need of constant maintenance and improvements to prevent this drastic change. Distributing varying percentages of the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya River will alleviate pressure on the current infrastructure, increase sediment deposition in the Atchafalaya basin and coastline, and enhance a new commercial channel.

This project proposes applying sensory technology to interpret flood patterns and create a balanced shift into the Atchafalaya, preserving both rivers as navigable waterways. The resulting flooded landscape in the Atchafalaya Basin affords a whole-cloth envisioning of living in a

Old River

Control Structure


Control Structure

Baton Rouge

Morgan City


ojectio New Pr ion ject

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50 ye


rs yea

Sediment Projection


LSU Responsive Systems Studio









A large scale sensor network on the Mississippi River and its tributaries will control the diversion of water from the Mississippi to the Atchafalaya River. The upstream sensors will monitor various conditions to determine the flow of the river and allow the control structure to act accordingly.

Reaction The Old River Control Structure will receive data from the upstream sensors and react to allow the proper amount of flow into the Atchafalaya to maintain an even balance between the rivers. The automated system will allow for constant control and balance to ensure both rivers remain navigable and functional.

Resultant River conditions in the Atchafalaya River will rise overall, but are constantly fluctuating. The river will carve a path over time to create a navigable channel that will flood seasonally as it would in a natural system. The Mississippi River will have decreased flow, while maintaining the 45’ depth required for navigation.

CITY SENSE | The Responsive Edge


Real-Time River Modeling

40’ 40’

high water level low water level high water level low water level

Channel Width Phases

The navigation units move to establish the edges of the navigable channel.

Sonar collects data about the base of the river, creating a real-time model of the river bottom helping determine areas of heavy sedimentation.

Maximum navigable channel established by the navigation units, based on data collected about the river floor. Real-Time River Modeling

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


Navigating the Atchafalaya River level fluctuation will be greatly increased with the implementation of the Mississippi River shift. Creating a new navigable channel and central port city of Morgan City, the navigation techniques in place need to be adjusted accordingly. The current navigation system consists of static buoys. The technology used for channel marking and depth analysis throughout the Atchafalaya River is obsolete. Presently, anchored buoys mark a general edge of the navigable shipping channel and have no compensation

for rising and lowering water levels. Information about the current river level is gathered from water depth gauges and outdated signage. The implementation of a dynamic navigation system is necessary to adjust to the new river level fluctuation and create the maximum possible channel at all times. A system of autonomous depth marking units will be added into the landscape of the area to create boundaries for the maximum large vessel navigable channel.

Sensors Depth sensors control the location of the navigation system by providing data to the motor control unit.

Sonar modules integrated in to the navigation unit, linked with other navigation units, create a real time model of the river bottom revealing high sedimentation areas.

Global Positioning is utilized by the unit to determine proper unit orientation along the river, but also to allows the sonar data to be correctly utilized into the creation of the real-time digital model of the river base.

Location of units relating to river level stage Navigable channel adjusted to low river level Navigable channel adjusted to moderate river level Navigable channel adjusted to high river level Established river edge, not considering navigation

CITY SENSE | The Responsive Edge


Sensory Shipping The Atchafalaya diversion makes living in the resulting flooded landscape a necessity; Morgan City provides a case study of envisioning a city driven by its port facilities. The port no longer needs to supply the region; because of the sensor network, the port efficiently supplies the city. By using sensors to control micro shipping modules, the new hyper-efficient delivery system allows individual families to obtain necessary amenities from the port

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

distribution center. Concentrating all shipping and distribution into one industrial core along Morgan City’s edge provides a lifeline for a city that must maintain constant connection while adapting to the fluctuation of a flooded landscape. As the city network detects patterns and trends within the supply and demand, it can ensure the city always has a stream of products exactly matching the residents’ demands.


Signal system consists of colored lights; red indicating the higher side of elevation, green indicating the side that meets navigable channel requirements.

Submerged electric motor controls where the unit needs to be, using data provided by the depth finder to determine a proper location for the unit.

Round float is at water level, and harnesses the wave motion of the river and wakes from passing boats to generate the electricity needed to propel the motor

Surface following attenuators generate electricity as the float moves up and down.

Depth sensor, control unit, and batteries are located inside floats, keeping these components dry.

SHIPPING DRIVES THE EDGE Concentrating all shipping and distribution into one industrial core along Morgan City’s edge provides a lifeline for a city that must maintain constant connection while adapting to the fluctuation of a flooded landscape

Network detects product module Host container delivered to distributor Module extracted, container restored

CITY SENSE | The Responsive Edge


BOTTOM: Sensory Driven Shipping Flow Diagram

Products distributed from port hub

Products arrive at destination

Product order relayed to communications system

Product order sent to manufacturer

Products consumed by residents

Manufacturer Manufacturer

Organized shipping container dispatched Distribution center to port city arranges product modules for better efficiency

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


Product modules arranged in shipping container

Manufacturer receives order for product


Redistributing the Edge The dense concentration of consumer suppliers shifts infrastructure to Morgan City’s waterfront edge along the Atchafalaya. Access to the distribution centers established along Morgan City’s edge shapes the resulting urban fabric. Infrastructure extends from each node back into old Morgan City. The distribution network constantly relays the residents’ demands through to manufacturing, shipping, and the final stop, distribution. The nodes concentrate all public activity along the waterfront.

Existing Morgan City

New Grid Along Waterfont

Distribution Center and Point

Flow of consumer data- resident to network to resident

Products arriving at the distribution center

CITY SENSE | The Responsive Edge


PHASE 02 PROPOSALS LSU Responsive Systems Studio


pod mod

Brennan Group Dedon, Members: Robert Herkes ACCRETION PROJECT TYPE

+ Charles Pruitt


pod mod

The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest swamp in the United States and is one of the most ecologically rich areas in the world. The Red River and the Mississippi River both flow into the Atchafalaya Basin. Where the Mississippi River and Atchafalaya River meet sits the Old River Control Structure. Finished in 1963 to help deal with flooding in major cities of Louisiana, the structure diverts thirty percent of the Mississippi River’s water flow and sixty-five percent of its sediment flow into the Atchafalaya River. The Atchafalaya River discharges into the Atchafalaya Bay via the Wax Lake Delta and the Atchafalaya Delta, and then empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the excess flow of sediment and nutrients, these areas are experiencing a significant increase in land formation while the rest of the Louisiana coast is in decline. While there is a surplus of sediment and land building, due to flow of the river, dredging, and weather patterns, most of the sediment is lost to the Gulf of Mexico. To counteract this process, a sediment transportation pod modification system will be introduced at the Old River Control Structure. This system would harness the existing sediment load and convey it downriver, creating a greater concentration of deposited sediment which would expedite the natural land building process. In addition to providing a more concentrated sediment load, this process will create a sensor network that allows for a mapping of deposition patterns. The conveyance system is comprised of two units, one being an extrusion module that will be integrated into the existing Old River Control Low Sill Structure, and the other being a pod that is released from the extrusion module after a predetermined amount of sediment is captured. The pod has two main components; the transportation

LSU | Responsive Systems Studio

mesh which is filled with sediment, and an inflated ballonet made of biodegradable material. A corrosive metal clamp is secured to the rear opening of both components sealing the inflated portion and the transportation mesh. Another important feature of the ballonet is a sewn-in RF sensor which allows the pods to be tracked. Once the pod reaches saltwater, the metal clamp undergoes the process of galvanic corrosion, causing the clamp to deteriorate, deflating the pod which results in it falling to the river floor. The pods will begin to create a framework of support for the channels as they deposit, forming a more concentrated sediment load by reducing the amount of sediment that is lost to the Gulf of Mexico. The pods will biodegrade in approximately four weeks while the RF sensor remains, and can be tracked by Coast Guard and Wild Life and Fishery boats, creating a traceable network of the sediment being deposited. Over time, this process will build land south of Morgan City at the Wax Lake and Atchafalaya Delta’s at an expedited rate, increasing the area for wildlife, vegetation, and surge protection. The process will also reduce the amount of dredging needed by floating pass the problem areas in the river which will increase the amount of sediment deposition in the Atchafalaya Bay. It will also create a real-time mapping of the sediment deposition, which helps identify areas of the greatest sediment accretion, and also where the deposition process is being impeded so the system may be adjusted to achieve the most efficient results.



Phase 1. Capturing of sediment at the low sill structure enables the creation of sediment transportation pods which are extruded into the river once they have reached the proper sediment load. Phase 2. Once released from the extrusion module, the pods will make their way towards the Atchafalaya Delta. The inevitable loss of a small percentage of the pods will allow for sensor mapping of impediments. Phase 3. After passing through Morgan City, the pods will eventually cross the saltwater barrier. Once the pods reach the saltwater activation line, the water will corrode the clamp causing the ballonets to deflate and deposit their sediment load on the ocean floor.







Accretion | POD Accretion | POD MODMOD


Above Left: Percentage of water flow from the Mississippi River and shared percentage of sediment between the two rivers. Above Center: Diagram showing water velocities at different points in the basin. Above Right: Areas that are currently being heavily dredged are hilighted in red.

LSU | Responsive Systems Studio


Opposite Middle:

Representational graph showing annual water velocity fluctuation.


Front elevation shows the size of the extrusion modules in comparison to the low sill structure.


The extrusion modules will be affixed to existing infrastructure at old river control to take advantage of optimal sediment load.


The extrusion modules will be affixed to existing infrastructure at old river control to take advantage of optimal sediment load.

Accretion | POD MOD














LSU | Responsive Systems Studio


Top Left: Detailed cutaway of extrusion module showing inner components and scale referemce figure. A. wildlife exclusion mesh B. extrusion port C. sleeve loading bay mechanism D. air tanks E. air lines F. transportation pod sleeves G. clamping mechanism H. pressure sensor I. extrusion panel

Left: Sequential diagrams of the sediment pod extrusion process. 1. Sediment laden water begins flowing through the extrusion module. 2. Sediment transportation pod sleeve is pulled down from the loading bay. 3. The transportation mesh portion of the pod is stretch across the extrusion port. 4. Water filters through the transportation mesh leaving the gathered sediment behind. 5. Once the pod reaches a desired weight, the transportation mesh and inflatable ballonet portion of the pod are sealed with a corrosive clamp. 6. The pod receives a burst of air inflating the ballonet, expelling the pod from the module.

Accretion | POD MOD




These images show the deposition process of the sediment transportation pods. A. Once the pods pass through the Morgan City funnel point, they come in contact with the saltwater barrier line which begins the deposition process. B. The salt in the water expedites the galvanic corrosion process in the clamp holding the ballonet closed. Once the clamp has degraded, the ballonet deflates causing the pod to drop. C. The pod deposits with the RF sensor imbeded in the ballonet skin. D. As the pods begin to deposit on top of one another, they maintain some of their structural integrity allowing them to mound. While the transportation pod itself will degrade, the RF sensors will remain creating a traceable network of deposition.

Below: If 143 pods are released every hour, this equates to 3432 daily. This accounts for approximately 35 dumptrucks worth of sediment deposition daily, including an estimated 20% pod loss.

LSU | Responsive Systems Studio





These two diagrams show the probable deposition ranges of the pods based on annual fluctuation of the saltwater line. The fall deposition range being nearer the shore due to a lower water velocity and the spring deposition range farther offshore due to increased water velocity.


Diagram showing typical deltaic formation.


Representational image of potential land-growth patterning.

Accretion | POD MOD

Creating the link

MarciaGroup Gibson, Members: Logan Harell + Bryce Lambert ACCRETION PROJECT TYPE


CREATING THE LINK The connection between Morgan City, LA and the gulf coast along the river creates many opportunities for growth of land and for human interaction. However, flooding and storms have made this area almost nonexistent to this opportunities. Through research and exploration, the creation of a link has been discovered.

Prototype Testing: The collection box tests the drainage properties of varying sediments for their distribution into designated land development areas.

The depletion of land along the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya River have created a demand for land formation. Sediment is a beneficial component in the area and its abundance can help with the creation of the land. The land formation that is created over time will become the storm surge protection needed in the area where flooding and high winds are be major factors during hurricane season.

land density storm surge protection

5 years

20 years

50 years

land depth <1 ft 2 ft 4 ft 6 ft 8 ft >10 ft

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

81 closed

Enhanced Timeline Timelineofof Edhanced Sedimet deposition throughout Sediment deposition throughout membrane one membrane


1 ft

1 sec

2 sec

10 sec

10.5 sec

1 min

2 min

2.5 min

3 min

10 days

open (back)




Capacitance Level Switch: Sensor that evaluates water level within the area then alerts and triggers when the desired height is met Front

In the collection process of the sediment, examining the cell membrane and its ability to select what it wants to consume and dispose of was the perfect case study for the development of land. Through a membrane created along the river, the system is able to collect the sediment while draining the water out of the cells in order to gather a greater sediment to water ratio as it is pushed into the bands of land growth. The membrane is comprised of millions of components. Each individualcomponent in the membrane is constantly sensing water levels and sediment levels to control the front and rear latches. When a certain water level is reached, the component is closed and drained into the space surrounding it and is pumped back into the river. Likewise when the sediment level reaches a certain point the gate is opened and allows for a higher sediment to water ratio. The areas of the membrane structure that are highly efficient in the land building consist in the bends of the river, where water is moving faster but also carrying a larger sediment load.






Capacitance Continuous Level Indicator: Sensor that determines when the sediment is at the desired height. water diffusion volume pull

volume division volume push




Accretion | Creating the Link


The connection between Morgan City and the Gulf of Mexico allows of a hyper-extensive system of interaction within 35 mile membrane. We have developed for specific locations where sediment collection is the greatest and in these areas we have also focused the recreational aspects. This then created four nodes of development allowing for zones of human participation. Each node provides a unique service from parks, fishing, docking, and re-fueling. This displacement is decided upon where the node is in relation to the distance of the Gulf or Morgan City. Each of the four nodes located along on the membrane develop into more than just sediment collection zones but allow for a pocket of human interaction deep within the Atchafalaya Basin. The diagram below shows the membrane from Morgan City to the Gulf with an enhancement of the node functions as they travel down the spine. The colors display the different programs and how they overlay with one another.

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

1 2




node 1 site plan program:

The first node is inhabiting a park just outside of Morgan city. It is the largest node of the four and allows for the most divergent activities to take place upon it.

-park -gathering -leisure

section A

section A Accretion | Creating the Link


node 2 site plan program: -park -rest stop -fishing

section B

section B LSU Responsive Systems Studio

The second node is for a mixture of uses further away from Morgan city but along Bateman island providing protection and rest almost halfway down the river as fisherman, cargo ships, and oil liners travel up and down. The third node which is not shown is a fishing deck node. Located deeper within the basin towards the gulf offers a prime location for the most beneficial fishing.


node 4 site plan program: -refueling -fishing -rest stop

The final node towards the deltas where there would be a lot of traffic would be seen coming and going from the river. As ships pass through the canals our node offers a spot of rest and re-fueling for captains as they continue their journey into the Gulf or into the Atchafalaya canal. Each of these nodes offer a special program within the membrane which brings it life along the sediment dispersion wall. While creating a natural land build-up to help protect the coast of Louisiana.

section D

section D

Accretion | Creating the Link

Atchafalaya Basin Land-Bulding

Devon Group Boutte Members: + Martin Moser CALIBRATION PROJECT TYPE

a ng


ATCHAFALAYA LAND BUILDING The proposal for this project expands on several discrete aspects of the City Sense project Ecolibrium. Ecolibrium proposed utilizing real time data sensing in the Atchafalaya basin to convert negative ecological problems into positive byproducts with the intention of providing more ecological resiliency, or fitness, to these negative problems as they are managed in the future. Currently, certain ecological processes, directly resulting from current or past human intervention, have detrimental effects on the basin. The ecological processes investigated within Ecolibrium are algae blooms, excessive water hyacinth populations, and sedimentation. This proposed land management project takes into account the fluctuations of these processes throughout the year in both their negative effects as well as the opportunity for positive byproducts through management, focusing specifically on algae and water hyacinth. Managing land building in the Atchafalaya Basin redefines land-building strategies, and focuses on a nuanced, calculated approach to utilize biomass generated from algae and water hyacinth as a land building substrate.

This project provides an alternative to traditional land building methodologies â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the typical paradigm is permanent, cumbersome, and unable to react to change. The Army Corps of Engineers, for example, approaches land and land building as simply another infrastructural element â&#x20AC;&#x201C; one to be analyzed, sited, built, and maintained when necessary â&#x20AC;&#x201C; when in reality, land is part of a living, fluctuating ecological system, and must be managed as such. Utilizing real time data to drive land building locations and patterns allows a responsive environment, capable of functioning at a micro scale and reacting to macro system changes. In this project, sensors located throughout the basin provide real time fertilizer inputs and quantify where land building substrate is available throughout the basin. Additionally, by specifically locating where this biomass substrate is available and in what quantities, an average location of these points shows where land building could most efficiently occur.

Several ecological issues arise from the excess of algae and water hyacinth growth in the Atchafalaya Basin. If this plant material benefits from the nutrients and agricultural runoff that flows into the basin and the vegetation thrives, it creates hypoxic conditions for underwater fauna. These hypoxic conditions, marked with depleted underwater oxygen levels, create massive fish kills and offset the normal ecological balance. The basin has also suffered the detrimental effects of altered hydrology, stemming from human interventions for logging and oil and gas exploitation. This altered hydrology has resulted in erosion and changes in sedimentation patterns, resulting in land loss. Density and Compaction of Dry Material Land Bulding Unit

Land form for use in basin Above: These two images show several of the problems in the Atchafalaya Basin - water hyacinth and altered hydrology from logging exploitations.

.668 cu. ft. 100%

.036 cu. ft ~5% of original Availability: 400 cu. ft/acre 1200 units/acre

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Left: This illustration shows one way in which water hyacinth and algae biomass can be used to build land.

89 Right: These images show the model used for sensing the saline concentrations through the water to help calibrate the land building model. Far Right: Grasshopper interface showing land building patterns

Right: Illustrative section depicting land building over a one year period.

August -Sept June - July April - May

The real time data sensing is investigated within this project at a number of scales and time periods. Within the Atchafalaya Basin, ecological systems fluctuate based on inputs from millions of influences. Within the scope of this project, it was necessary to understand some specific factors that relate to the growth and management of the major ecological systems. In order to provide this real time data, sensing network of three different scales is employed to sense the large picture, zoom in, and finally sense at a micro, nuanced scale. These scales each imply a different time scale of sensing as well. By sensing this data at a variety of scales and times, a wholistic model of real time data is able to be interpolated to provide a glimpse into any given moment in the basin. The data that this sensing model provides is dynamic and fluctuates according to normal yearly trends as well as unseasonal and unexpected events and systems. Expected year-ly trends may include the seasonal flooding of the basin in the spring of each year, due to the snow melt.

Unseasonal or unexpected events may be storms, ecological pestilence, or industrial accidents. In addition to the macro cycles on which these different data inputs fluctuate, the sensing model is also able to sense and identify micro changes in real time. Within each of these data criteria, minor fluctuations due to daily or even hourly micro-adjustments have an affect on the macro system. The real time data sensing model is able to pick up on these changes and provides a tool with which to aide programming and design. Figure #1 depicts the interface between the computer, arduino, and sensing model to help develop the typology and land building rules. This model offers an effective scale to sense the nuanced, micro scale changes and how they affect the macro systems.

Calibration | Atchafalaya Basin Land Building


Land Building {Rules} Typologies Open Water Edge Fragmented Resources Water Sediment Biomass

Avoidance High Velocity Heavy Traffic Sensitive Habitat Dimensioning Area Volume

Proximity Resources Within Typologies Across Typologies Avoidance

Typologies and Interventions



Open Water Water Proposed Existing Contours

LSU Responsive Systems Studio



Atchafalaya River

Lake Bigeaux

Cow Island Lake Mississippi River

Lake Fausee Pointe

Grand Lake

Lake Verret

Flate Lake Yellow Bayou

Grassy Lake

Lake Palourde

Top Left: Responsive System Land Building Rules Bottom Left: Measured section drawing illustrating the three land building typologies Above: Contextual Map with general hydrologic flow conditions

Calibration | Atchafalaya Basin Land Building


Grasshopper Environment - Land Building View

Above: Grasshopper and City Engine Interface

Notes: In addition to the data fluctuations, the rules that govern the land building are dynamic as well. This type of calibration model requires a feedback loop of real time data sensing, land building, programming, and critique. The goals and rules of the land building strategy may be in flux until a best management solution has been reached. This hypothetically may take a number of months or years to perfect. All of these various land building models were prototyped with a combination of arduino, grasshopper, rhinoceros, and City Engine modeling software. The arduino and grasshopper interface provided a basic environment in which to program the basic rules were investigated, and City Engine offered additional parameters with which to understand these rule relationships. This land building will occur according to a series of typologies and rules that reflect the context of the basin near the current location of the land building point. Three land typologies in the Atchafalaya basin: edge, open water, and fragmented, have been identified and are reflected in the land building process. Additional rules within each typology guide the creation of land in reaction to more specific real time data at a site scale. The factors for determining the rules at the local scale may include more specific spacing, connecting, height, and proximity characteristics than the typological rules. The process for determining some of these

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

City Engine Environment - Land Building

rules involved utilizing scaled sensing models of the basin to provided a means of physical study of real time data inputs. Additionally, incorporating City Engine software into this investigation may provide another tool for effective parametric modeling to aid in the adaptation of land building rules. As shown in Figure #2, it was necessary to investigate an interface between the grasshopper enviornment and the City Engine environment in order to further understand the land building rules. Ultimately, all of these typologies and rules come together in a loop for ecological fitness and efficient land building, driven by the programming sequence of rules and typologies, and supplemented by feedback from the real time sensing data that updates in response to changing site conditions. As technology continues to advance into the 21st century, humans are being provided with increasingly efficient and intelligent options to man-age increasingly complex operations and relationships. Real time data and its ability to interface with these new technological devices offer promising opportunities for ecological land management strategies in the Atchafalaya Basin. This new way of managing land building contradicts the contemporary belief that ecological infrastructure must be static and lifeless. Rather, these new pieces of ecological infrastructure offer a nuanced and dynamic footprint of land building that actively manages biological nuisances in ways that result in positive outcomes for both ecological resiliency and ultimately human use and inhabitation.





August -Sept June - July April - May

LAND BUILDING SIMULATION This composite depicts the overall Atchafalaya Basin ecosystem and a representation of the land building that occurs within each specific land formation typology. Calibration | Atchafalaya Basin Land Building


Darren Group Sharkey Members: + Ryan Steib CALIBRATION PROJECT TYPE



BATHYMETRY + ANALOG This proposal is a dynamic, visual navigation system comprised of individual, autonomous units. The units are sensitive to location, orientation, proximity and depth; combining all to create a real time surface visualization of the river floor below. This visualization is achieved by the creation of a glowing effect across the water surface with individual colors representing corresponding water depths. The collective glow created by the units forms a real-time bathymetric map of the river which appears to be overlaid on the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surface at night. The current navigation system consists of static buoys that have very little aesthetic value. The technology used for channel marking and depth analysis throughout the Atchafalaya River is obsolete. Presently, anchored buoys mark a general edge of the navigable shipping channel and have no compensation for rising and lowering water levels. Information about the current river level is gather from water depth gauges and outdated signage. After establishing the need of an improved river navigation system, the exploration of possible methods of representing this information began. Bathymetry is a visual mapping technique which represents water depth while being constrained to two dimensional media such as a folding map. Bathymetric maps are very intuitive and can generally be interpreted without the need of a legend due to the logic of the colors and the location of land. The legibility and simplicity of this method inspired the visual technique that this proposal is based upon and the development of a method of overlaying this information on the river began. The proposal improves on the current river navigation by creating a much more dynamic system with increased accuracy using real-time data and improved visual communication methods. The overall effect is also visually appealing, attracting not only marine traffic but residents and visitors to the Atchafalaya water front as well.

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

UNIT MOVEMENT The autonomous movement of the units is achieved by the incorporation of a sensor heirarchy. This method allows the system to be integrated into any river system with minimal human intervenance. The process begins by activating all of the units and placing them into a river or body of water. The sensor heirarchy then takes over and the units proceed to establish a proximty to other units; generally twenty feet. Upon meeting this requirement, the units begin searching for the predetermined depth assigned to each unit independently. Upon reaching a desireable depth, a GPS coordinate is taken and the unit maintains this location. This â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;pingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; system prevents the units from moving downstream. During depth searching phase, the units are still sensitive to proximity and will not ping if they are within close proximity to other units so as not to become congested. Upon pinging, a unit no longer responds to proximity, forcing the other unpinged units to avoid a pinged unit. During this stage, the units respond to depth and GPS, respectively. This is the final stage of the unit deployment and also completes the information loop created by the sensor heirarchy. Upon measuring an undesireable depth, a unit unpings and starts the deployment process all over. The Atchafalaya River also retains a moderately high current with an average measured surface velocity of 3-4 mph and a maximum of nearly 8 mph. With this current, the units must also be very energy efficient in order to counter this surface velocity and maintain a constant position. Several techniques have been incorporated into the proposal making the units exceedingly energy efficient; able to produce the energy needed to power themselves through photovoltaics and kinetic energy.





3. 4.

1. PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS +up to 28% energy conversion +pollution free during use

2. LUXEON LED’s +high power/efficiency light-emmiting diodes +up to 150 lumens per watt



+longer lifetime than standard dc motors +higher torque to weight ratio +increased efficiency and reliability

+30% more capacity over nicad +environmentally friendly

UNIT MOVEMENT depth changing from shallow to deep

desired location = current location

desired location

desired depth

previous depth

desired location ≠ current location

current location

Unit engages the proper motors to find desired depth.

current location Motors 2 + 3 engaged; unit direction is the path of the vector created by the actively engaged motors.

Current GPS reading matches that of the desired; engines are are at idle.

Calibration | Bathymetry + Analog


ELECTROCHROMIC LAYER INACTIVE Transparent Electrolyte Passive counter electrode

UNIT MOVEMENT The creation of the bathymetric effect is accomplished through the illumination process. After completing several light/illumination studies, it was established that the light source needed to be partially submerged to accomplish the desired glowing effect and not just create reflections on the waters surface. In order to keep the units energy efficient, a series of mirrored surfaces allows the units to have a centralized light source directed upward. The mirros then redirect the light back downwardand while the convex form of the mirror creates a 180 degree coverage. This method is very effective at night but a major problem needed to be resolved. The units needs interpret into not only a night-time solution, but they need to be utilized in daylight as well. This issue was resolved with the utilization of electrochromic plastic in the light cover. Electrochromic plastic is a normally transparent plastic but with a small electric charge, it becomes opaque. A photocell sensor would detect high light conditions triggering the transmission of this small electric current to the light cover which would cause it to become 80% opaque making the current light color highly visible in full daylight.


LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Active electrochromic layer

Lithium ions Transparent Conducter

Transparent Conductor Voltage source

ELECTROCHROMIC LAYER ACTIVE Opaque Pasive counter electrode Rejected light Transparent conductor

Active electro-chromic layer Transparent conductor Reverse Voltage




Light Range

Light Source

Water Surface

LOW LIGHT CONDITIONS Protective Cover Light Source

Photoresistor detects low light condition

Electrochromic plastic is inactive resulting in 100% transparency

Light passes through unobstructed

HIGH LIGHT CONDITIONS Protective Cover Light Source

Obstructed light creates glow on plastic surface Electrochromic plastic is activateed; plastic becomes 80% opaque

12:00 PM Calibration | Bathymetry + Analog

The noah project

Group Members: Hunter Lero + Danielle Martin PRODUCTIVE PROJECT TYPE AGENTS


THE NOAH PROJECT The issues in the Atchafalaya that we are proposing to tackle is the problem of the over saturation of nutrients in its waters. This problem is caused by the runoff from agricultural fields and urban areas into the Mississippi Riverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s watershed. Thirty percent of the Mississippiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s water is diverted to join the Red River and create the Atchafalaya. This over saturation of nutrients causes an excess of invasive species growth inside the Basin, which causes hypoxia, a lack of oxygen in the water. This in turn hinders native plants and wildlife. Also, the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya Rivers dumps an average of 1.5 million tons of nitrogen every year into the Gulf of Mexico, which has the second largest manmade coastal hypoxic zone in the world.

Filtration System The lower part of the vessel opens allowing water with suspended sediment to flow into the vessel channeling the water to spread out and move through a permeable filter spread across the inside of the vessel, depositing the sediment. The sediment is stored within the vessel while the vessel makes its way up the Atchafalaya from Morgan City to the headwaters of the Atchafalaya, collecting as much suspended sediment as it can. When it reaches the headwaters, if it has collected enough sediment it stops that part of the operation.

Also, we are dealing with the loss of the wetlands to the Gulf of Mexico. The erosion of the coastal wetlands is caused by sediment being picked up and deposited into the Gulf of Mexico instead of settling inside the Basin or wetlands. The loss of the wetlands causes greater saltwater intrusion. The penalty of saltwater intrusion is the loss of habitat for native flora and fauna, which cannot survive in water with an elevated saline level. The loss of the wetlands also is more obvious in the loss of coastal Louisiana, which means that the state is shrinking and losing areas for both animal and human habitation.

Suspended sediment is greater towards the north of the Atchafalaya where the turbulent waters of the Mississippi River and Red River merge into the Atchafalaya. As the suspended sediment travels down river the heavier particles drop to the bottom of the river bed, creating less sediment in the water. The unit moves up river taking seeking out areas in the river with highest sediment levels while exposing the collector to greater volumes of sediment rich water.

Nitrogen in pounds per square mile.

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


Nutrient Repurposing The hydroponic system leaches the nutrients out of the sediment which is in turn used to grow crops. Water is continuously run through sediment tank slowly Constant water flow through removing excessive nutrients. The nutrient rich water is deposited sediment leaches then fed into the independent hydroponic systems and nutrient content provides needed nitrates and phosphorous. Nutrient content is sensed in individual crops and the Hydroponic nutrient Tanks Hydroponic Tanks leached solution is released as needed. Individual beds or entire crops can be altered according to sensed nutrient loads to keep the delicate system balanced.

Individual Systems are analyzed and the nutrient solution or external nutrients are distributed as needed

The water enters the main sediment tank and moves through a permeable layer leaving the suspended sediment.

Hydroponic Tanks

The nutrient solution is released into individual hydroponic tanks which supply solution to various crops according to specific needs of the plant.

Specially formulated nutrient solutions are then fed into individual beds

Productive Agents | The NOAH Project


Sediment Soil Collection Leaching soil for hydroponics Empty after dumping

Tomatoes Days until germination Days until harvest Harvest

The diagram above shows the relative harvesting projections in a full cycle. This is defined by the beginning of sediment collection to the dispersal of sediment in coastal Louisiana

Strawberries Days until germination Days until harvest Harvest

Bell Peppers Days until germination Days until harvest Harvest

Lettuce Days until germination Days until harvest Harvest

Spinach Days until germination Days until harvest Harvest

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Hydroponic Systems Hydroponic Agriculture is the growth of produce without the use of soil. Individual plant root systems are suspended in a growing medium such as wool or gravel and a nutrient laced solution is continuously run through individual beds. Hydroponics nearly eliminates the potential diseases caused the soil cultivation while requiring a fraction of the minerals and water needed in traditional farming. Nutrient balance is crucial for the success of the crop because hydroponic cultivation is highly sensitive of compound loads. However, when successful hydroponic crops can produce 30-50% more then conventional farming in nearly one third less time.


After the crops are sold and off loaded the vessel then travels towards the coast and deposits its soil load. This is done by the front end of the vessel lifting up and rolling the biodegradable filter with the soil on top of it to a precise location to help rebuild the wetlands. The vessel then starts the process over again, regardless of the time of year because the greenhouses allow for year round growing.

Sediment Redistribution The soil rests on a permeable, biodegradable sheet, which is deposited from the back of the vessel into the coastal areas of Louisiana. The structure on which the sediment rests, lowers, creating a slope allowing gravity to help the soil exit. Rollers help sheet exit back of the vessel easier.

Productive Agents | The NOAH Project

Dynamic Installation

Ji Park, Group Justine Members: Holzman + Luke Venable INSTALLATION PROJECT TYPE



Dynamic Installation To re-conceptualize the network of information generated by the mobile hunting camp modules, the mobile responsive hunting camp module will be utilized to collect data throughout the Atchafalaya, to create a data visualization, dynamic art installation in the city of Baton Rouge, expanding the network of readable information. The design intends to represent a data visualization of dissolved oxygen [DO] content in realtime using a dynamic surface infrastructure and light system that responds to assigned variables in real-time. The modules collect data based off of research done by LSU professors, Kaler, Kelso, Halloran and Rutherford, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Effects of spatial scale on assessment of dissolved oxygen dynamics in the Atchafalaya River Basin, Louisiana,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Hydrobiologia 2011 . To determine factors [variables] contributing to high and low areas of dissolved oxygen, the modules would sense water temperature, river stage height, current velocity and water depth. Of these four variables, current velocity is the most significant in effecting the dissolved oxygen content. Although, these are the measurable variables for levels of dissolved oxygen, the physical changes throughout this morphological landscape creating these conditions are increased sediment deposition, reduced riverine inputs and altered floodplain circulation. Thus, resulting in low levels of dissolved oxygen and increased dissolved oxygen stratification, which are indicators of hypoxic and eutrophic conditions. To represent this transparent striation of dissolved oxygen content, we are proposing an interface to visualize the data in the Downtown area of Baton

Site Section

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Rouge. The site is the old shipping dock just South of the I-10 freeway along the East bank of the river. The existing infrastructure will be employed to support the dynamic surface made of translucent fabric. The horizontal surface is manipulated above, vertically by mechanics in response to water velocity and the lights would brighten and dim in response to changing levels of DO. The site is significant because of its relationship to the Mississippi River and the larger landscape. The annual flood pulse and water stage height is the primary constituent to levels of DO throughout the basin. A relationship can be drawn throughout the year by the height and form of the surface to the height of the Mississippi River. The translucency of the fabric overhead and its constant shifting movement would perform the effect of being underwater and experiencing aquatic conditions. The installation would respond to the variables assigned and lower or rise in reaction to levels of DO. In order to make the space relatable to urban methodologies, the space would be assigned movements that relate to socio-behavioral psychologies. Areas amplified by current velocity and higher levels of DO would create pathways of fluid pedestrian movement and larger open areas for gathering.






Site Plan


Areas portraying lower current velocity and DO levels would sink to form low points in the fabric, creating areas that are not navigable or inhabitable and would obstruct movement. The temporal movement would reflect slight day-today changes but would be more representative of seasonal changes especially during annual flood pulses when there is a large influx of oxygenated water. The deviations of the surface would be the most noticeable from within the space but also legible from a distance. This data visualization dynamic installation would be an ambient space that people visiting, living or working in Baton Rouge could experience the environment on different levels. A relationship would form between the state of the structure and the time of day, time of month, seasonal changes, flood pulses and water stage height.

LSU | Responsive Systems Studio


High Ecosystem Health Condition

Low Ecosystem Health Condition

Varried Micro-Conditions

Installation | Dynamic Installation


LSU | Responsive Systems Studio


A working prototype was built in order to help understand the spatial and formal relationships created through the everchanging installation. The prototype served as a diagram to explore the sequence of change through time, the effectiveness of the spatial conditions created and an understanding of scale. We were able to accomplish this by utilizing technologies such as the Arduino hardware along with visual coding software, Grasshopper, and Firefly. To achieve the mechanics of manipulating movement of the surface, miniature servo motors were used to turn gear wheels that in turn moved rods in the verticle direction. Stocking mesh was attached to the bottom ends of the rods to form a grid to attach the surface. As a representation of the sensing technologies that would be utilized, light sensors were used in order to control the dynamic model. Each individual sensor drove a particular servo motor. The sensors were laid out onto a board to create a sensor field which users could run their hands over to create a shadow effect over the sensor which in turn moved the servo motor. A field of LED lights were aslo driven by the light sensors. The brightness of the lights change in relation to the data input from the light sensors. This effect would allow the surface to become visible during the evening and accentuate areas of high and low dissoled oxygen content

Installation | Dynamic Installation


Entering View

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


View from Pier

Installation | Dynamic Installation


Group Nguyen Members: + Breton Smith INSTALLATION PROJECT TYPEKevin


VIEWPORT Large-scale flood control infrastructure has created a static relationship between the Atchafalaya River, an ecosystem that constantly shifts, flows, and reroutes, and urban cities bordering the river. Morgan City, Louisiana is the Atchafalaya River’s last intersection with a city before it disperses into Gulf of Mexico. Despite its unique geographic connection with the Atchafalaya, the city relies on floodwalls and levees to ensure the springtime runoff stays within the basin and doesn’t overflow into populated areas. The floodwall is a seventeen-foot high impenetrable barrier with few gates and wraps along the entire western boundary. Surrounded by its barrier, Morgan City’s waterfront continues to be an isolated and untapped resource. “viewPORT” engages with the first step in this restorative process: to change people’s perception of their floodwall. The current infrastructure was constructed and designed for a singular purpose: protection. Its sheer volume and permanence imparts its residents with a sense of security but also confinement. Using the apertures to puncture viewports to the river, allows people to engage with the wall as an interface to reconnect with their forgotten landscape. The irises respond by opening and closing depending on sensing the position of people and their relationship with the activities occurring on other side. By layering multiple functionalities into the floodwall and maintaining its original protective purpose, the dynamism of the aperture’s opening and closing deconstructs the preconceived notion of the wall as an oppressive, unchangeable object. Transforming a resistive piece of infrastructure into a permeable interface gives residents an opportunity to perceive the waterfront as an area

LSU | Responsive Systems Studio

to be engaged with and starts to create visions of opportunities for the Historic Downtown District. The main scope of the project is to reactivate Morgan City’s river edge, more specifically the Downtown Historic District, which neighbors a portion of the floodwall. The district has economically and socially deteriorated as the use of its ports declined in recent years. Left adjacent to the monolithic walls, future growth in the historic district would be difficult because of the walls restricting visual access to its most valuable asset, the river. The floodwall is treated as a perimeter barrier, much like a castle wall. Yet the barrier serves a singular purpose: to prevent the river from flooding Morgan City. Before the technology of flood control existed, the waterfront to Morgan City had complete access to the Atchafalaya and supported a thriving community reliant on its connection with the largest swamp in the United States.


Installation | Viewport


Morgan City Landuse

Landuse in Morgan City is broken into three distinct spatial categories. An industiral wrapping hugs the river edge, seperating the city from the water.




LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Levee Wall


Exisitng Site Conditions

The location of this instillation is located where the commercial section of Morgan City interfaces with the river. At the present, the wall stands as a barrier to the riverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge.

Installation | Viewport


00:05 s

00:10 s

00:18 s

00:29 s

Site Section

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


The first step to reactivate Morgan City as a community focused on its local environment is to change the perception of Morgan Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vulnerability without large flood control infrastructure. This project seeks to retain the wall as a defense while changing the perception of it to become an interactive object.

to create a vector between motion on the city side of the wall and the distant motion, opening the irises to frame a unique view. As a long term interaction, the smallest apertures are driven by network stored data reflecting seasonal trends of flood levels. Residents who live nearby will be able to interpret these long term interactions.

The distribution of the irises along the 1000 foot stretch of floodwall is organized by the grid of streets running toward the wall. The intersection of these streets and the wall act as attractor points for the largest of the apertures, diminishing in size outward. Points directly across from the businesses that face the floodwall act as sub-attractors, with apertures sized large enough for people to pass through. Again, the size of the adjacent apertures gradually tapers away. Beyond the aperture size and shape, the sensor driven movement of the irises contradicts the binary open/closed nature of traditional floodwall openings, providing for constantly different conditions along the wall. The sensors respond to three interactions, and directly translate to three scales of size and duration of movement. In the shortest term interaction, as people traverse the area immediately adjacent the wall, the largest sized openings adjust to allow a person to pass through. Sensors detect movement within a given threshold and trigger the apertures to rotate open. As a mid-term interaction, sensors detect distant motion in the form of boats passing in the Atchafalaya. The network is able

Physical Prototype

The images on the opposite page depict the the pysical model that was developed to demonstrate the idea. Six apereratures were built and connected to light sensor-driven servos that were running through an arduino-fireflygrasshopper interface. This time lapse is run over thirty seconds.

Installation | Viewport


Group Caletka Members: + Kevin Kimball INSTALLATION PROJECT TYPE Chad


AQUEOUS INTERFACE The traditional land and water interface within the Atchafalaya Basin is a rapidly changing phenomenon based on seasonal watershed fluctuations. Current flood control infrastructure seeks to keep the Atchafalaya Basin in a relatively stable condition by preventing large volumes of the Mississippi River from entering the Atchafalaya River. The Atchafalaya is now in a position where it receives inundation only as a preventative measure to keep the Mississippi from breaching its levees. The City Sense Design Competition will multiply these occasional fluctuations by proposing that more water from the Mississippi River will be diverted through the Old River Control Structure in a manner that is more responsive to real-time watershed conditions. This will drastically change the character of the Atchafalaya Basin but will lead to the long-term health of the basin and its deltaic coastline. This installation seeks to relate the true nature of the rapidly changing land and water interface of the Atchafalaya Basin as a critique of current flood management. The site for the installation is the northeast entrance at the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge. The 25’ wide x 190’ deep entrance approach is the primary entrance to the Shaw Center Galleries and Manship Theatre from the Third Street Parking Garage. The space is bordered by the Shaw Center and art galleries on its western and southern borders, a four-story multi-use loft complex on the north, and by restaurants on its entrance from Third Street on the east. The project has four goals: 1) Relate the dynamic water conditions of the Atchafalaya Basin into legible, interactive displays 2) Identify the varying programs and user groups of the Shaw Center and provide the adaptability for

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

changing programs and their differing users 3) Relate daily and historical changes over time into rapidly changing displays that define the space of the installation 4) Instill an emotional impact of the Atchafalaya Basin into the viewers of the installation The installation manipulates daily LIDAR scanning and terrain modeling to show daily and seasonal fluctuations in the land and water interface of the Atchafalaya Basin. The LIDAR readings will be translated by 4” thick x a 10.5’ maximum height acrylic tubes that move to heights of corresponding water depth readings. These tubes will be flush with ground level in times where the basin is dry and will extend to a height 10.5’ to illustrate peak flood conditions. The display will have a datum that depicts peak water conditions so viewers will have a basis of comparison for current conditions. The tubes will be lit with a series of green and blue LEDs that dim or brighten based on the turbidity of the water in those particular locations. The organization of these tubes permits a smooth entrance to the Shaw Center and Manship Theatre as most of the tubes are clustered along the edges of the alley. The tubes will be set on a schedule to move throughout the day according to varying program times. The morning and afternoon schedule will begin with readings for that day while the tubes will increase in height and density to show peak flood conditions in the evening as events begin to start at the Shaw Center (typically 5pm). Following the conclusion of these events, the tubes will begin to recede as the nightlife of the Shaw Center and Third Street begins to take place. In any larger event or service issue, the tubes can all be adjusted to move below-grade for seamless access through the alley.


Plan View 13.




7. 11. 10. 1.








PLAN KEY 1. Installation Site 2. Manship Theatre 3. Brunner Gallery 4. LSU Musuem of Art 5. Shaw Center Plaza

6. PJs Coffee House 7. Capital City Grill 8. Stroube’s Chophouse 9. Tsunami Sushi 10. OnEleven Lofts

11. Roux House 12. Old State Capitol Grounds 13. Hilton Hotel 14. Hotel Indigo

Detail Plan View

Installation | Aqueous Interface

Art ore

Turbidity Values Values Read Read Turbidity LEDL.E.D. Brightens Accordingly Brightens Accordingly LED Fixture Fixed totoTop L.E.D. Fixture Fixed TopofofTube Tube Height Changes with Height Changes w/Gray GrayValue Values L.E.D. Fixture Fixed in Subgrade Readings Fixed LEDPosition Fixture Remains Fixed in Subgrade Ground Ground Plane Plane Tubes Flush White Reading Tubes Flush withwith White Reading Subgrade Tube Housings Subgrade Tube Housings Sealed Hydraulic Tubes Sealed Hydraulic Tubes

6a 7a 8a 9a 10a 11a 12p 1p 2p 3p 4p 5p 6p 7p 8p 9p 10p 11p 12p




9a 10a 11a 12p








6a 6a 6a 6a


River Terrace Terrace River River River Terrace Terrace Tsunami Sushi Tsunami Sushi Tsunami Tsunami Sushi Sushi

River Terrace

Stroubes Chophouse Chophouse Stroubes Stroubes Stroubes Chophouse Chophouse Shaw Center

LSU School of Art Capital City Grill

Manship Theatre PJs Coffe House

River Terrace Stroubes Chophouse

Manship Theatre

Tsunami Sushi Capital City Grill PJs Coffee House Stroubes Chophouse F F F F F

Tsunami Sushi LSU Responsive Systems Studio

LSU School of Art + Glassel Gallery



Capital City City Grill Grill Capital Capital Capital City City Grill Grill PJs Coffee House PJs Coffee House PJs PJs Coffee Coffee House House

LSU Museum of Art + Museum Store



Shaw Center



Shaw Center Shaw Center Shaw Shaw Center Center LSU Museum of Art LSU Museum of Art LSU of Art Museum Store LSU+++ Museum Art Museum of Store Store ++ Museum Museum Store Museum Store LSU School of Art LSU School of Art LSU School of LSU SchoolGallery of Art Art + Glassel ++ Glassel Gallery Glassel Gallery + Glassel Gallery Manship Theatre Manship Theatre Theatre Manship Manship Theatre

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Art ery

Left: LIDAR Simulations of Atchafalaya Basin in dry conditions (left) and varying phases of innundation to right.




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Detail Plan View

Detail Section View

Installation | Aqueous Interface


Top Left: Grasshopper/Arduino Gearing Prototype, black and white values interpolated from LIDAR scans of land/water cover. Top Middle: Hydraulic Tube Prototype.

LSU | Responsive Systems Studio

Top Right: Still Model. Bottom: East View from Shaw Center Entrance, Midday


Top: West View from Third Street, Midday. Bottom: West View from Third Street, Night View.

Installation | Aqueous Interface

inter-Spatial manipulator

Logan Hall,Members: Steven Mansfield + Rhett Parker Group INSTALLATION PROJECT TYPE

al r


INTER-SPATIAL MANIPULATOR Research of the traditional Atchafalaya hunting camp reveals several fallibilities and advantages regarding its form and function, as well as its operation within the Atchafalaya Basin. The benefits vary from cultural and social aspects to providing adjacency to the hunt, while the inadequacies range from issues of accessibility and stability to inadequacy of the camp itself as aid in the hunt. This investigation of the proficiency of the traditional hunting camp exposes its deficiency of one of the vital tactics of the hunt – camouflage – and poses the question of how to improve this condition. The understanding of camouflage in both natural and synthetic methods provides the opportunity to reference the processes for reinterpretation. A common employer of camouflage whose trick is unfamiliar to most is the chameleon – a unique, yet simple manipulation of the layers of the chameleon’s skin allows it to mimic the values of its immediate context. Synthetic (manmade) applications of camouflage attempt to eliminate what is referred to as the “edge condition.” To elaborate, objects can be discerned as independent from their background/foreground because of the viewer’s ability to make out the hard lines of change in color value. The intent of camouflage in this respect is to apply the pattern (of predetermined values based on context values) to the object in order to soften those lines and thus blend the edges of the object with its back/ foreground. While the two systems do have common objectives and processes of color and perspective alteration, there is also a crucial inconsistency between the two – one adjusts its own color values while the other manipulates the viewer’s perception of the existing values by simulating those values. Consequently, is it

LSU | Responsive Systems Studio

possible to combine these two techniques into a realtime data-responsive system that allows the hunting camp to blend in to a constantly changing environment as it moves? Using reflective surfaces that constantly shift slightly away from the viewer’s position, it became possible to combine the use of the reflective process of the chameleon and the capturing of contextual values of synthetic camouflage. The concept experiments proved effective to a certain degree. However, the issue arose when the background of the viewer was significantly different than the background of the object. The object no longer blended in with its background, but rather with the background of the viewer, causing the system to fail. Further research into the work of artist, David Rozin, whose work encompasses real-time data responsive installations intended to represent the immediate surrounding activity, provided some insight as to the method of value representation and how light and dark values can be translated onto a two-dimensional surface. This research prompted the idea of extracting existing values from the Atchafalaya Basin in order to represent them on two-dimensional surfaces. Tests with bit-mapping tools in Grasshopper showed the efficiency of representing these values on a partially visible disc shape, and also allowed the experimentation of how that surface could be manipulated to simulate value change.


Camouflage Studies + Chameleon Skins

Chameleon Skin Layers

Value Translation

Transparent Outer Layer Light Values Red and Yellow Layer

Ambient Light Reflections Layer Medium Values

Dark Values

Image Sampling

Reality Perception


Surface | Inter Spatial Manipulator


A Modular Unit

Side Staccked Option

Center Stacked Option

Surface Configuration Goals

Undulating Wall Condition

Solid Wrap Condition

Easy Installation

Manageable Size

Packaged Unit

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


With the construction of this prototype, further observation was possible regarding the physical properties of the system. The process of overlaying the rotating discs meant that the surface to which the discs are anchored must have physical limitations placed upon it in order for the operation to maintain its integrity and purpose. The discs began to require attention regarding their z-axis placement (distance) relative to the tangent angle of the surface. Through concept models, physical and digital, it became evident that parameters could control these constraints. After thorough discussion, a reevaluation of the program/function of this â&#x20AC;&#x153;skinâ&#x20AC;? has revealed its potential application to range beyond exclusively the Atchafalaya hunting camp, to serve as a technologically based architectural façade or modular surface texture.

Surface | Inter Spatial Manipulator



Physical Prototype


The ability of the surface to respond to real-time data input (video feed) provides the opportunity for the translatable values to be relative to any context. Therefore, the program has the ability to translate, for example, the interior program or activity of a building to the exterior in a way that still provides sufficient privacy and interactivity (as opposed to a simple glass faรงade). Other conceivable functions of the surface vary from advertising and marketing to minimizing building presence and reducing visual obstructions. The relationship between architecture and technology gives us the opportunity to create interactivity within the built environment. Architecture that has, for so long, been static and unresponsive now has the ability to bring spaces to life; streetscapes that breathe, transit that entertains, spaces that transform. The interdependence of architecture and people is becoming attainable.



LSU | Responsive Systems Studio


Value Sampling

Environment Sampling Composite

Color Value to Rotation Angle





Surface | Inter Spatial Manipulator


LSU Responsive Systems Studio



The modular aspect of project allows for multiple different scenerios of interaction to be explored. Small scale installations, building facade wrappings, or just an interesting consumer product were all options dicussed throughout the design process.

Surface | Inter Spatial Manipulator

project veg

Brooks Group + Kim Members: Nguyen SURFACE PROJECT Joshua TYPE

Project Name


VACUOLAR EFFLUVIA GENESIS Vacuolar Effluvia Genesis, if following the dictionary, is defined by the sequestration of a waste product or harmful substance as to create something new. Everyday 2.16 million pounds of nitrate based fertilizer enters the Atchafalaya Basin before continuing downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. After entering the basin these anthropogenic nutrients have an effect that is common around the world, hyper-eutrophication by way of algae bloom. Eutrophication is the natural oscillation in aerobic microbial decomposition and dissolved oxygen in aquatic ecosystems. With the introduction of these pollutants from upstream excessive growth of suspended algae occurs. As the massive amount algae dies and descends the water column they are consumed by the microbes (also consuming oxygen) causing a spike in both the rate of decomposition (positive) and the amount of dissolved oxygen (negative) resulting in a condition known as hypoxia. Hypoxia is a leading cause of fish kills such as the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Dead Zoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the Gulf of Mexico directly south of the Basin. The original concept of this project was to define the asymptote between the microbial decomposition and dissolved oxygen curves to maintain ecosystem health. Using a hyper-efficient ecosystem management (strategy developed in the earlier phase of this project, ECOLIBRIUM) that takes advantage of real time data modeling technology we are able to track eutrophication throughout the basin making micro interventions where necessary. These interventions are made possible by sequestering the process of microbial decomposition of algae into a synthetic plantlike structure. The amalgamation of these units allows

LSU Responsive Systems Studio

for an appropriately scaled response to each hypoxic event. After being deployed to an area of potential hypoxia these units will use a dissolved oxygen sensor to initiate sequestration at the threshold of five p.p.m. (parts per million) dissolved oxygen. Utilizing a root-like system of tubes dispersed throughout the water column this unit will collect algae saturated water subsequently housing the process of microbial decomposition within a concentrated series of tubes. At the end of the decomposition cycle (average of 14 days) there are three by-products biogas, mineral matter, and water. The mineral matter and water are deposited back into the environment. The biogas is collected in a series of pockets. As more gas is collected these structure rises into a full dome supported only by the gas within each pocket creating a very dramatic visual indicator of gas production and environmental health. At that point the units are ready to be harvested. The gas that is collected, generally 500-600 liters of gas per 1000 liters of algae saturated water, can be taken to a biogas facility where it can be converted into butanol, a fuel than can be used in any gasoline based motor. Rapid physical prototyping allowed for the concept developed in this project to be tested and changed. Utilizing new technologies interfacing between digital modeling software and sensor driven models a working model was developed at the end of the project to display, in real time, the pneumatic functions of the unit.


2.16 million lbs of nitrate fertilizer enters basin daily Intorduction of oxidizable pollutant such as nitrate fertilizer

Eutrophication oscillations in dissolved oxygen

Lag in ecosystem health


1) Introduction of Pollutant

2 ) Excessive Algae Growth

3) Microbial Decomposition of Algae

4) Localized Hypoxia in Ecosystem

Surface | Project VEG


Defining the Asymptote with Responsive Deployment

LSU Responsive Systems Studio



00:45 s



2:37 s

6:43 s

Physical Prototype


Prototype Surface | Project VEG


Biogas Digestate

Suspended Algae in Water

Decomposing Algae

Root System

Location Within System

Decomposition State of Algae


Decomposition Veins

Vacuole Antechamber: Gas Digestate + Biogas Byproduct

Biogas Extracted

Vacuole: Gas Retaining Membrane Digestate Re-Enters the Basin as Neutral

Neutral Digestate

Synthetic Root System

LSU Responsive Systems Studio


Algae Decomposition Veins

Gas Permeable Interface

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Vacuolar Membrane: Gas Retention

Surface | Project VEG


Project Implications The implications of

this project are that it makes aware several invisible or over looked phenomenons. First is the idea of a more eloquent and less obtrusive approach to ecosystem management. The second is the visualization of hypereutrophication within the Atchafalaya Basin. The third is the extraction of a renewable resource from the environment that was previously not utilized. These three implications will foster a connection between people and the Atchafalaya Basin in a new and mutually beneficial way.

LSU Responsive Responsive Systems SystemsStudio Studio

Vertical Growth of Vacuolar Membrane

Week 1

Week 2

Continual Decomposition of Algae


Week 3

Week 4

Week 5+

Surface | Project VEG


LSU Responsive Systems Studio

Bradley Cantrell Associate Professor Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture Frank Melendez Assistant Professor School of Architecture Brennan Dedon Breton Smith Bryce Lambert Chad Caletka Charles Pruitt Danielle Martin Darren Sharkey Devon Boutte Hunter Lero Ji Park Joshua Brooks Justine Holzman Kevin Kimball Kevin Nguyen Kim Nguyen Logan Harrell Luke Venable Marcia Gibson Martin Moser Rhett Parker Robert Herkes Ryan Steib Logan Hall Steven Mansfield

Responsive Systems Studio  

Studio taken at LSU in collaboration with architecture and landscape architecture departments during the Fall 2011 semester. Taught by Brad...