New Orleans // Isle flotant
The Mississippi Delta is a dynamic shifting landscape. The geological formation New Orleans is based on is only a few thousand years old. Within this shifting deltaic fan New Orleans resembles a highly installed and maintained isle flotant; a drainage basin – essentially a crooked polder.
How can the dramatic events that occurred in New Orleans during and after Katrina be interpreted for future adaptations, that learn from its short-coming. The deluge needs to be acknowledged as a political and cultural catastrophe, ignoring the essential natural conditions. New Orleans therefore provides a case to study and reconsider, not only the symptoms of the disaster, but the basis of its underlying values and paradigms – its maladaptations.
Manifold high-tech, high-carbon and high-maintenance infrastructural systems are in place to sustain the cities threatened existence. The studio explores the immanent processes of both; the transforming urbanized landscape and the dynamic deltaic environment. The paradigm of order and control over nature is questioned in favor of strategies, that respect, modify and engage natural processes at work. How can the identified natural processes be utilized to sustain or substitute heavy technical infrastructure. Prototypes of a resilient hybrid urban nature are challenged.
The studio seeks for strategies of adaptation to a transforming environment. Infrastructure therefore should not act against the environment, but be developed along a new paradigm to negotiate with natural infrastructure. The urban landscape is understood as the cities underlying system, which needs to interact, with the environmental dynamics.