Students Investigate Components in Rising Water Installation

rising water installation

To commemorate the recent flooding in Louisiana, LSU College of Art & Design students in Professional in Residence Lee Kean’s components course created a large-scale installation for exhibit in the LSU Design Building Atrium.

The project was focused on the potential for components to exponentially create structures, systems, and environments. Students began by recording the dynamic exchange of water and land. Their photographic observations or rising and moving water and dark and light reflections on the water’s surface became the focus of the investigation. The students scanned the photographic images for use in propagation-based parametric modeling and produced digital and physical models.


The class selected one digital model to translate and cut at full scale with the CNC (computer numerical control) router. The full-scale, milled component shapes were sequenced and structured to produce the installation, which was mounted on the atrium wall in the Design Building. The installation contextualized processes in nature to create a new spatial experience, potentially establishing links in viewers’ perception and experience.

“The intermittent and unexpected forcefulness of the flooding in Louisiana carries a heavy connotation, and the installation engages viewers with one of many unique phenomenological attributes of the environment that we call home,” said architecture student Zach McLain.


“For me, it represents the power of water,” added interior design student Emily Phillips. “Even though the devastation is not visible, it shows on a large scale how influential the impact of water can be. The installation helps me remember our vulnerability.”

“In context to what has happened recently, [the installation] shows the power and dynamics of water,” noted landscape architecture student Joseph Graziani. “At first you do not realize it is water being represented, but when you walk up to it, you feel the intensity.”

To George Castillo, a graphic design and photography student who volunteered to photograph the exhibition, the installation represented “the rise and fall of people’s experiences in our community.”

Ryan E. Stevens of State Lumber and Hardware and Jack Kellerman of Kellerman Woodworks donated supplied for the installation, and several interior design, architecture, and landscape architecture students volunteered their time to help realize the project.