Architecture Student Christopher James Receives LSU Discover Scholar Award

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2016 LSU Discover Research Scholars with LSU President F. King Alexander

lsu_discover171 Christopher James, a third-year LSU School of Architecture student from Clearwater, Florida, has been named a 2016 LSU Discover Scholar award winner.

The LSU Discover Scholar award recognizes students who exemplify the potential for undergraduate research and creative endeavors at LSU. Each year outstanding research students are nominated by faculty members and selected by a panel of judges. James was nominated for the award by Professor Jori Erdman, director of the LSU School of Architecture.

“Christopher is an inquisitive and mature research student who has demonstrated ability to identify important sources of information and tenacity for finding new resources,” commented Erdman. “He has such passion for the

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Christopher James with faculty advisor Jori Erdman

work that he is able to convince colleagues from different disciplines of the possibilities inherent in design research.”

James is pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture with a minor in business administration and is expected to graduate in 2018. In addition to being named an LSU Discover Scholar, James is a member of the LSU Ogden Honors College, a President’s Future Leaders in Research program scholar, and a Communications across the Curriculum Distinguished Communicator candidate. He is an ambassador for the LSU School of Architecture, a worship leader in Antioch Community Church’s College Ministry, and a member of Beta Upsilon Chi Christian Fraternity.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a LSU Discover Scholar for 2016,” said James. “I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to conduct meaningful architectural research under the guidance of knowledgeable faculty and the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio. This research has opened my eyes to a larger scope of architecture—one that embraces global challenges as opportunities for design, requiring a holistic understanding of the many different forces at work.”

James’s research investigates the role architecture plays in dynamic coastal environments, specifically the Louisiana coast. His work advocates for positive ecological, social, and economic relationships between the natural and built environments.

In spring 2015, James presented his research project, CRMS Reimagined, at the annual Ogden Honors Research Colloquium. James’s project proposed a reimagined architecture for the Coastwide Reference Monitoring System, a network of 390 data collection points that provide vital information about the current state of the highly dynamic Louisiana coastal environment. Professor Erdman served as his faculty advisor for this research project undertaken with support from the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio.

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Rendering of Oystower: Monitoring Coastal Resilience

Building on his CRMS research, in fall 2015 James, along with Erdman and LSU architecture undergraduate Giovanni Coakley, won Honorable Mention in the Laka Competition ’15 for their team’s entry, Oystower: Monitoring Coastal Resilience. (View the project board here.) Laka is an international design competition organized by Laka Architektura, a public arts initiative that gathers architects, artists, designers, engineers, and scientists to start an international dialog for sharing innovative ideas about the future of society. Almost 200 individuals from five continents and 30 countries submitted 100 entries to the competition. The objective of the 2015 competition, Architecture that Reacts, was to investigate socially engaged architecture that is able to respond and dynamically adjust to current needs and circumstances. The LSU team’s entry proposed a network of self-sustaining structures for monitoring the coastal zone for indicators of change and threat.

After graduation James hopes to work for an architecture firm with an interdisciplinary approach to design focused on addressing the challenges of environmental stewardship, health, economic sustainability, social equity, and poverty in various parts of the world. He is also considering attending graduate school to study urban design and gain greater expertise in using architecture to revitalize areas that suffer from urban blight and other challenges.

“Whichever path I choose, I plan to use architecture as an agent to meet needs and make a positive difference in the world,” James commented.

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The 2016 LSU Discover Scholar award recipients will be honored at a breakfast with LSU President F. King Alexander on February 3, 2016. For more information about LSU Discover, visit