Landscape Architecture Students Win National Award

(Baton Rouge) – Three students from LSU’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture have received one of the nation’s most prestigious awards for a project they did last year in New Orleans’ flood-damaged Lower Ninth Ward.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) bestowed the Honor Award in the General Design Category of its student competition to fourth-year students Connors Ladner, Robert Bass and Christopher Barnes for their project “The Lower Ninth Ward and Bayou Bienvenue: An Inherent Opportunity.”

“This project provides a sympathetic connection to people who lost their homes,” noted the judges in their comments about the project. “The beauty of the solution is that they have been given a real gem. It’s the right solution to give back the Ninth Ward to nature.”

The purpose of the project, conducted under the supervision of faculty advisor Cat Marshall, was to rethink land-use practices for the lowest elevations of the Ninth Ward, which were inundated by floodwaters during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Essentially, the project proposes returning those lowest-lying and least-habitable edges of the Lower Ninth Ward to their natural state, while also creating a series of nature trails and walkways that would enable visitors to learn and interact with the ecological and cultural systems of Louisiana.

“Barnes, Bass and Ladner designed a project that provided a clear a vision of landscape as park, education and memory,” said Marshall. “Together they artfully proposed a design project that speaks to the community need for open space which functions at multiple levels of use, program and scale.”

The student award marks the second honor ASLA has bestowed on the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture. Last month, Elizabeth Mossop, who serves as director of the School, and assistant professor Wes Michaels received ASLA’s Analysis and Planning Award of Excellence in the professional category for their design of an urban farm in the Vietnamese community of New Orleans East.

“These awards are a shining example of why the graduate and undergraduate programs of the Robert Reich School of Architecture are second in the United States, and why the School has consistently ranked in the top five in the country for the past four years,” said David Cronrath, dean of the LSU College of Art and Design. “We are proud of our faculty and students, and will continue to strive for excellence as measured by such prestigious awards.”