(Wet)Land Building with Kiel Moe, Spring 2015 Nadine Carter Russell Chair

lsu nadine carter russell chair kiel moe

Kiel Moe, Spring 2015 Nadine Carter Russell Chair

Kiel Moe, a registered practicing architect and associate professor of architecture and energy at Harvard Graduate School of Design, was named one of two 2014–15 Nadine Carter Russell Chairs, a rotating residency shared among the four disciplines within the LSU College of Art & Design—this year, hosted by the School of Architecture.

[Guy Nordenson, structural engineer and professor of architecture and engineering at Princeton University, was the fall 2014 Nadine Carter Russell Chair.]

Moe is co-director of the Master in Design Studies program and the Energy, Environments & Design Research Lab at HGSD, where he teaches and coordinates core design studios, seminars on forms of energy, and lectures on architecture and energy. His research and design practice centers on an agenda for design and energy that is at once more ecologically and architecturally ambitious, focusing on both buildings as manifestations of large-scale energy systems as well as overlooked and discrete thermal parameters in buildings that yet have great impact on the power and thermodynamic depth of architecture.

kiel moe architect

Maximum power design by Kiel Moe

As the spring 2015 chair, Moe presented a lecture that was open to the university and the public. [View his lecture, “Maximum Power Design.”] He has visited LSU several times throughout the spring semester to work with architecture students in Assistant Professor Shelby Doyle’s graduate design studio, ARCH 7004.

The focus of the studio, “Architecture of (Wet)Land Building: Wax Lake Delta NERRS Research Center,” is to propose designs for the flagship Louisiana National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) facility in the Wax Lake Delta, to be part of the national system that protects more than 1.3 million acres in 28 reserves in 22 states and Puerto Rico. Louisiana is currently the only Gulf Coast state without a NERRS site or facility. The 35,000-square-foot facility will include office space, laboratories, classrooms, exhibition space, and a dormitory—as well as a program for educational outreach.

As co-instructor of the course, Moe introduced his energy methodology, expanding the students’ understanding of energy systems in architecture—especially in the context of Wax Lake—and exposed students to principles of maximum power, transformation, and feedback as a co-motivator for the design of buildings.

“It has been a privilege to teach with Kiel, and his presence at LSU is a unique opportunity for our students,” stated Doyle. “Professor Moe’s research provides a productive and generative link between architecture and the dynamic ecology of the Wax Lake Delta, and I am looking forward to seeing this influence in the students’ design proposals.”


Moe accompanied the students on a field trip to the Wax Lake Delta in March. [View photos from the Wax Lake Delta on Flickr.] Earlier in the spring, the students visited the National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in Grand Bay, Mississippi, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) DeFelice Marine Center in Cocodrie, Louisiana, to experience and document two architectural precedents that combine ongoing scientific research and public education and outreach.

[View photos from the Gulf Coast field trips on Flickr.]

Studio collaborations with Dr. Robert Twilley, executive director of the Louisiana Sea Grant Program and professor of oceanography and coastal sciences at LSU, and Dr. Pamela Blanchard, associate professor of education, provided the students with important background information to help them develop their proposals. Much of Twilley’s research is focused on understanding the ecosystem ecology, management practices, and biogeochemistry of coastal wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico and throughout Latin America—from Florida to the Yucatan Peninsula. Blanchard served as Louisiana Sea Grant’s education coordinator for four years and helped start the Ocean Commotion and LSU Coastal Roots programs. Her responsibilities in the School of Education are centered on helping elementary and secondary science educators teach science in rigorous, creative, meaningful, and engaging ways.

The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio provided financial, planning, and institutional support for the course. CSS works to envision and design sustainable systems that reduce vulnerability to increased storm strength, coastal hazards, habitat degradation, and global environmental change. The results of this design experimentation provide a sound basis for major policy decisions for adaptation through more sustainable land-use planning protection, and education.

“It has been an honor to be named the Nadine Carter Russell Chair,” said Moe. “I am very much enjoying the opportunity to engage the LSU community and context. The residency provides an excellent opportunity to discuss and apply a wide range of ideas about ecology and design in a rich and complex context. The engagement of the School of Architecture and CSS has been impressive.”


Moe attended the studio’s mid-term reviews and critiqued the students’ proposals. He will return to Baton Rouge to participate in final reviews and critiques at the end of the semester.

More about Kiel Moe
Kiel Moe received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati, his Master of Architecture from the University of Virginia, and his Master of Design in Design and Environmental Studies from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design Advanced Studies Program. In recognition of his design and research, Moe was awarded the 2009–10 Gorham P. Stevens Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture and the 2012 Barbara and Andrew Senchak Fellowship for MacDowell Colony. He received the 2013 Boston Design Biennial Award, the 2011 Architecture League of New York Prize, the 2011 AIA National Young Architect Award, as well as numerous design awards for individual projects from the AIA, North American Wood Design Awards, and the Boston Society of Architects. He is the author of six books, including Insulating Modernism: Isolated and Nonisolated Thermodynamics in Architecture (Birkhauser, 2014); Convergence: An Architectural Agenda for Energy (2013); and Thermally Active Surfaces in Architecture (2010).

About the Master of Architecture Program at LSU
The LSU School of Architecture graduate program focuses on engaging students and faculty who share interests in design and the built environment. The backbone of the Master of Architecture program is the Design Studio, where students engage in the design education process. The graduate program integrates innovative design with technical, social, and practical concerns to address complex global conditions. Courses and studios focused on history, theory, sustainability, digital media, and community design provide the knowledge to solve real-life problems in the built environment. Studio projects center on spatial design, Louisiana coastal issues, and community design efforts. For more information, visit