Moffatt & Nichol | West 8 | LSU-CSS Team declared a winner in Changing Course Competition

The international Changing Course design competition today announced its winning teams and the teams’ 100-year visions for restoring and sustaining the Mississippi River Delta for the people and industries that call it home. The winning teams – comprised of some of the world’s top engineers, coastal scientists, planners and designers – are Baird and Associates, Moffatt & Nichol – West 8 – LSU-CSS Team, and Studio Misi-Ziibi.

“We challenged the world’s top experts to find the most innovative ways to make sure that New Orleans and southeast Louisiana aren’t held hostage to worsening storms, rising seas and a disappearing delta,” said Steve Cochran, Associate Vice President of Ecosystems at Environmental Defense Fund and a member of the Changing Course Leadership Team. “We hope the winning ideas will help citizens, communities, industries and governments engage in real conversations about what it’s going to take to make this important region more resilient and prosperous.”

The winning teams’ designs are based on a 100-year planning horizon and focus on maximizing the Mississippi River’s natural and sustainable land-building potential while taking into the account of needs of navigation and other industries, flood control and sustainable community development – a challenge raised by the state of Louisiana’s master planning process. Over the last century, nearly 1,900 square miles of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands have vanished. Every hour, a football field-sized swath of land drowns in the Gulf’s advancing tides. At this rate, by 2100, Louisiana’s protective coast will be gone. The solutions proposed by the winning teams focus primarily on the Mississippi River south of New Orleans.

While each of the winning teams offered a different vision, all three identified three major themes as critical to sustaining the Mississippi River Delta today and into the future:

  • A clear focus on a sustainable delta through using the natural forces of the Mississippi River;
  • Maximum integration of navigation, flood control and restoration, including consideration of ideas for a better and more sustainable navigation channel;
  • Consideration of a gradual transition of industry and communities into more protected and resilient communities, over time.

The Giving Delta, Moffatt & Nichol – West 8 – LSU-CSS Team project proposes six primary strategies that will bring a self-sustaining Delta into being over the next century.

1. Couple annual river operations with long term adaption
2. Shift from flood controlled to controlled flow
3. Move the mouth of the river inland
4. Inevitable transgression leads to a consolidated delta zone
5. Invest in ports & shipping in a consolidated working delta
6. Link community infrastructure in a resilient and adaptive network

A host of engineering and design tactics were studied, bringing these strategies to level of realism that demonstrates that the Giving Delta project is implementable. To find out more about The Giving Delta click here.

Read more about the teams and see their designs at

West 8 is an award-winning international office for urban design and landscape architecture founded in 1987. Over the last 25 years West 8 has established itself as a leading practice with an international team of 70 architects, urban designers, landscape architects and industrial engineers. West 8 developed projects all over the world in places such as Copenhagen, London, Moscow, New York, Madrid, Toronto and Amsterdam. The office gained international recognition with projects such as Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam (NL), Borneo-Sporenburg in Amsterdam (NL), Jubilee Gardens in London (UK), Expo \’02 in Yverdon-les-Bains (CH) and Miami Beach SoundScape Park (US). Many of the projects are the result of groundbreaking entries in important international competitions. Recently won competitions include Toronto Waterfront in Toronto (CA), Governors Island in New York (USA) and Yongsan Park in Seoul (KR).

Amongst the numerous awards received by West 8 are the Honor Award of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Lifetime Achievement Award for Architecture 2011, Mondriaan Fund (formerly BKVB),  the International Urban Landscape Gold Award (IULA), the Prix de Rome, the Dutch Maaskant Award, the Bijhouwer Award, the Rosa Barba First European Landscape Prize, the Green Pin and the Veronica Rudge Green Prize for Urban Design.

Changing Course is a design competition aimed at developing innovative solutions to rebuild and protect the Louisiana coast. It is led by a leadership team of prominent leaders in Louisiana’s civic, industry, and academic communities along with national experts in coastal resiliency, engineering, and design. It is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, blue moon fund, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Shell, The Kresge Foundation, The Selley Foundation and The Walton Family Foundation; with leadership support from Van Alen Institute, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes the power of design to transform cities, landscapes and regions to improve people’s lives, and Environmental Defense Fund, which has 30 years of experience in the Mississippi River Delta region; and with technical support from BuroHappold Engineering, a worldwide consulting and engineering firm. Learn more at and follow Changing Course on Twitter and Facebook.

For more information: Public Relations, Lydia Franken, +31 (0)10 – 485 58 01,,

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