CSED Environmental Learning + Research Center

In an effort to establish long-term sustainability, resilience and vitality in the Lower Nine, Small Center teamed up with the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED) and the LSU School of Landscape Architecture to propose the L9 Environmental Learning and Research Center.

Project Dates

January 2014–December 2015


The project was designed in phases to allow the CSED to have a presence on the site for environmental education classes and kayak tours while fundraising for a permanent building that will house indoor education, office, and laboratory spaces. The site is strategically located at the corner of Florida and Caffin Avenues directly opposite of Bayou Bienvenue, a former cypress swamp destroyed by saltwater intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico. The longer term master plan includes a park along the Florida Ave and a walking trail around the bayou.

Small Center Engagement

In the project’s first phase, Small Center focused on regulatory research, planning and design, political engagement, and collaboration with different stakeholders. During the summer of 2014, Small Center the schematic design for the site, along with designs for associated sites adjacent to the project location. In the fall of 2014, Small Center worked with Eskew+Dumez+Ripple to coordinate design and placement of a United States Green Building Council.

Partner Organization

The Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development focuses on coastal rehabilitation, greening the built environment and increasing food security by lifting up and strategically reinforcing community driven goals throughout our work of creating an economically, culturally and environmentally sustainable Lower Ninth Ward.


In the Spring of 2015, Small Center’s Design/Build studio partnered with CSED to design and build an outdoor classroom pavilion on the bayou.



  • Arthur Johnson
  • Rachel Pickens
  • Kathy Muse

LSU Urban Landscape Lab

  • Ryan Benton
  • Elizabeth Mossop

Team Members

Project Leads

  • Cordula Roser Gray (Site Visioning Lead)
  • Tom Holloman (Design/Build Faculty Lead)


  • Marielle Asenjo
  • Andrew Balfe
  • James Ball
  • Lolade Frankel
  • Lindsay Girardeau
  • Zoe Grosshandler
  • Alec Herskowitz
  • Logan Leggett
  • Samuel Naylor
  • Scott Mikawa
  • Gustavo Rodas
  • Matt Skoda
  • Melinda Telford
  • Seth Voiron


  • Maurice Cox
  • John Coyle
  • Maggie Hansen
  • Nick Jenisch
  • Jenga Mwendo
  • Emilie Taylor Welty


  • Surdna Foundation
  • Johnson Controls, Inc


Special Thanks

  • Michael Wong (Photographer)
  • Dash Lumber
  • Walter Zehner