William Baumgardner, a 2016 graduate from Louisiana State University, won a prestigious international award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for his senior year capstone project on living systems infrastructure on the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. Hundreds entered and only 22 individuals or teams won. Baumgardner is currently at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
As the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap, located in the heart of Cambodia, is a highly productive and volatile system. Currently, 1.2 to 1.5 million people move with the lake’s temporal change each year, but live in poor and unhealthy conditions. The goal of the project is aimed at how to interpret the native landscape and nature of the lake while improving the overall quality of life for the communities that call it home. Three main strategies are designed to improve the ecosystem, health, and economy: waterless toilets and an anaerobic digester, fabricated mangrove reef balls, and a constructed wetland and silvofishery. Each implemented system would create a new network that would positively impact the surrounding human and environmental communities. With the success of one primary site, each technology could be adapted and phased into the other major community sites around the Lake’s perimeter and potentially improve the quality of life for over 10% of Cambodia’s population.