Tracing Our Mississippi, located next to the East Fork of the White River, asks visitors to understand local waterways in relation to the vast territorial scales of the fourth largest watershed in the world. By representing the Mississippi River watershed as a large-scale model of the river basins (including the Ohio River, which connects Columbus to the Mississippi), the installation emphasizes the relentless infrastructures controlling the Mississippi’s landscapes, communities, and resources.

Join us for Watershed Weekend (October 21-22), and the public program entitled Voicing Our Mississippi which will explore how people from across this broad ecological and cultural geography might be empowered to collectively question past methods of control and power.

Click here to share and read stories from across the Mississippi River watershed.


Derek Hoeferlin, Team Lead
Nate Stanfield
Joel Leon
Weicong Huang
Qianshan Hu
Lindsey Compeaux
Gregory Cuddihee, Shop Technician

Mississippi River Basin Atlas Team

Paul Wu
Jess Vanecek
Chenyu Zhang

Sponsorships and Grants

Washington University in St. Louis
Sam Fox School Creative Activity Research Grant
“The Divided City” Mellon Foundation Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship
Walter B. Kromm Endowed Internship

Columbus Pump House
Harrison Albright, 1903

The Columbus Pump House was designed by Harrison Albright in 1903 as a new and improved facility on the site of the Water Works in Columbus. Five decades later, a new filtration plant was completed and the building was sold for use as a workshop, falling into disrepair shortly after. In 1973-74, artist Jean Tinguely used the building to construct the kinetic sculpture Chaos I, which included parts provided by Southern Machine, and was installed as part of the new Commons and Courthouse Center. A year later, local architect James K. Paris converted the building into a senior center, and in 2016 it was restored and redeveloped by Moravec Realty for use by the Upland Brewing Company. Today, the Pump House maintains its relationship with the city and the surrounding natural features.

Derek Hoeferlin is associate professor and chair of the landscape architecture and urban design programs at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. He teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level multidisciplinary approaches to architecture, landscape, infrastructure, and urbanism. He collaboratively researches integrated water-based design strategies across the Mississippi, Mekong, and Rhine river basins through his design-research project "Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture," the focus of his book (Applied Research + Design Publishers, 2021). Derek is principal of [dhd] derek hoeferlin design, an award-winning architecture, landscape, and urban design practice.

Watch this ten-minute video by Derek Hoeferlin, who presents and describes the design concept for his installation, Tracing Our Mississippi. Hoeferlin is a University Design Research Fellow, a participant in the 2021 Exhibit Columbus Exhibition New Middles. This is a previously recorded and archived event, view more on our YouTube channel.