John Kleinschmidt

John Kleinschmidt

Architect & Artist 
New Orleans, LA 

I seek to uncover hidden stories in strange sites and give measure to landscapes through a collaborative practice focused on interactive installations and printmaking.

Since 2010, I have been a partner with Andy Sternad in Shallow Studio, an art and architecture practice.

As an architect & urban designer, I engage fundamental questions of what it means to dwell – and build - on New Orleans’ unstable ground. My professional work with Waggonner & Ball Architecture & Environment is focused on designing buildings and environments for places facing the effects of climate change.

Drip: The Music of Water in New Orleans

Union Passenger Terminal
New Orleans, LA

With Andy Sternad
Water simultaneously sustains and threatens New Orleans, but it is hidden behind floodwalls and buried underground. Between river and lake, life depends upon a delicate balance between culture, economy, and natural systems. Drip reveals the mystery of water in New Orleans through just one sense: the sound of water.
In this interactive installation, sound-sensitive LEDs react to hundreds of field-recordings of water as well as noises made by visitors to create an environment that varies constantly between serene and chaotic, dim and bright. Sometimes the lights flicker for a single dripping faucet, and other times they flash wildly when a steamboat whistle punctuates a bustling oyster bar or a drawbridge in motion.
Drip was installed in an empty hall at the New Orleans Amtrak Station, and was commissioned by AIA New Orleans for DesCours, an annual art and architecture event sponsored by AIA New Orleans that highlights little-used and rarely-visited urban spaces. A version of Drip was later exhibited at the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center.

A Studio In The Woods
New Orleans, LA
Inside the levee protection system, seasonal fluctuations of the Mississippi River’s water level are a mystery. This installation traces a line marking the river’s 2017 high water mark in the trees around a pond in the bottomland hardwood forest at A Studio In The Woods – a landscape that once depended on seasonal flooding to sustain its ecology.


The Front Gallery
New Orleans, LA

With Andy Sternad
Flotant is floating land. In Southeast Louisiana, intertwined plants and roots produce a thick mass of organic material that floats on water, untethered but capable of supporting great weight – even small trees. This critical habitat nurtures biodiversity and can ride out hurricanes and seasonal floods
New Orleans itself rests on un-solid ground. It’s a soggy place - more “thick water” than land. Between river and lake, we must tread lightly to balance culture, economy and the environment.
This installation is a puzzle of interlocking pieces, each identical at first glance but which behave differently when visitors cautiously apply their weight.