The Pru & Louis


A Living Lab for a Warming World

The Ryan Resilience Lab is a global model for coastal resilience, designed to teach the world’s coastal residents and businesses how to respond as sea levels rise.

How to Get Involved with the Ryan Lab

Not only does the Lab showcase sustainable living in flood-prone areas, it’s an epicenter for environmental research, community events, and even the arts. Explore what the Ryan Lab has to offer and come see it for yourself!

Where to Find Us:
4610 Colley Ave, Norfolk, VA 23508

We'd Love to See You at the Lab

Take the Tour!

Join us for a tour of this remarkable new facility and an eye-opening exploration of how sea level rise will affect us all. Check out cutting edge green building practices and systems – floating docks, green roofs, solar arrays, rainwater capture, and much more. See sustainability best practices in action and learn about the “planned retreat” that will allow the river to retake the site as sea levels continue to rise.

Built with the future in mind

Explore the Lab's Green Systems

The Lab is designed to withstand elements that will destroy many other structures around it. But the materials and solutions used aren’t out of reach for other builders and homeowners. Rain-absorbing landscaping, pervious paving, adaptable floodproofing, floating storage buildings – these are affordable solutions for structures that are built to last.

Merging art, education and science

Upcoming Programming & Events

The Ryan Resilience Series – our eclectic assortment of on-site events, art exhibits and workshops – is designed to bring the community together to explore climate and environmental issues from many perspectives. Click below to see what’s coming up and get details on how to attend.

A Living Lab for a Warming World

The new Ryan Resilience Lab explores, displays and models key concepts and approaches that will lead the way to a more sustainable future:

Adaptation To A Changing Climate

Building and site designs incorporate elevated structures, floating docks, and on-site energy production through solar arrays and battery backups with a goal of net zero energy use.

Features To Absorb Flooding

Living shorelines, rain gardens, pervious paving and green roofs to reduce stormwater runoff, rain barrels and cisterns to collect rainwater, and “gray-water” re-use in the building are all on display.

Energy and Environmental Resilience

Designed for energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprint, from recycled material usage to solar panels to high-efficiency lighting, including “sunlight harvesting” strategies.

Cultural Resilience

Signage, displays and ERP staff educate visitors on resilience features and strategies while art exhibits inspire and public parks and green spaces offer new ways to experience the Elizabeth River.

Planned Retreat

With sea level rise projected to overtake the facility in 30-50 years, it’s built to be progressively preserved before ultimately succumbing to the river – an groundbreaking model for homeowners and developers.

Louis Ryan’s Love of the Water Helped Us Do Something Beautiful

Louis Ryan and his wife Pru were the lead donors for the Ryan Lab. Without their generosity and passion for environmental stewardship, we never could have completed this magnificent building.

Play Video
View A Message from Louis →

“Developing on-land solutions to rising tides and rising sea level is not just a case of trying to make it more inhabitable for human beings. It’s also a case of making the land more friendly to the river.”


The Elizabeth River Project

In the News

Youth Water Monitoring Results

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