Brooklyn-based artist Robyn Rennee Hasty has teamed up with Jakitsch Gardner Architects to create Stilt City, an art residency program to be located in Rockaway Park. Design plans were unveiled as the program’s Kickstarter campaign kicked off in November in order to raise funds for the project. But Stilt City will provide more than just a vibrant atmosphere for emerging artists. In fact, the project’s organizers hope to encourage a new model for resilient renovation of Sandy-damaged buildings.
Although Stilt City will serve as an exhibition and community center, the project’s architectural team will implement resilient design strategies in the space’s vacant bungalow, which was severely flooded by the massive storm in 2012. Both Hasty and the architects chose the vacant bungalow for the project in order to show the community that heavily damaged and vacant buildings in the area can be repurposed.
Specifically, the design schematic of Stilt City calls for a number of alternative rebuilding techniques for structures that cannot be elevated in their current state. The architecture approach would implement a resilient, low impact design on the bungalow that would safeguard against future flooding. According to J/GA principal Mark Gardner, “Design has the potential to act or counteract to repair the social fabric … we had to frame the term ‘resiliency’ and understand that it is about social vulnerability as much as it is about the built environment.”
Accordingly, a number of resilient features will be implemented in the bungalow’s reconstruction, including replacing the hardscape with porous materials that will help with natural drainage and reduce erosion. Mold-resistant, marine-grade plywood would also be used in the reconstruction. Additionally, all mechanical equipment will be installed above the first floor and a sloped roof will create a loft area on the upper floor, providing extra storage space in case of another flood.
Additional features of the renovation plan call for a large roll-up door that will remain open during exhibition times and studio sessions. The aesthetic of the building will be frequently changing as participating artists will be able to install their artwork on the exterior of the building, converting the structure itself into a large canvas.