When Hurricane Sandy roared across the eastern seaboard last October, Long Island was hit with devastating storm surges that wrecked thousands of homes. To help rebuild a stronger and more resilient LI community, NYIT's School of Architecture and Design teamed up with state officials to form a new organization called Operation Resilient Long Island (ORLI). In its latest call for action, ORLI organized the 3C Comprehensive Coastal Communities Competition to help spur new ideas about resiliency against future storms by creating new housing typologies. The competition drew in 60 design entries from 20 countries, and now NYIT is hosting an exhibit of the top 32 finalists. We got a sneak peek of the show, which was designed and installed by Austin Reed and Daniel Horn and picked out six of the most promising concepts - click through our gallery to see them all!
Operating in a similar fashion to a tide gauge, Esperanza Lucia Huerta’s Mantella Amphibious Housing concept uses the power of rising tides to elevate homes above the flood line. Instead of placing a home on top of stationary stilts that leave it hovering above the ground, Huerta’s concept home would sit on a dynamic platform of poles and a 98% air foam structure that rises with the sea level. At the same time, each house also has a floating wooden platform that doubles as a sidewalk during normal conditions as well as a floating dock during floods.
While raising a home eight to 12 feet could save it from any future flooding, simply throwing a house on some stilts can ruin the building and community’s original aesthetic. re(Adapt) by Eric Smith implements the idea of a raised home in a way that is hidden by a usable space underneath the house as well as a pair of well-placed stairs. Rather than fighting nature head-on, Smith believes the correct approach is to adapt homes with natural marsh plants to reduce saltwater flooding damage and permeable pavers on the driveway to reduce runoff.
On top of destroying homes, flooding waters can make it impossible for rescue workers or regular folks to get around their neighborhoods. When streets are flooded, homeowners are left stranded in their elevated homes with no way of reaching even their closest neighbor without a boat of some sort. Clement Fabre’s Comprehensive Transition design suggests a plan to create a cul-de-sac arranged neighborhood with elevated boardwalks to connect all the raised homes. The designers say the floating walkway will encourage neighbors to mingle and allow them to interact with each other when waiting for emergency rescue.
The two prevailing strategies to protect homes from flooding are home raising and pulling homes further away from the shore. But as you peel buildings back from the water’s edge you run into a lack of land problem. With less land to expand across, it seems almost obvious that we will have start building taller homes in the same way skyscrapers have led to vertical urbanization.
Adaptive Urban Habitats by Matthew Stoner is one such design plan that proposes this exact idea. Building on top of other buildings, Stoner’s concept envisions new flood-prepared homes that will be built on top of old neighborhoods – a bit like Venice. It’s also a concept that imagines that Red Hook and other parts of New York will become flooded over time with rising sea levels. Stoner illustrates that the streets will become canals and his plan also envisions raised sidewalks that will connect the buildings together through the back alleys of the blocks.
Hard-Core proposes a plan to reuse the Rockaway Boardwalk as an elevated platform for newly-built houses. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the boardwalk was one of the few structural elements left standing on the beach. Dany Durand-Courchesne, the mind behind Hard-Core, sees the boardwalk as a perfect base to build upon as it has already proven its resiliency to extreme natural forces. Of course these houses won’t just sit on the boardwalk, they will also be raised on their own set of stilts allowing beach goers to still use it as a wooden walkway and bike path, whilst providing the residences with an outdoor deck.
Storm proofing your home’s windows and ground floor is a taxing, expensive process that might not actually work in the event of a truly catastrophic storm. Yong Yoo has designed a house that’s already storm proof by design and he’s calling it Shut Up the House. With wooden panels that fold down and storm proof windows, the house essentially packs into a box ready for heavy winds and flooding. Although the ground floor is only raised three-feet off the ground, it was designed to allow floodwaters to pass through the house without damaging the rest of the building. As crazy as that sounds, the structure has a concrete floor that is supposedly easy to clean.
But wait, there’s more! This is just a small sampling of the flood-proof designs produced for the 3C competition. If you want to see the other 26 extremely well thought out and innovative designs, we suggest you head down to the New York Institute of Technology’s Manhattan Campus at 16 West 61 Street near Columbus Circle for the full exhibit. The exhibit is open right now and will be from Monday to Saturday, 10 AM to 7 PM until October 17.
If that’s not enough resilient architecture to float your metaphorical boat, NYIT will also be hosting a TEDxNYIT talk on October 10 starting at 9 AM with 14 architects about “the resiliency of resiliency.” Following the conference, ORLI will hold an opening reception for the exhibit to announce the competition winners.