Public outrage has prompted the American Institute of Architects‘ New York chapter to cancel their controversial tours of the new Rockaway beach buildings that were scheduled on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Originally included as a highlight in the third annual Archtober, a month-long architecture celebration in New York, the event was withdrawn after State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder called the idea “despicable.” The recently completed “flood-proof” pods, which were built to be more resilient replacements for lifeguard stands and bathrooms that were destroyed during Sandy, have been under fire lately after they started showing early signs of disrepair.
Earlier this year, the multi million-dollar prefab beach buildings were proudly introduced as a beacon of hope and sustainability. Designed by Garrison Architects, the flood-proof, eco-friendly modular units were purportedly designed to withstand the test of time as well as future storms. Inhabitat even made a visit to the promising futuristic pods this summer. Just one month later, however, DNA Info reported that the modular units were already showing signs of rusting and leaking mere weeks after being installed; the damage was such that duct tape was even being used to secure railings.
Assemblyman Goldfeder, a representative of the Rockaway area, spoke out against the tour. Many local residents who felt that they were not included in the design process already considered the multimillion-dollar lifeguard relief stations as a sore spot and that a paid tour would only add insult to injury. “They’re making a profit on a project that was forced down the community’s throat, disguised as recovery,” Golfeder said. “It’s disgusting. It’s just another slap in the face to a community that has struggled to recover.”
AIA had scheduled the tour on October 29, Sandy’s one-year anniversary, to show off the area’s resilience and the “smart and forward thinking” units. Tickets for the tour originally appeared on the online luxury retailer Gilt City, which sold two passes for the hour-long tour for $11.
Via DNA Info