After Superstorm Sandy hit, a number of design-related organizations started looking at how to deal with the design challenges of building in this kind of environment. The American Institute of Architects, Architecture for Humanity, Make It Right Foundation, and the St. Bernard Project's Designing Recovery competition was described as:
...a residential design competition that will have real-world impact on the lives of families who have been struck by disaster. The goal of this competition is to solicit housing designs that are environmentally responsible, affordable, and buildable. This competition is not only about replacing what was lost, but building back better.
Three sites (New Orleans, Joplin, Queens) were selected and the winner for the Queens, New York City site is SustainableTO. It's described in Architect Magazine:
The Resilient House for New York has a layout that orients living spaces towards the sun, and minimizes interior partitions. Structurally insulated panels allow for a tightly sealed and highly insulated building enclosure. Combined with a highly efficient ventilation system and upgraded windows, these design elements project to a 30% reduction in annual energy consumption. The house will be built above the floodplain with a flood-proof foundation to ensure natural disasters will not affect the structure. By using traditional construction methods and equipment, this dwelling can be built for less than $50,000 in material cost.
The house is built from structural insulated panels, with enough insulation and passive design features that it can remain habitable without operating utilities.
Architect Paul Dowsett is certainly happy about the award:
“We’re very proud and grateful for this acknowledgment, “said Paul Dowsett. “We’ve designed a house that is sustainable, affordable, comfortable and appealing – which, when built, will help a community solve a major issue,” he added.
Though one couldn't blame him for being a bit blazé; He is on a roll, having also won the Passive House for New Orleans competition two years ago, shown on TreeHugger here.