This afternoon, The New York City Department of Housing and its partners announced the winner of the FAR ROC Design Competition for Resilient and Sustainable Development. The designed team from White Arkitekter, a Swedish firm, took the prize for their beach front design "Small Means and Great Ends." The winner was announced by Steve Bluestone of The Bluestone Organization and Ron Moelis, Chairman and CEO of L+M Development Partners, just a few days before the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
The competition challenged participants to create a resilient design model for an 81-acre site in Arverne East in the Rockaways. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), this area is at a particularly high risk of flooding. The Rockaways suffered heavy flooding and damage during Hurricane Sandy and the design entries must meet coastal flood zone guidelines.
White Arkitekter's design emphasizes small "interventions" that combine to disperse wind and water. A wide, V-shaped boulevard divides the area into three neighborhoods: a dense central section with apartments and businesses, an area with larger single family homes towards the west and a mixed neighborhood to the east.
The zigzag boardwalk disperses storm water and creates pockets for landscaping or leisure. Out in the water, a series of detached breakwaters will slow the energy of storm waves, the proposal explained:
"Detached breakwaters have no connection to the shoreline and let currents and sediment pass between the breakwater and the shore to form reduced wave energy. This encourages the deposition of sand on the lee side of the structure. By doing so detached breakwaters stimulate the buildup of sandy material that generates a drawdown or a lower water level which dissipates the forces of the sea in storm conditions."
The judging criteria looked at each proposal's resiliency, marketability, sustainability, contextual sensitivity and replicability. You can see White Arkitekter's full proposal here, along with the other runner-ups.
Four finalists were selected from among 117 design proposals. Each finalist received a stipend of $30,000 to further develop their design ideas. White Arkitekter wins an additional $30,000 and may have the opportunity to negotiate with the site's developers to see if the design could become a reality.