A team of Swedish architects has won a competition to design a new storm-proof Far Rockaway community.
White Arkitekter, based in Stockholm, will design the mixed-use, mixed income development on an 80+ acre City-owned site called Arverne East.
The company’s designs were selected from over 100 submissions from 20 countries in the FAR ROC competition as the best for building a sustainable and storm-resilient community that will meet the new physical and regulatory challenges of waterfront development while still being affordable.
“With our Scandinavian approach, we believe we can strengthen and enrich the beautiful community and provide the opportunity for the community to realize their dreams,” said Sander Schuur, architect, White Arkitekter.
The largest architectural practice in Scandinavia, White Arkitekter partnered with the New York offices of ARUP and Gensler for their submission, which incorporates a series of small, affordable smart interventions that center on three strategies: reduce and control damage; provide access in the event of a storm; and ensure quick recovery.
Entitled “Small Means & Great Ends,” the design aims to not only better weather future natural disasters, but also to create a stronger socio-economic environment―moving beyond resilience and becoming “antifragile”, where both the design and community benefit and improve after enduring stress.
“Instead of backing away from the shoreline, we took the lessons learned from Sandy as an opportunity to assess our vulnerabilities and move ahead with smarter, more resilient waterfront development,” said RuthAnne Visnauskas, commissioner of the city’s Housing & Preservation Department, which sponsored the design competition with L+M Development Partners, the Bluestone Group, and Triangle Equities, along with Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., and the Committee on the Environment of the AIANY.
“At Arverne East we want to create a new neighborhood that is storm resistant, sustainable and which addresses the community’s affordable housing needs. With our FAR ROC competition we sought powerful ideas from some of the best architecture and engineering practitioners in the world. Congratulations to White Arkitekter for their winning innovative design. I look forward to seeing the future of our waterfront take shape right here in Arverne, starting with a new neighborhood that is as beautiful as it is resilient, livable and affordable.”
L+M, Bluestone and Triangle Equities are the designated Arverne East developers. They helped form a steering committee to organize the FAR ROC competition and inspire creative solutions to the new challenges of waterfront communities such as the Rockaway Peninsula, which was particularly hard-hit by the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
“The inspired and talented design submissions we received are a tribute to the enormous potential of the Rockaways, and we’re excited to implement White Arkitekter’s innovative ideas in our development of Arverne East,” said Ron Moelis, chairman and CEO of L+M Development Partners.
“This announcement marks an important step in our continued commitment to the Rockaways—which includes the redevelopment of neighboring Ocean Village, a 1,093-unit complex—and to a stronger and more resilient New York City.”
Steve Bluestone, a partner of The Bluestone Organization, added, “The competition finalists have proven via their well thought out and carefully researched plans that several paths exist for us to build a state-of-the-art, resilient, sustainable, and successful waterfront community. The experience of working with and watching this competition take place from day one has been an extremely gratifying experience for me personally. We all look forward to seeing the final results successfully serve to improve the quality of life for both the residents and the visitors of the Rockaways soon.”
White Arkitekter received a $30,000 prize and the opportunity to engage with the City, L+M Development Partners, the Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities to discuss its ideas for the possible production, design and construction of the site. Final development plans may also incorporate concepts generated by the other three finalists, as appropriate. The property will be developed as a mixed-use, mixed income property with at least 20 percent of the units set aside as affordable to help address the growing needs of the Rockaway community.
New York-based firm Ennead Architects was recognized by the jury for Leading Innovation in Resilient Waterfront Design. Their design, “Fostering Resilient Ecological Development,” or F.R.E.D., addresses the complex Arverne East site through the implementation of a flexible kit of parts. Comprised of an integrated system of dunes, piers, and housing clusters, the design creates a solution that is not only practical given the economic and physical constraints of the Rockaways, but also replicable for low-lying coastal communities up and down the Atlantic seaboard.
The other two finalists were:
· Lateral Office, a Toronto, Canada-based experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism. Their design, “Rockaway Rising,” seeks to capitalize on the unique characteristics of the Arverne East site by revisiting the bungalow typology and re-envisioning the relationship between city and beachscape, while also enabling resiliency to varying storm events.
· Seeding Office, a London-based architectural practice deeply focused in exploring, studying, investigating and discussing everything that concerns the way people live in their built environment. The “Far Rockaway” proposal implements an iconic and over-arching boardwalk that connects urban and natural elements, weaving together nature preserve, beach, residential neighborhoods, commercial development, and mass transportation in a cohesive urban fabric