New York City Identifies Four Semi-Finalists of Competition for Waterfront Design Innovations in Response to Superstorm Sandy

In an attempt to determine how best to design and build on the City’s waterfront areas exposed to future storms, a competition was announced by the City, together with a team of developers, in April 2013 to cultivate design development ideas for an 80 acre site in the Rockaways. In response, 117 design teams from around the globe submitted credentials and design ideas. On July 18th, four semi-finalist teams were announced including Ennead Architects (formerly Poshek Partners) of New York, Lateral Office of Toronto, Seeding Office of London, and White Arkitekler of London.

The competition, branded “FAR ROC”, has its genesis in the award by the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to a team of developers development rights to a 40-block, 80-acre area in Far Rockaway (Arverne East) in 2007. That project contemplated the development of 1000+ housing units by L&M Development, the Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities, but was stalled by the recession that hit in 2008. The revival of the project took place after Superstorm Sandy in the form of the FAR ROC competition.

In addition to the four semi-finalists, six honorable mentions were announced. Depictions of all their proposals are posted at the FAR ROC website here.

The HPD has indicated the project goal is to explore best practices in waterfront development and in particular to serve as a “proving ground for innovative and sustainable development solutions.” The Arverne East site will be appropriate for this challenge because it is located in a FEMA Flood Zone A, on beachfront section that experienced significant surge activity during Superstorm Sandy.

In addition to HPD and the developers, the competition is being guided by the AIA New York branch as well as a Steering Committee consisting of officers from the various organizations and other professionals.

The next phase (Phase II) of the competition requires further development of the semi-finalists schemes for submission on October 7, 2013. The participants will be allotted a fee of $30,000 for work on Phase II. The winning team will be paid an additional fee of $30,000 and the opportunity to engage with the City and the developers in a contract for design of the development of the project.

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