1. Adapting coastal cities to climate change through resilient design
As New York started to rebuild after the storm, the President’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force unveiled Rebuild by Design.
It was an initiative that called on architects and planners to submit proposals to make New York more resilient against rising sea-levels and catastrophic storms.
Among the proposals is OMA’s “Urban Catalyst,” a project that would build a hard wall along the airport terminals of JFK to prevent choking flights during a storm, and give the residents of Queens a safe, dry urban refuge.
Also of note, SCAPE/LANDSCAPE Architecture’s “Living, Growing Breakwaters,” which seeks to reduce wave energy by 32%, clean coastal waters, and offer broader ecological education by reinstating natural oyster habitats.
Bringing off-the-grid architecture to the city
The term “sustainable architecture” is open to interpretation. In the United States, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is perhaps the most commonly used framework to measure a building’s impact on the environment.
While its implementation may make a structure greener, LEED has also been blamed for greenwashing—utilizing practices and products that claim to improve sustainability but that have not been proven to do so.
This year, however, we saw a slew of architects take sustainability into their own hands. Forget traditional rating systems, 2013 was all about going off the grid.
The phrase “off the grid” is quite literal: It means these buildings are not connected to the power grid or sewer systems.
There is no need for trash collection and removal, and building materials are often harvested locally—making it beneficial for the environment and your wallet.
New skyscrapers and development projects
As Michael Kimmelman noted in a recent New York Times article, “Exceptional height should be earned, not just bought. Let community groups and city agencies weigh in . Developers might also give something back for the profits reaped as they leverage public assets like parks. They could pony up for affordable housing and improved transit.”
More low and mid-rise affordable housing solutions
A new building typology arose nearly 40 years ago that sought an alternative for public housing, as the need for better living conditions and space grew.
Incorporating more light, open space, and a closer connection to the ground, this practice became known as low-rise high-density, and reached its prominence in the 1970s with the Marcus Garvey Park Village in Brooklyn.
This past year, RKTB Architects & Urban Designers built the Monsignor Anthony J. Barretta Apartments in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, an exemplary model of low-rise high-density public housing.
In eight buildings, 64 units were built for very low-income tenants that qualify for Section 8 assistance.
The apartments were built with the intention for LEED-certification, maintain a close connection to the street and surrounding resources, and show a concerted effort to improve the living conditions of New York’s often overlooked outer boroughs.
Progressive approach to the damaged infrastructure
In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck San Francisco, leading to irreparable damage of the city’s Embarcadero and Central freeways. But, rather than rebuilding the two major arteries, San Francisco took a progressive approach to the damaged infrastructure that ensured a more pedestrian-friendly city: they tore them down.
Since their demolition, the surrounding neighborhoods that were previously cut-off from one another by the elevated highways started to slowly stitch themselves back together through the building of public parks, pedestrian walkways, and bicycle routes.
Landscape architecture students Erik Jensen and Justin Richardson proposed dismantling the 280 freeway, leaving behind the concrete pylons to create a “cultural field” of murals, sculpture, and community art, while leftover concrete would be used to create a buffer for rising sea levels.
In August, St. Louis, Missouri also followed suit, breaking ground on an elevated park over I-70, connecting downtown neighborhoods to the St. Louis Arch and riverfront area.
News link: architizer.com