In response to the declining role of industry in contemporary cities, planners and designers have been called upon to re-imagine urban waterfronts. Besides making these waterfronts easily assessable and programmatically engaging, one must design for the future and face the challenge of creating a protective barrier between the existing built environment and shifting environmental forces such as worsening storms and rising sea levels. Inspired by nature itself, my design parti for Rockaway Dunewalk attempts to mimic the very sand dunes and reefs that would still exist as a natural barrier between land and sea had mankind not imposed harsh infrastructure decades ago. Using sand and concrete conglomerates, this layered "dunescape" would be both aesthetically interesting and physically relevant as a raised protective barrier between land and sea. While its purpose would be to prevent water from destroying the already built environment, its materiality would be such that if and when the water claims it as its territory, it would seamlessly transform into a garden for the natural plants to overtake and animals to occupy. The design's most unique aspect are the raised beds that would harbor plant life while above sea level, and ultimately serve as oyster reefs that would simultaneously slow down the tides approaching shore and clean the water. The overall goal of this regenerative design is to protect and heal this environment in order to make it suitable for both wildlife and human occupation.
Location: New York, NY, US
My Role: Imagined and produced prototype