Matter Architecture Practice

Matter Architecture Practice

Brooklyn, NY

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2096 | Rockaway Call for Ideas Entry

We responded to this call for ideas considering as much the competition's medium for submission—a film three minutes or less—as the proposal for post SuperStorm Sandy inhabitance of New York's coast.

Inspired by Chris Marker's 'photo-roman' La Jetée, the proposal is told as a fictional story of a real place—a cycle of space and time where our future is also our past, achieved by letting it go.

The Narrator speaks a remembrance presented as being that of her daughter (now growing up in New York) in the year 2096, when she will be 90 years old. The image of this daughter as an old woman is one taken by the Narrator of her grandmother—or the daughter's great-grandmother - on a boat, in New York, when she was 90 years old. The daughter's recollected grandmother, appearing as a young girl with her sister, really is her grandmother—the Narrator's mother—taken on the beach in New York.


The latest hurricane evacuation maps issued by the City of New York underscore the extent to which the city is affected by rising tides and extreme weather. The magnitude can not be understated, and unlike urban regions elsewhere on the planet, it is only recently that civic thought has actively turned to the issue.

To conserve the current contours of New York, unaffected by any meteorological event, would require projects of such scale and scope they would be unsupported by current budgets or realistic time left. Our habitat is changing faster than we dare imagine. We've heard frustrations expressed: large scale proposals are impractical and only lead to cynical rebuilding in the same unsustainable manner, therefor being of no help to the affected communities. But it's arguably unrealistic for low-lying communities to insist on static inhabitation of the shore without reconsideration of essential meanings of permanence—as exampled by humanity's earliest coastal dwellers.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Rockaway, NY
Firm Role: Designers
Additional Credits: Matter project team:
Sandra Wheeler, Alfred Zollinger, Chelsea Crisafulli, Samuel Weston