bjarke ingels group proposes big U to protect manhattan from storm surges
all images courtesy of rebuild by design / bjarke ingels group
in the wake of hurricane sandy, bjarke ingels group (BIG) has detailed plans for a 10-mile ribbon to protect lower manhattan from future storm surges and natural disasters. after months of research and exhaustive public feedback, BIG are one of ten teams presenting proposals for different sandy-affected regions, part of an ongoing initiative entitled ‘rebuild by design‘. coined the ‘big U’, the systematic approach encircles manhattan responding directly to the needs and concerns of the area’s communities. running from west 57th street south to the battery and north to east 42nd street, the project defends the region’s low-lying and vulnerable topography.
in addition to shielding the city, the development offers social, environmental and economic advantages, establishing the waterfront as a valuable and engaging public realm. it is envisioned that three compartments function independently, comprising physically autonomous flood-protection zones that can be individually isolated. the compartments work in unison to protect and enhance the city, yet each area is designed to operate separately.
the battery berm weaves an elevated path through the park enhancing the public realm
the east and west boundaries of the battery were key inlets during hurricane sandy, allowing floodwaters to rush into lower manhattan and bring the nation’s financial district to a halt. the battery berm weaves an elevated path through the park enhancing the public realm while protecting the wall street and its surroundings. along this connected ridge, a series of upland knolls form unique landscapes where people congregate in landscaped public gardens.
the ridge provides pleasant and accessible routes into the park, with areas for resting and socializing
bridging berm offers robust vertical protection for the lower east side from both future storm surges and rising sea levels. the ridge also provides pleasant, accessible routes into the park, with areas for resting and socializing. both berms and bridges are wide and planted with a diverse selection of resilient trees, shrubs and perennials.
a maritime museum is to be constructed in place of the existing coast guard building
a maritime museum or environmental education facility, is to be constructed in place of the existing coast guard building. the form of which is derived from the flood protection at the water-oriented ground floor. this signature building features a ‘reverse aquarium’ which enables visitors to observe tidal variations and rises in sea level providing an effective flood barrier.
a ‘reverse aquarium’ enables visitors to observe tidal variations and rises in sea level
decorated by local artists, the panels create an inviting ceiling when not in use
between manhattan bridge and montgomery street, walls attached to the underside of the FDR drive can be deployed protecting the area from flooding. decorated by local artists, the panels create an inviting ceiling when not in use. at night, lighting integrated into the panels transforms a menacing area into a safe and secure destination.
walls attached to the underside of the FDR drive can be deployed protecting the area from flooding
‘any crisis represents a moment of great urgency but also great opportunity, as we learned from the recent success of the highline that combines a decommissioned piece of infrastructure – the abandoned elevated railway – with a layer of public space and green landscape. we asked ourselves: what if we could envision the resilience infrastructure for lower manhattan in a way that wouldn’t be like a wall between the city and the water, but rather a string of pearls of social and environmental amenities tailored to their specific neighborhoods, that also happens to shield their various communities from flooding. social infrastructure understood as a big overall strategy rooted in the local communities’, explained bjarke ingels.
see here for designboom’s previous coverage of the ‘rebuild by design’ initiative.
the systematic approach encircles manhattan, responding directly to the needs of the area’s communities
the project places a great emphasis on the region’s affected communities
the scheme establishes the waterfront as a valuable and engaging public realm
the masterplan comprises physically autonomous flood-protection zones that can be individually isolated
the BIG TEAM includes one architecture (water & urban planning), starr whitehouse (landscape architecture), james lima planning & development (finance & economics), green shield ecology (ecology), buro happold (engineering & sustainability), level infrastructure (engineering) and arcadis (hydrologichEngineering), AEA consulting (arts & cultural planning), project projects (graphic design), and the school of constructed environments at parsons the new school for design.
launched in the summer of 2013, the rebuild by design competition has produced regional, cross-disciplinary collaboration between state and local governments, international design teams, educational institutions, and the public. the competition is one of the initiatives of president obama’s hurricane sandy rebuilding task force, in partnership with the municipal art society, NYU’s institute for public knowledge, regional plan association, and van alen institute.
project: the big U – rebuild by design
type: federal competition
client: u.s. department of housing and urban development
collaborators: one architecture, starr whitehouse, james lima planning + development, level infrastructure, buro happold, arcadis, green shield ecology, aea consulting, project projects, school of constructed environments at parsons the new school for design
size: 1,000,000 sqm
location: lower manhattan, new york city, USA
partner in charge: bjarke ingels, kai-uwe bergmann, thomas christofferson
project leader: jeremy alain siegel, daniel kidd
team: kurt nieminen, sun yifu, dammy lee, jack lipson, david spittler, kenneth amoah, choonghyo lee, wesley chiang, david dottelonde, taylor hewitt, patricia correa velasquez
UPDATE: on june 2nd, 2014 it was announced that the BIG team has been awarded $335 million USD to increase storm resiliency in lower manhattan, protecting the city against future storm surges and providing social and environmental benefits to the local community.