By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
New York—The WXY + West 8 Team has been chosen as one of 10 international teams that will take part in Stages 2 and 3 of “Rebuild By Design,” a design competition aimed at promoting resilience in the region affected by Hurricane Sandy. The announcement of the selection was made recently by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan.
The WXY + West 8 Team, led by Claire Weisz of WXY Architecture and Urban Design and Adriaan Geuze of West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, will focus on a category “Ecological and Waterbody Networks.”
The WXY + West 8 Team was chosen from an initial list of more than 140 firms expressing interest in the multi-stage competition in July.
Donovan established the Rebuild By Design Competition in June of this year, announcing two goals for the initiative. The first is promoting innovation by developing regionally scalable, but locally contextual solutions that boost the region’s resilience. The second goal is implementing selected proposals with both public and private funding dedicated to this effort. The competition also commits to set aside HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding to spur implementation of winning projects and proposals.
Design solutions ranging broadly in scope and scale are anticipated, from large-scale green infrastructure to more modest residential resiliency retrofits.
“The 10 teams we selected stood out because of the talent they bring to the table, their pioneering ideas and their commitment to innovating with a purpose and competing not just to design but to build something,” Donovan says. “The projects that come out of this competition will save lives and protect communities in this region and—as the Task Force will emphasize in the Rebuilding Strategy to be released in the coming weeks—serve as model as we prepare communities across the country for the impacts of a changing climate.”
Hurricane Sandy extended 1,100 miles in width, punishing the region with winds as high as 89 miles per hour. Though unique in her severity, Sandy’s impact on developed Eastern coastlines is increasingly becoming anything but unusual.
A regional scope is required of strategies if they are to adequately address the complexity of conditions, including widely varied settlements and distinct growth patterns, found across the region lashed by the devastating 2012 weather event.
Accordingly, the WXY + West 8 Team will work regionally, across political boundaries and beyond baseline protective measures, and is expected to draw inspiration from the expertise of West 8 and work by Arcadis in the Netherlands. There, hard science, robust engineering and infrastructure investment are integrated into pragmatic public spaces with multiple benefits across regions.
With a goal of determining specific sites for study, the WXY + West 8 Team will undertake a multivalent look at the outermost conditions of the Northeastern American Coastline, including its barrier islands, inlets, wetlands and riparian estuaries and the way they interact with settlements, towns and the largest cities.
The team plans to develop a series of prototypical transects running from the shoreline to hinterland, providing solutions adaptable at other Eastern Seaboard locations.