Manhattan’s East River Park, home to sprawling fields, winding bike paths, and a landscaped promenade, was badly damaged when Hurricane Sandy tore through the city in 2012 and the Lower East Side flooded. Since then, New York City officials have been brainstorming ideas to protect the park, along with the remainder of Lower Manhattan, from rising seas. The city’s latest proposal calls for burying the existing East River Park under 10 feet of landfill, before building a new one from scratch, according to The New York Times. This differs from the original plan, which aimed to push back the flood walls from FDR Drive toward the East River along the water’s edge, shielding the highway and large swaths of the LES from rising floodwaters. The meticulously-thought-out design, which took over four years to assemble, was only the first link in a series of barriers around Lower Manhattan known as the “Big U.” In September 2018, with no community input and to the dismay of inner-city residents, the city announced that the entire plan was being rejected in favor of the new project. The new, $1.5 billion proposal is not only significantly more expensive than its $760 million predecessor, but it will also destroy all trees, plant life, and infrastructure that currently exists within East River Park. Both the park’s field house and running track, which was recently revamped at a cost of nearly $3 million, will be buried beneath the soil, while the fate of the site’s historic amphitheater remains unknown. The latest plans will preserve one thing in the area: traffic. To construct the Big U, the city would have had to shut down one lane of FDR Drive every night for five consecutive years. By burying the park with landfill and soil that is delivered by barge, the new plan will cause little to no traffic disruptions. According to the Times, while local residents feel as though they are not receiving a fair trade, Parks Department commissioner Mitchell J. Silver claimed that, with the East River expected to rise over two feet within the next 30 years, burying the existing park to build a more elevated one is the only way to save the land. The new plan is scheduled to launch in March 2020, with flood protection barriers implemented as soon as 2022, though local residents are still doubtful as to whether or not the city will complete the project on time due to its history of construction delays.
Posts tagged with "BIG U":
In Manhattan, there are two things we keep seeing everywhere: WeWork and Bjarke Ingels. From its signature coworking office spaces to an elementary school, WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann seems intent on infiltrating every aspect of people’s lives. According to WeWork’s blog, the plan “starts with every space for every member and scales to every building in every city.” Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is also cropping up around NYC (quite literally as the BIG U will encircle downtown Manhattan) as well as VIA 57 West, Two World Trade, 40th Precinct Police Station, the Spiral at Hudson Yards, and the Eleventh. With all of this in mind, it seems inevitable that the two would team up for dual domination: WeWork has hired Ingels as its first “chief architect.” Ingels will continue to lead his offices out of Copenhagen and London as he creates more WeWork spaces. “WeWork was founded at the exact same time as when I had arrived to New York. In that short amount of time – the blink of an eye at the time scale of architecture–they have accomplished incredible things and they are committed to continuing their trajectory to places we can only imagine. WeWork’s commitment to community and culturally driven development is perfectly aligned with our active, social and environmental agendas. As WeWork takes on larger and more holistic urban and architectural challenges, I am very excited to contribute with my insights and ideas to extend their community-oriented vision to ground-up buildings and urban neighborhoods,” Ingels said in a statement. His first task will be to transform the former Lord & Taylor building into WeWork’s new headquarters. He is also working on the aforementioned school, WeGrow. As Fast Company reported, Neumann and Ingels have a shared, confident vision:
“I [Neumann] said, ‘Give me your favorite building.’ “He [Ingels] said, ‘I don’t have one favorite building because of the design-by-committee situation. I get one or three amazing original ideas that I’ve been working on for a decade in a building, but there were seven other ideas that were not exactly mine.’ “I said, ‘I want all your best ideas in one building.’ “He said, ‘If someone actually allowed me to do it, I could design the perfect office building or perfect residential building.’ “I said, ‘Perfect, that’s a big word.’ “He said, ‘No one’s ever given me a shot.'”Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
On Friday, Rebuild By Design (RBD) hosted a conference at NYU to check in on the progress on the region's ten coastal resiliency projects. Landscape architects, engineers, architects, and government officials representing the six initial winners and four finalists spoke on behalf of their team's ideas. Although each project is different in scale and scope (factors which correlate, not surprisingly, to the level of funding that each received), and all are at different phases of implementation, projects from Bridgeport, CT to Hoboken, NJ reflect a desire to build back, but better: Plans enhanced oceanfronts, baysides, riverbeds, and low-lying areas with graywater remediation, waterside parks, berms with bicycle paths, and oyster beds, and other amenities to enhance both resiliency and waterside quality of life. Consistent challenges emerged, too. Foremost was the challenge of implementing projects that require input and approval from multiple government agencies with varying jurisdictions and priorities. Community engagement is key to each project, with many teams noting that initial designs were modified in accordance with the input of property owners, business leaders, and residents. Construction on the first phase of the projects is expected to be complete by 2022. Although each project will undoubtedly make its area more resistant against 100-year floods, the most ambitious projects were the buffer of berms and floodwalls on Manhattan's shoreline that stretches from East 25th Street around the southern tip of the island, and Living Breakwaters, a series of wave-breaking rock-and-oyster-colony formations placed off the south shore of Staten Island. Carrie Grassi, deputy director for planning at the NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency spoke first about the Manhattan-based project. (formerly known as the BIG U). The project has two phases: Firstly, the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), whose team is led by AKRF with design and planning input from ONE, (RBD competition winners) BIG, and Mathews Nielsen. Secondly, the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project, or Two Bridges, led by AECOM and Dewberry, with design and planning by ONE and BIG. Grassi noted that the team wanted to make phase one, 2.5 miles of waterfront, and waterfront-adjacent space, primarily for people to enjoy: "We want to create something that we can live with for the 99 percent of the time that we aren’t flooding." One of the challenges of implementing the ESCR was establishing an unprecedented joint task force between Community Boards 3 and 6. At public input sessions, residents asked that designs focus incorporating the berms into bridges, like at the Delancy Street pedestrian bridge, near where the Williamsburg Bridge touches down in Manhattan. Plans also called for kiosks and vendors under the FDR Drive overpass near Stuyvesant Cove; residents were worried that the darkened area would be uninviting during the winter months, so the design was modified. “All of these conversations were about tradeoffs," Grassi explained. "[We considered] the community's priorities and what was needed to advance the project and make decisions.” The draft scope of work is out, and a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being developed. Next steps include "drilling down on the design," and the environmental and land use review, although the design leaves the opportunity for additional bridges to be constructed at a later date. $335 million of the project's funding comes from HUD's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program and $170 million in capital funds from the city. Construction is expected to begin in June 2017. The Two Bridges portion is being financed with an additional $176 million (CDBG-NDR) and $27 million from the city. Alex Zablocki, a senior program manager at the NYS Governor's Office of Storm Recovery and Pippa Brashear, director of planning and resilience at SCAPE/Landscape Architecture, closed the presentations with updates on Living Breakwaters, a stormproofing plan for the South Shore of Staten Island. SCAPE's design calls for network of submerged and partially-submerged concrete-and-recycled-glass breakwaters that will be planted with oysters. Living Breakwaters, Brashear explained, creates double resiliency by both mitigating the impact of shore-bound waves and "enhancing ecology" through natural water filtration (the project is partnering with the Billion Oyster Project, an initiative to re-seed oyster beds in the New York Harbor). To SCAPE, the strategy was not about keeping water out through walls and barriers, but about reducing the impact of flooding in the vulnerable Tottenville neighborhood. https://vimeo.com/91648619 Plans call for a rocky habitat shoreside with semi-enclosures for kayaking. The video above, from 2014, explains the coastal interventions in-depth. Between winning the RBD competition in 2014 and now, SCAPE has surveyed the coastline—above and underwater—extensively, and construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2017.
The City of New York has selected AECOM to lead the design and build of coastal resiliency measures for Manhattan, formerly known as the Dryline (and before that, BIG U). The project team includes Dewberry, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and ONE Architecture. BIG and ONE provided the original vision for the 10-mile-long project, and are working on the project's Lower East Side component (Phase 1). That phase, which should be complete by 2017, runs from Montgomery Street to East 23rd Street. That (fully funded) $335 million initiative incorporates parkland and recreational space into and over berms and heavy-duty flood barriers in the East River. Starr Whitehouse collaborated with the firms on the landscape design. AECOM and Dewberry New York–based firms responded to a request for proposals issued by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The duo's design will encircle the lower Manhattan waterfront for around 3.5 miles, from Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side, around the island's southern tip, to Harrison Street in Tribeca. The project is expected to cost more than $1 billion, Crain's reports. New York State Senator Chuck Schumer secured $176 million in federal funds for the project, while the City has set aside $100 million in capital funds last year, on top of an earlier $15 million contribution. There's no renderings yet available of AECOM and Dewberry's design, but AN will keep you updated as the project progresses.
New York City will receive $176 million in federal funding for disaster recovery. The funding would be put towards a section of the project extending from the northern portion of Battery Park City to Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side. The money is part of $181 million in funding for recovery projects in New York and New Jersey. The funds came from the National Disaster Resilience Competition, a U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development–sponsored competition to rebuild communities affected by natural disasters, The New York Times reports. The BIG–designed East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (scaled down, but known in former incarnations as the DryLine or the BIG U) calls for sea walls, retractable flood barriers, and grass berms that would double as riverside recreation areas, opening up the waterfront to create a shoreline comparable to the recreation-rich shores of Manhattan's West Side. The East Side Coastal Resiliency Project arose from Rebuild by Design, a 2014 competition to solicit ideas for six large-scale flood protection and resiliency measures in the tristate area. Rebuild by Design awarded New York City $335 million in federal funds for the East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street section. Mayor de Blasio has committed $100 million in capital funding to the project already.
Eavesdrop> The BIG in Big Apple: Rumors say Bjarke Ingels planning several more New York City towers
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is off the rails lately, netting commission after commission. Five years ago, BIG set up shop stateside to supervise W57, the "courtscraper" along the West Side Highway—the firm's first New York City project. They have since collected an impressive portfolio of planned projects, and AN hears there's more on the way. It is almost unreal to hear rumors about another possible tower in Tribeca, a second westside project near the High Line, and an Upper East Side supertall tower in the pipeline. BIG could have seven large projects that would come to fruition in the next decade or so. Talk about a BIG Apple! W57, meanwhile, is well under construction. At 126th Street, BIG's project in Harlem (now in design development) would cantilever over Gotham Plaza on 125th Street. The building allegedly contains mostly studios and one-bedrooms, and there are approximately 233 total units—47 of these will be affordable. The project formerly known as the Dryline or "BIG U" is being implemented, with modifications, as the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCRP). BIG U called for ten unbroken miles of flood protection in Manhattan, from West 57th Street, looping south to the Battery and up the East River to 42nd Street. When AN checked in on the project this October, BIG U was scaled back due to funding constraints. The $335 million ESCRP will create retractable flood barriers, berms, and floodwalls in the East River from Montgomery Street to East 23rd Street. Construction is slated to begin in 2017. BIG was one of the last starchitecture firms to get a High Line commission. Good things come to those who wait: the two tower HZF High Line project, at Eleventh Avenue and 17th Street, feature 300 apartments (most with two and three bedrooms), 50,00 square feet of ground floor retail, and a three-level, 150,000-square-foot hotel. The 38 story (402 feet) western tower will its 28 story (302 feet) sibling tower to the east. The towers are expected to be complete by 2018. The stepped, 1,340-foot-tall Two World Trade Center is in design development. When it opens in 2020, it will make a dramatic impact on the skyline from all angles. If King Kong decides to terrorize Manhattan again, he'll have the perfect building to climb.
New York City is getting serious about future superstorms with $100 million to fund floodwater mitigation
On August 27th, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYC Office of Resilience & Recovery announced plans to spend $100 million to fortify lower Manhattan against future superstorms. The latest proposal calls for green spaces, levees, and floodwalls to protect the area from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street, and around the northern tip of Battery Park City. https://vimeo.com/117303273 This is on top of $15 million pledged in March 2015 for flood prevention in the area. To further capitalize the project, the city is leveraging its $100 million dollar investment as it enters the HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition in the hopes of gaining up to $500 million to finance flood protection in the target area. All current storm and floodwater mitigation efforts are a part of OneNYC, the city’s $20 billion global warming resiliency plan. Lower Manhattan is the target area because of its vulnerability to flooding during superstorms. The objective is to combine flood protection with accessible parkland for the affected neighborhoods. Of special concern is the storm readiness of NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) complexes, including the Alfred E. Smith Houses on St. James Place, which were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Initially, a submission from the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) branded dually as the BIG U or the Dry Line, was selected as one of six winning projects for 2013's Rebuild by Design competition. Sponsored by HUD, the Municipal Art Society, the Van Alen Institute, and other regional stakeholders, Rebuild by Design asked firms to envision how New York City and the region could protect itself against extreme weather. In the proposal, BIG U covered a more extensive area—from West 54th Street, to Battery Park, and up to East 40th Street—and envisioned more intensive modifications to the built environment. Rebuild by Design initially awarded $335 million to the project. The adapted plan draws on BIG U's guiding principle of small but powerful interventions that fit the scale of the neighborhood and activates public space, but the scale of the project will be reduced to meet the city's budget. Heather Fluit, from HUD Public Affairs, told AN that she couldn't comment on whether BIG's design will remain in any future project. "We've closed the book on that competition," she said. The final plan will be determined by the size of the grant received from HUD. The Office of Recovery & Resiliency is preparing a round-two proposal for the Disaster Resilience Competition. HUD is expected to share grant winners and funds allocated to each of the chosen submissions by January 2016.