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White Arkitekter wins “For a Resilient Rockaway” (FAR ROC) Design Competition
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 |

Breaking news from New York City today: the team of Swedish firm White Arkitekter has won the two-phase "For a Resilient Rockaway" (FAR ROC) design competition at the Arverne East site in the Rockaways. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), L+M Development Partners, The Bluestone Organization, Triangle Equities, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise) made the announcement earlier today. The competition jury chose the winner among four finalists, selected from a pool of 117 submissions from more than 20 countries. The winning team also included members from ARUP and Gensler.

Winning FAR ROC Phase 2 design by White Arkitekter, Stockholm, Sweden: Coffice

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Winning FAR ROC Phase 2 design by White Arkitekter, Stockholm, Sweden: Coffice

From the official press release:

"Launched in April, the FAR ROC competition sought ideas for developing an 80+ acre City-owned site called Arverne East into a new mixed-use, mixed-income, sustainable and storm-resilient community that will meet the new physical and regulatory challenges of waterfront development while maintaining the balance between innovation and affordability."

White Arkitekter: View from pier

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White Arkitekter: View from pier

"“We are very excited about winning the FAR ROC competition. And we are looking forward to working with the community, the developer, and the City of New York to realize a new home for the community to celebrate life,” said Sander Schuur, architect, White Arkitekter. “With our Scandinavian approach, we believe we can strengthen and enrich the beautiful community and provide the opportunity for the community to realize their dreams.”"

White Arkitekter: Street view

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White Arkitekter: Street view

"Based in Stockholm, Sweden, White Arkitekter is the largest architectural practice in Scandinavia and combines leadership in sustainability with high quality architecture and urban design. The firm partnered with the New York offices of ARUP and Gensler for their submission, which incorporates a series of small, affordable, and smart interventions that center on three strategies: reduce and control damage; provide access in the event of a storm; and ensure quick recovery. Entitled “Small Means & Great Ends,”  the design aims to not only better weather future natural disasters, but also to create a stronger socio-economic environment―moving beyond resilience and becoming “antifragile”, where both the design and community benefit and improve after enduring stress."

White Arkitekter: ”Small Means and Great Ends” concept.

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White Arkitekter: ”Small Means and Great Ends” concept.

"Additionally, New York-based firm Ennead Architects was recognized by the jury for Leading Innovation in Resilient Waterfront Design.  Their design, “Fostering Resilient Ecological Development,” or F.R.E.D., addresses the complex Arverne East site through the implementation of a flexible kit of parts. Comprised of an integrated system of dunes, piers, and housing clusters, the design creates a solution that is not only practical given the economic and physical constraints of the Rockaways, but also replicable for low-lying coastal communities up and down the Atlantic seaboard."

Phase 2 design by Ennead Architects, New York, NY

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Phase 2 design by Ennead Architects, New York, NY

"The other two finalists were:

Lateral Office, a Toronto, Canada-based experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism. Their design, “Rockaway Rising,” seeks to capitalize on the unique characteristics of the Arverne East site by revisiting the bungalow typology and re-envisioning the relationship between city and beachscape, while also enabling resiliency to varying storm events."

Finalist Phase 2 design by Lateral Office, Toronto, Canada

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Finalist Phase 2 design by Lateral Office, Toronto, Canada

"Seeding Office, a London-based architectural practice deeply focused in exploring, studying, investigating and discussing everything that concerns the way people live in their built environment. The “Far Rockaway” proposal implements an iconic and over-arching boardwalk that connects urban and natural elements, weaving together nature preserve, beach, residential neighborhoods, commercial development, and mass transportation in a cohesive urban fabric."

Finalist Phase 2 design by Seeding Office, London, UK

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Finalist Phase 2 design by Seeding Office, London, UK

"The winning design and the final submissions of the other finalists can be found at www.farroc.com/solutions.

White Arkitekter received a $30,000 prize and the opportunity to engage with the City, L+M Development Partners, the Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities to discuss its ideas for the possible production, design and construction of the site. Final development plans may also incorporate concepts generated by the other three finalists, as appropriate. The property will be developed as a mixed-use, mixed income property with at least 20 percent of the units set aside as affordable to help address the growing needs of the Rockaway community.  

“Instead of backing away from the shoreline, we took the lessons learned from Sandy as an opportunity to assess our vulnerabilities and move ahead with smarter, more resilient waterfront development,” said HPD Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. “At Arverne East we want to create a new neighborhood that is storm resistant, sustainable and which addresses the community’s affordable housing needs. With our FAR ROC competition we sought powerful ideas from some of the best architecture and engineering practitioners in the world. Congratulations to White Arkitekter for their winning innovative design. I look forward to seeing the future of our waterfront take shape right here in Arverne, starting with a new neighborhood that is as beautiful as it is resilient, livable and affordable.”

“The inspired and talented design submissions we received are a tribute to the enormous potential of the Rockaways, and we’re excited to implement White Arkitekter’s innovative ideas in our development of Arverne East,” said Ron Moelis, chairman and CEO of L+M Development Partners. “This announcement marks an important step in our continued commitment to the Rockaways—which includes the redevelopment of neighboring Ocean Village, a 1,093-unit complex—and to a stronger and more resilient New York City.”  

“The competition finalists have proven via their well thought out and carefully researched plans that several paths exist for us to build a state-of-the-art, resilient, sustainable, and successful waterfront community. The experience of working with and watching this competition take place from day one has been an extremely gratifying experience for me personally. We all look forward to seeing the final results successfully serve to improve the quality of life for both the residents and the visitors of the Rockaways soon,” said Steve Bluestone, a partner of The Bluestone Organization and sponsor of FAR ROC.  

“White Arkitekter’s visionary shorefront design demonstrates that innovation and practicality go hand in hand in making a resilient Rockaway a reality,” noted Shola Olatoye, vice president and New York market leader of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a sponsor of FAR ROC. “FAR ROC was a unique opportunity to take a national disaster like Superstorm Sandy and transform how we think about design and construction to minimize the damage from future storms, better protect public investments in housing, and ensure that Far Rockaway families have quality, safe, and enduring homes. We thank the finalists, the 117 extraordinary project teams who applied, and our partners HPD, L+M Development Partners, The Bluestone Organization, Triangle Equities, and AIANY for advancing the conversation about resiliency and sustainability in waterfront development.”

“The FAR ROC competition produced exciting concepts from architects around the world that will not only guide resilient and sustainable waterfront development in New York, but also inspire smart design in other coastal areas around the world,” said Rick Bell, FAIA, the AIA New York Chapter's Executive Director. “The winning project proposal by the team led by Stockholm-based White Arkitekter AB is viable, buildable and contextual—the type of development that creates a sense of place.”  

“In all five boroughs, New York is rebuilding and preparing for the risks of extreme weather, using innovative and resilient measures to protect coastal communities like those in the Rockaways,” said Dan Zarrilli, New York City’s Director of Resiliency. “Combining the right mix of coastal protection, homes, and infrastructure built to higher flood standards with vibrant urban design is critical to building resilient communities. We look forward to seeing how the innovative ideas developed in this competition can help achieve that.”  

“The goals of the FAR ROC competition is consistent with the goals of successful long term housing recovery - which is to not just to repair and rebuild, but to rethink and redesign our coastal communities so they are stronger and safer than ever," said Brad Gair, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations.

The extensive damage to low-lying waterfront communities caused by Hurricane Sandy reinforced the need for resilient infrastructure and innovative strategies, especially in existing coastal regions throughout the greater New York area. FAR ROC was organized to inspire creative solutions to the new challenges of waterfront communities such as the Rockaway Peninsula, which was particularly hard-hit by the effects of the storm. It asked applicants to identify and explore solutions for new housing, employment, and recreational opportunities at the Arverne East site, an 80+ acre City-owned site that experienced significant surge inundation during Hurricane Sandy. Ideally, the winning design concepts would be practicable and replicable and able to serve as a guide for long-term planning and development strategies for waterfront communities in New York City and densely populated shorefront areas elsewhere.  

Phase I of the competition called for site plans, along with specific resilient development strategies, smart infrastructure strategies, and proposed use for any facilities on the site that would overcome the environmental and financial challenges of flood-prone areas. Among 117 submissions, four finalists were chosen and awarded $30,000 each to further develop their proposed design solutions. In addition, they participated in an orientation, a tour of the Arverne East site in the Rockaways, a community engagement workshop funded by the Surdna Foundation, and a full-day charrette. Innovative submissions from individuals, students and non-licensed firms were welcomed during Phase I; however, finalist project teams in Phase II were required to include at least one licensed architect and one licensed engineer.   

FAR ROC is jointly sponsored by HPD, the team of L+M Development Partners, the Bluestone Group, and Triangle Equities, along with Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., and the Committee on the Environment of the AIANY. L+M, Bluestone and Triangle Equities were designated by HPD through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop Arverne East. The team proposed an engaging neighborhood development plan that incorporated a mix of uses, including retail, recreational, commercial, and residential development. A Steering Committee consisting of officers from these organizations worked to create the competition, its guidelines and parameters. The Committee also selected a panel of independent jurors made up of community leaders and stakeholders, industry experts, and others to evaluate the finalists’ submissions and select the winning entry."



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