Far Rockaway, New York, USA
Neeraj Bhatia, Carly Dean, Alicia Hergenroeder, Jonathan Negron, De Peter Yi
Finalist, Comprehensive Coastal Communities Competition
Arvene East is unique site in that it is one of the few locations in Far Rockaway that has a visual connection from the elevated rail to the ocean. In examining the fabric north and south of the site, obstructions including protective sand dunes, an elevated boardwalk, dense housing blocks, and the elevated train separate the communities from the ocean. The ramifications of Hurricane Sandy have the potential to further disconnect the site from the water through mechanisms of flood mitigation. Instead of perceiving water as something to defend against, how can it be repositioned as a performative feature that connects across the obstructions currently on the site? Taking the logic of the stabilizing rock jetties, this proposal nests a series figures to augment the existing coastline. The figures engage the water, functioning as groynes and breakwaters that also offer seasonal programs, stabilize the coast, and concentrate wave action and associated energy capture. A second set of figures carve into the coast to create connections between these segmented layers and allow the water into the site in a controlled manner. The coast — instead of a static and separated line — is reconceived as an accommodating surface, activated by differing levels of water that incite various programs calibrated to daily and seasonal conditions. The figures within the coastline offer a legible yet continually transforming identity to the community as water levels fluctuate. The surface of the water becomes a cultural, programmatic, and performative urban element.