White arkitekter wins FAR ROC international design competition

One year after Hurricane Sandy took its toll on New York, Swedish architectural practice White arkitekter, along with partners ARUP and Gensler, have been announced winners of an international two-phased design competition to redevelop the waterfront of Queens which was particularly hard-hit by the effects of the storm.

The FAR ROC [For a Resilient Rockaway] was launched in April 2013 by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development to solicit creative ideas for resilient development strategies, to be implemented initially on an 80+ acre site on the Rockaway Peninsula, Arverne East, as well as providing a blueprint for future redevelopment along the coastline.

White arkitekter’s competition submission, one of 117 international entries, was a collaboration with Arup and Gensler and was shortlisted along with schemes by practices in the USA, Canada and the UK.

The winning scheme, “Small Means and Great Ends”, proposes a series of interconnected small-scale interventions with multiple functions that together form a resilient network designed for extreme environmental conditions. The proposal acknowledges the forces of extreme weather and future uncertainties, creating a landscape that interacts and does not counteract, relating to the forces ‘like a surfer to the waves’.

The extensive programme ranges from hurricane resiliency strategies, such as artificial islands to reduce the impact of forceful waves, to housing, a variety of public and commercial amenities, retirement homes, large landscaped parks and other characteristics that combine to make an attractive and sustainable neighbourhood.

The community of Arverne East and its resilience is at the heart of the scheme.

Sander Schuur, Project Architect, White, said:
”Arverne East is a place with a strong identity. Thousands of residents of Arverne East lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy. But the disaster also led to a stronger sense of community in the area. The essence of White’s proposal is to channel the residents’ involvement and provide them with new tools to act and react in the community’s interest. With our Scandinavian approach, we believe we can strengthen and enrich the community and provide the opportunity for the community to realize their dreams.”

The announcement was made in New York, midday Wednesday 23 October, to an invited audience including all finalists.

Shola Olatoye, vice president and New York market leader of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a sponsor of FAR ROC, said:
“White Arkitekter’s visionary shorefront design demonstrates that innovation and practicality go hand in hand in making a resilient Rockaway a reality”.

Monica von Schmalensee, CEO of White arkitekter, said:
“This is a clear acknowledgement of White arkitekter’s strength in creating sustainable solutions from a broad perspective with a strong social agenda”.

White’s winning scheme will be showcased alongside the other finalists in a public exhibition at the AIA New York Center for Architecture, 6-30 November 2013.

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Notes to Editors:
• You can read about the competition and download the original brief at www.farroc.com

• The competition attracted 117 entries from 20 countries.

• The other three finalists in the two-stage design competition included:
• F.R.E.D. | Ennead Architects | New York, NY, USA
• Rockaway Rising | Lateral Office | Toronto, Canada
• Far Rockaway | Seeding Office | London, UK

• The jury comprised
• Steven Bluestone, Partner, The Bluestone Organization
• Alexander J. Felson PhD, RLA, Assistant Professor, Yale University
• Brad Gair, Director, NYC Office of Housing Recovery Operations
• Ilana Judah, Co-chair, AIA New York COTE
• Holly Leicht, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Parks
• Ron Moelis, CEO & Chairman, L+M Development Partners
• Dolores Orr, Chairperson, Queens Community Board #14
• Rafael Pelli AIA, LEED AP, Partner, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
• Richard Plunz, Professor, Columbia University
• Donovan Richards Jr., Council Member, District 31, New York City Council
• Byron Stigge, Director, Level Infrastructure
• Katie Swenson, Vice President, Design Initiatives, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.
• RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner, NYC Housing Preservation & Development

White arkitekter
With over 60 years experience in architecture and masterplanning, White arkitekter is Scandinavia’s leading architectural firm and, with around 600 employees, one of Europe’s largest. White’s expertise encompasses architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and interior design with an emphasis on making sustainable architecture that contributes to building a sustainable society.

The internationally acclaimed sustainable city developments of Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm and at the Western Harbour in Malmö demonstrate the practice’s commitment to, and innovation within, the field of sustainability.

In the UK the practice recently completed The Royal Pavilion, Southend Pier, which won a 2013 RIBA East Award.