Nestled within Queens, along the eastern shores of New York City, the Rockaway peninsula stretches out for 11 miles and has a history extending as far back as the early 1800s. Starting off as a vacation destination for those wishing to escape city life, the area soon developed into a middle-class community. On October 19th, 2012, Rockaway residents suffered through Hurricane Sandy which struck its shores and left the community victim to downed electrical wires and over 100 destroyed homes in Breezy Point. For those most affected by the storm, some suffered from damage assessed at over $20,000, thus setting back an already struggling community.
Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the Rockaways created a need for new waterfront development that could address and solve the challenges of an “at risk” flood zone. Hoping to find new and innovative solutions towards this problem, a competition was organized and released in April for architects and engineers to design a storm-resilient community. While focusing on housing developments at Arverne East (A 80+ acre site at the Rockaways), the parameters of the competition are also intended to promote new employment and recreational opportunities in the area as the entries are expected to strike a balance between built and natural environments while following new coastal flood zone guidelines established post-Sandy.
The FAR ROC Design Competition brought in 117 design proposals from over 20 countries. On July 17th , four finalists were chosen and represent an international interest in the plight of Arverne East. The finalists, are New York City based firm Ennead Architects and their team “F.R.E.D.”, Canadian group Lateral Office’s from Toronto with a team titled “Rockaway Rising”, the third team “Far Rockaway” was brought together by Seeding Office which was founded in London, and Swedish group White Arkitekter and their team “Small Means and Great Ends”. Each team was given a cash stipend of $30,000 in order to research and develop the next phase of their projects. In October, they will be expected to present their final proposals in hopes of being chosen in time for Hurricane Sandy’s one year anniversary on October 24th.