City / Nature Adaptive Edge

In a break from past patterns this proposal eschews the tendency of coastal development to build on the best and most beautiful plots of land, thus diminishing the value of natural systems and compromising many of the attributes that make these places desirable. In this case, more than 75% of the site is left undeveloped in order to preserve the continuity of the local ecosystem.

The development incorporates commercial and residential buildings, with a large nature preserve, wetland areas, and the public beachfront. By putting the main bulk of the buildings in a dense but open line along Edgemere Ave, the project intensifies both the urban character of the street and the natural character of the ocean ecology.

Layers of natural and infrastructural systems follow the east-west orientation of the site in a way that creates a soft barrier between the ocean, the residents, and the city street. A storm water trench on the ocean side of the linear apartment building serves as below grade parking as well as a reservoir for 67.5 million gallons of water. Buried electrical and data lines service the building and mechanical systems are raised high above grade.

The linear building creates a hard threshold: the urban on one side, the natural on the other, with the barrier between them amplifying and preserving each. The separation is important, but the thinness of the structure, and the regular openings through it, bring these two worlds into tantalizingly close contact.


Client: Proposal

Location: Far Rockaway, Brooklyn, NY

Program: Residential, Commercial, Nature Preserve, Recreation

Size: 86 acres

Collaborators: IAI

Team: Amir Karimpour, Gong Chenxi

Proposed on June 14th, 2013