Rising sea levels poses a threat to all cities around the globe that face waterfronts. NYC based architecture studio, DFA, see these threats as an opportunity to introduce new building designs that can cope and adapt to climate change.
According to reports by NYC Department of Environmental Conservation, New York City’s sea level is expected to rise 11-30 inches by 2050 and between 50 to 75 inches by 2100.
The vast majority of current buildings along NYC’s waterfronts are not designed to accommodate such changes in sea levels.
This is where DFA hopes to step in and provide fresh solutions. DFA’s has proposed designs for towers sitting on top of Pier 40 on the Hudson River. It is located at the west end of Manhattan right on top of the Hudson River Park. Pier 40 was zoned for exclusively entertainment and retail purposes, with half of the pier set aside for recreational purposes. Currently, Pier 40 serves as a parking garage and sports facility.
The need for this design proposal arose back in 2012 when NYC officials began to take notice of the repairs and improvements needed for the 15-acre floating structure.
With this in mind – DFA toke a very longer-term view with proposal designs for the future of the pier. Also taking into account NYC need for more affordable housing, it systematically designed a mix use structure with dedicated zones for recreation, affordable housing, retail, and public space.
The final designs feature a number of cylindrical towers ranging in height from 96 to 455 feet. The development would be built to act like a floating island that can withstand significant sea level rise and flooding. The units would be elevated above the anticipated storm surge levels.
The design also includes a set of pathways that connect different areas of the development. Some of these pathways would be built with the expectation that they will eventually be submerged under water over time. In which case the elevated pathways would act as a new way to get around.