Post Superstorm Sandy

The events of late October 2012 have been both tragic and catalyzing. The superstorm, Sandy, wreaked havoc on the East Coast and inundated the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn (the building site for the ‘Timber in the City’ Competition). Water rose to approximately 15’ above the mean water line, and ranged from 3’-4’ above ground level at this edge of the city. However, the competition building site, located in New York City Evacuation Zone A (see NYC Evacuation Map), remains viable. Despite the cataclysm of Sandy, the neighborhood has begun a very slow but essential recovery. There are simply too many people, too many operating businesses, and too much industry located in this area for stagnation.

In this context, we suggest that competition participants consider the preparation (or lack thereof) that happened before the storm, the corresponding rise in water levels during the storm, and the recovery efforts initiated following the flood, as additional context for any innovative design proposal. We suggest that competition participants consider the events as a re-established context, and to investigate the opportunities in the technology of timber construction to address necessary resilience in the face of a changing urban and climatological environment. The repercussions of Sandy establish an additional layer of complexity related to the design.


  • NYC Evacuation Plan (PDF)
  • Guy Nordenson, Catherine Seavitt, Adam Yarinsky, On the Water: Palisade Bay, 2010, Hatje Catnz
  • Hurricane, Michael Oppenheimer et al, Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront, Museum of Modern Art, 2011
  • Google Sandy Crisis Map <>