MOMA PS1 Rockaway Call for Ideas Winning Proposal / Sorg Architects

  • 03 Jul 2013
  • by
  • mini Urban Design Urban Planning
Courtesy of

In response to the MOMA PS1 Call for Ideas, ‘The Water Dyke’ proposal, which was one of the selected entries, focused not only on rebuilding the boardwalk, but on creating the boardwalk as a community gathering place and a functional infrastructure to protect the shoreline. Designed by Sorg Architects, their concept of the Water Dyke is to harness water itself to retain a storm surge and thereby the shoreline from damaging floods.  More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Sorg Architects

Their challenge was to present innovative ideas to protect the coastline area of the Rockaways in New York City, which had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Unlike traditional dykes or flood walls that create hard barriers, the Water Dyke is a “soft” infrastructure solution to protect against increasingly powerful storm surges and flooding.

Courtesy of Sorg Architects

Traditional methods block views and access for people and cause major disruption to delicate ecosystems with large in-ground foundations and impassable walls. The Water Dkye, on the other hand, performs the same function but does not cut people off from the very thing that attracts them to the water front.  Similarly, the Water Dyke supports the natural environment by allowing free passage for wildlife and though a minimally invasive structural system.The Water Dyke prevents damage to urban infrastructure while restoring and protecting waterfront environments.

Courtesy of Sorg Architects

When water rises to dangerous levels, fabric bubbles underneath the boardwalk equipped with one-way valves capture the surging water and begin to fill up. As the bubbles inflate, the hinged boardwalk is lifted, creating a wall supported by the inflated bubbles that has harnessed the power of the storm surge itself.

site plan

The Water Dyke, as an environmentally friendly infrastructure solution to protect vulnerable coastal areas from damaging storm surges and flooding, employs a minimally invasive approach that remains sensitive to retaining and enhancing quality of life and enjoyment for our waterfront communities.

Architects: Sorg Architects
Location: Rockaway, New York, United States
Team: Suman Sorg, Craig Edwards, Matthew Davitt, Sehee Kim
Year: 2013
Photographs: Courtesy of Sorg Architects

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Cite: Furuto, Alison. "MOMA PS1 Rockaway Call for Ideas Winning Proposal / Sorg Architects" 03 Jul 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • non-engineer

    Dear Courtesy of Song architects,

    before proposing non-sense you could at least consult someone who could tell you anything about the forces that you need to hold up with your structure. To hold it with three cables seems a bit rediculous. Shame that such proposals still receive prices!