In response to the MOMA PS1 Rockaway 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.