Nine finalists have emerged in the Boston Living with Water design competition. The ongoing initiative challenges competitors to address shifting climate conditions and sea level rise at one of three Boston sites anticipated to be affected by 2100. Although the 50 participating teams took different approaches to designing for climate change, all the submissions treated the rising sea level as a positive design force in Boston's built environment.
Maybe Sandy, the colossal hurricane that has barreled across the East Coast this week, will finally get the message across: "We are all from New Orleans Now."
Thanks to climate change, America's coastal cities, and particularly New York, have become increasingly vulnerable to nature's wrath. Over two years ago, MOMA asked five architects to come up with a redesign of lower Manhattan that would prevent damage in the event of major flooding. Barry Bergdoll, the Curator of the "Rising Currents" exhibit, put it to the architects this way: “Your mission is to come up with images that are so compelling they can’t be forgotten and so realistic that they can’t be dismissed.”
Unfortunately, they were. As the many images from traditional news sources and social media users reveal, Sandy's damage has been extensive - and perhaps, in many ways, preventable.
It often takes tragedy to instigate change. Let's hope that Sandy will finally get the conversation of New York's vulnerable urban landscape on to the table.
More images of Sandy's damage, as well as plans from MOMA's "Rising Currents" Exhibit, after the break...
Organized by MoMA and PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, the Rising Currents exhibit cannot be missed by architects, ecologists, or green enthusiasts…let alone any New Yorker. The exhibit is a cohesive showcase of five projects which tackle the lingering truth that within a few years, the waterfront of the New York harbor will drastically change. Dealing with large scale issues of climate change, the architects delve into a specific scale that we can recognize and relate to. The projects are not meant to be viewed as a master plan, but rather each individual zone serves as a test site for the team to experiment. The projects demonstrate the architects’ abilities to look passed the idea of climate change as a problem, and move on to see the opportunities it presents. Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA, explained, “Your mission is to come up with images that are so compelling they can’t be forgotten and so realistic that they can’t be dismissed.”