The Museum of Modern Art invited Architecture Research Office and landscape architecture firm dlandstudio to re-imagine Lower Manhattan in response to rising sea levels as part of their 2010 Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront exhibition. Based on Architecture Research Office’s previous research into climate change’s impact on the city, the exhibition presents the work of five design teams who have each reinvented sites throughout New York City.
Our project proposes a new paradigm for ecology within the city by inserting a new ecological infrastructure that works in parallel with the city’s existing infrastructure. The proposal consists of two basic components that form an interconnected system: porous green streets and a graduated edge. Architecture Research Office’s new conception of a “street” will not only provide productive park space within the city, but will also create a network of absorptive green surfaces. On the edge of the island, three interrelated high-performance systems are constructed to block higher sea levels and mitigate storm surge force and flooding: a productive park network, freshwater wetlands, and tidal salt marshes. The above- and below-ground performance of the city can be supported by a newly integrated and mutually beneficial infrastructure.