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FAR ROC Rocks!

On 10.23.13, the organizers of the FAR ROC: For a Resilient Rockaway gathered in Far Rockaway to unveil the winner of the design competition for the development of a resilient and sustainable community at Averne East. The winning proposal, “Small Means and Great Ends” by White Arkitekter in collaboration with Arup and Gensler, was announced by Ron Moelis, chariman and CEO of L+M Development Partners and Steven Bluestone, partner at the Bluestone Organization.

The FAR ROC competition jury met with the four finalists – Ennead Architects, Lateral Office, Seeding Office, and White Arkitekter – at the Center for Architecture on 10.22.13 to view final Phase II proposals. After considerable and protracted debate over the relative merits of the ideas presented by the finalists, the jurists selected the proposal by White Arkitekter, represented by CEO Monica von Schmaiensee, as the winner, and bestowed an honorable mention to Ennead Architects’ proposal, “F.R.E.D.: Fostering Resilient Ecological Development.”

The FAR ROC competition, organized by NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, Enterprise Community Partners, Bluestone Development, L+M Development, and the AIA New York Chapter’s Committee on the Environment, asked for ideas for developing Averne East, an 80+ acre site in Far Rockaway, into a new mixed-use, mixed-income community that would be both sustainable and resilient. It will lead to the construction of more than 1,200 units of resilient housing on the oceanfront site.

At the announcement on site today, AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, praised the work of all four teams and noted how the project proposal by the White Arkitekter/Arup/Gensler team “addressed the context of the Rockaways while also serving as a replicable site analysis that could work equally well in other locations and other lands.”

According to the firm’s presentation booklet, the design aims to create an integrated solution that positions the Averne East community to provide leadership throughout the project’s development. The proposal’s name, “Small Means and Great Ends,” alludes to its focus on small, affordable, and smart interventions. Relying on a series of small interventions as opposed to a one-package solution allows for a step-by-step approach to reconstruction, providing room for testing, adjustments, and redesign. Comprehensively, these interconnected strategies are meant to rise beyond mere resiliency to a level that the firm refers to as “antifragile.” This holistic approach provides a framework to guard against socioeconomic challenges along with natural disasters. “We are very excited about that fact that we have a Swedish firm coming to work with a local community. Sweden has a strong background in community development, and we are looking forward to seeing what they bring to Far Rockaway,” commented juror Ilana Judah, Int’l. Assoc. AIA, OAQ, LEED AP BD+C, Director of Sustainability and Senior Associate of FXFOWLE.

The AIA New York Chapter would like to congratulate all four finalists for their creative and insightful proposals. According to Judah, “The jury was impressed by the caliber of the proposals by all four finalists. We saw consistent themes around not only environmental resiliency, but also community and economic resiliency.”

Event: FAR ROC Competition Winner Announcement
Location: Beach 35th Street & Spray View Ave., Far Rockaway, NY
Speakers: White Arkitekter AB; RuthAnne Visnauskas, HPD Commissioner, AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA; Ron Moelis, Chairman and CEO, L+M Development Partners; Steven Bluestone, Partner, Bluestone Organization; Shola Olatoye, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Partners
Organizers: NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, Enterprise Community Partners, Bluestone Development, L+M Development, and the AIANY Committee on the Environment