Architect Jim Garrison was given a pretty straightforward brief from the City of New York: rebuild and rebuild fast. Garrison was commissioned to replace the 50 lifeguard stands and beach-side buildings that were completely wiped away by Hurricane Sandy last October. Not only that, but the new buildings had to be ready to open on Coney Island, Rockaway and Staten Island by Memorial Day 2013.
Garrison and his team at Garrison Architects worked 16 hour days to come up with the design for the new flood resistant, eco-friendly zero energy modular units. The buildings will use photovoltaics, solar hot water heating, and skylight ventilation as well incorporate the boardwalks torn up by Sandy as wooden siding. Taking into account new FEMA guidelines, the structures will stand above the storm surge levels to ensure safety during the next storm.
These are buildings that are not simply replacing ones wiped out by a historic storm, but seeking to stand up to the next one. Garrison designed the modular buildings to be able to ‘deal with these enormous storms and can live beyond them.’
He sees modular buildings, as a potential answer to how to rebuild after a natural disaster. Modular structures are built off-site, easy to install and more permanent than the usual disaster relief temporary trailers and could be used to rebuild whole neighborhoods. Garrison told Co.Exist:
Next time it hits, can we mobilize [modular design] as disaster housing? And I mean good stuff–not FEMA trailers that make people sick, stuff people can really live in for the long term? This is a way to build in an era of congestion, ecological challenges, and the need for permanence.