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Competition Launched to Develop Stalled Rockaway Site

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Several competitions and exhibitions have cropped up focused on rebuilding and sustainable design in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The latest, unveiled at the Center for Architecture today, came together in less than two months and involves a long-stalled site in a "distressed and somewhat ignored" area, in the developer's words, of the Rockaway Peninsula. The more-than-80-acre site in question, Arverne East, was designated for development by L & M Development Partners, Triangle Equities, and the Bluestone Organization seven years ago, but the financial crisis brought the plans grinding to a halt. Following the storm, the developers are ready to resume work, but the old site plan no longer applies. Instead, the developers (and a bunch of other partners listed on the competition site) are seeking input from architects, engineers, interested members of the community, and pretty much anyone else in a two phase competition. The full details and competition brief are available on the official website.

Competition entrants must register (on the competition site) and submit their proposals by 5 p.m. on June 14; the first phase is completely anonymous. A jury of 10 to 13 people will choose four semi-finalists, to be announced on July 15, and each semi-finalist team will receive $30,000 to develop their proposals. (In the semi-finalist phase, any teams without licensed architects and engineers on board will have to acquire both.) Finalist submissions will be due October 7, and the winner, to be announced October 24, gets another $30,000 and the opportunity to be involved in the actual development of the site.

As for the site itself, the competition is intentionally light on guidelines so that the entrants will study what the community wants. "It would be very hard to just hire one team and know you have the best solution," explained Pat Sapinsley of AIA. Regardless of who wins, the ultimate site plan will need to be mixed-use, sustainable, "storm-resilient," and mixed-income. Nearby developments have already made progress in their storm-readiness in recent years?at Arverne by the Sea, for example, the earliest phases of the project suffered significant flooding during Sandy, but the later phases held up better thanks to higher elevations and better drainage and natural barriers, according to HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua. Arverne East is an opportunity to apply those lessons and stretch architectural techniques further.
· Official site: FAR.ROC [farroc.com]
· Hurricane Sandy coverage [Curbed]