clock menu more-arrow no yes

Hurricane Sandy Made These Buildings Overhaul Their Designs

View as Map

Hurricane Sandy's long tail spurred architectural innovations and design competitions aplenty, but the storm also inspired developers and architects currently at work on projects in flood-prone areas to alter their plans to protect their as-yet-unbuilt work against the wrath of future storms. From two prominent West Chelsea condo buildings to a low-income project in the Rockaways to a rental in Alphabet City, here's a map of all these new projects have girded themselves for the next Sandy?and how they did it. Know of any others we didn't include? Leave them in the comments, or let us know via the tipline.


· Five Design Innovations Sparked by Hurricane Sandy [Curbed]
· Mapping the Post-Sandy Improvements to NYC Beaches [Curbed]
· All Hurricane Sandy coverage [Curbed]
· The Aftermath archive [Curbed]

Read More

1. Bloom 62

Copy Link
62 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009

Developer Ben Shaoul bought up the old Cabrini nursing home for $25.5 million last fall, negotiating the purchase when Sandy hit. Though the site at East Fifth Street and Avenue B didn't flood—a rep said the water "stopped right at the front steps"—Shaoul decided to tap architecture and interior design firm Montroy Andersen DeMarco to help modify the conversion plans so that the building could withstand future storms. The main tactic involved moving boilers, which are one of the most expensive parts of a building's infrastructure, to the roof. In June, the building was reborn as Bloom 62, chock-full of luxury rentals that have an average rent of $5,052/month.

2. 560 West 24th Street

Copy Link
560 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011

Developer Adam Gordon, best known for admired re-dos of Manhattan buildings like 54 Bond Street and 92 Jane Street, is tackling his first ground-up condominium project at 560 West 24th Street. Designed by architect Steven Harris, construction of the 11-story structure with eight "family-friendly" full-floor and duplex apartments, clocking in at an average of 3,300 square feet apiece, is proceeding, with the whole thing is set to be complete around April 2014. There's a teaser site, and the ground-level retail space will include a "blue chip" art gallery. In the design phase once the hurricane hit, Gordon and Harris brought on Montroy Andersen DeMarco to advise them on ways to adjust their plans accordingly. Modifications included extending the foundation walls nine feet above the ground, which is above FEMA’s newly proposed 50-year flood mark. The technical details: "Resting on piles socketed into the bedrock, the concrete, sealed 'bathtub' foundation has been designed to prevent any water penetration and is frequently used in sites with continuous underground water flows (pictured). ... Preventing water from entering the property through the openings was the next step in the flood mitigation design process. ... The FastLogs stackable flood barriers will protect both doors and windows. The system features stackable 'logs,' or six-inch-high aluminum sections, which during flood emergencies can be quickly inserted into preinstalled steel angles, called jamb brackets, on columns located on the sides of each door. Compression seals made of high-density, closed-cell neoprene sponge prevent leakage between logs, wall jambs, and a floor surface with steel embedments. When there is no danger of flooding, the logs can be stored away nearby." In the basement will live a six-sided concrete vault that will protect the utilities from flooding. As a back-up, there will also be a rooftop generator, "powerful enough to sustain life-safety systems, hallway lights, and selected lights and electrical outlets in each residence."

3. 551 West 21st Street

Copy Link

Even starchitects like Norman Foster has to prepare for the next Sandy. His new West Chelsea condo building at 551 West 21st Street, with its 44 apartments, most priced between $5.75 million and $17.5 million, except for the penthouses, which will be $35 million and up, is totally storm-ready. Hurricane Sandy has, in fact, significantly affected the site's design. Instead of a glass curtain wall that was originally planned for the building, the first five or six feet of the facade will have a waterproof concrete wall (covered with something a little more ornamental so as not to hurt the eyes of passersby) and what developer Scott Resnick describes as "essentially a bathtub around the perimeter" of the building. The roof will have an emergency generator. And the building entrances will have portable metal barriers that can be put in place before storms.

4. Whitney Downtown

Copy Link
820 Washington Street
New York, NY 10014

When Hurricane Sandy hit last October, the construction site of the new Whitney Museum filled with 6.5 million gallons of water. Thankfully, work hadn't progressed that far, and museum officials realized they needed to rethink their plans to incorporate some serious flood protection measures in the Renzo Piano-designed building. They include putting the art handling division on the fifth floor, rather than in the basement like at most institutions. The museum will have an aluminum and steel barrier that can be quickly assembled around the perimeter, and the entire northern glass wall will be waterproof. The loading dock and west entrance will have watertight doors, created by the same folks who build watertight hatches for the Canadian Coast Guard and offshore oil rigs. Total cost of these flood protections? $20 million.

5. Seaport City Site

Copy Link
Gouverneur Lane
New York, NY
(800) 533-3779
Visit Website

Let's not forget about Seaport City, the Bloomberg-proposed elevated neighborhood just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, modeled after Battery Park City. Granted, it's not a reality yet, and the only progress made has been to tap a Dutch firm for a feasibility study. But During the unveiling of the mayor's myriad post-storm proposals, he insisted on its necessity: "It's an idea that deserves careful attention and further study, which will begin immediately."

6. Ocean Village

Copy Link
146 Beach 59th St
Arverne, NY 11692

After Sandy struck, L+M Development Partners closed on Ocean Village, a low-income housing complex with hundreds of empty units on the Rockaway peninsula. The development took on several feet of water during the storm and had all mechanicals completely wiped out. L+M gave new life to the ailing beachfront buildings with some innovative designs meant to overhaul and upgrade all of the 1,093 apartments and common spaces. New roofing and insulated siding have been added, the electrical systems have been elevated, and a more natural and less concrete outdoor space is meant to help withstand future storms. The yard will also contain more porous surfaces and be planted with salt-tolerant native species and 300 new trees.

1. Bloom 62

62 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

Developer Ben Shaoul bought up the old Cabrini nursing home for $25.5 million last fall, negotiating the purchase when Sandy hit. Though the site at East Fifth Street and Avenue B didn't flood—a rep said the water "stopped right at the front steps"—Shaoul decided to tap architecture and interior design firm Montroy Andersen DeMarco to help modify the conversion plans so that the building could withstand future storms. The main tactic involved moving boilers, which are one of the most expensive parts of a building's infrastructure, to the roof. In June, the building was reborn as Bloom 62, chock-full of luxury rentals that have an average rent of $5,052/month.

62 Avenue B
New York, NY 10009

2. 560 West 24th Street

560 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011

Developer Adam Gordon, best known for admired re-dos of Manhattan buildings like 54 Bond Street and 92 Jane Street, is tackling his first ground-up condominium project at 560 West 24th Street. Designed by architect Steven Harris, construction of the 11-story structure with eight "family-friendly" full-floor and duplex apartments, clocking in at an average of 3,300 square feet apiece, is proceeding, with the whole thing is set to be complete around April 2014. There's a teaser site, and the ground-level retail space will include a "blue chip" art gallery. In the design phase once the hurricane hit, Gordon and Harris brought on Montroy Andersen DeMarco to advise them on ways to adjust their plans accordingly. Modifications included extending the foundation walls nine feet above the ground, which is above FEMA’s newly proposed 50-year flood mark. The technical details: "Resting on piles socketed into the bedrock, the concrete, sealed 'bathtub' foundation has been designed to prevent any water penetration and is frequently used in sites with continuous underground water flows (pictured). ... Preventing water from entering the property through the openings was the next step in the flood mitigation design process. ... The FastLogs stackable flood barriers will protect both doors and windows. The system features stackable 'logs,' or six-inch-high aluminum sections, which during flood emergencies can be quickly inserted into preinstalled steel angles, called jamb brackets, on columns located on the sides of each door. Compression seals made of high-density, closed-cell neoprene sponge prevent leakage between logs, wall jambs, and a floor surface with steel embedments. When there is no danger of flooding, the logs can be stored away nearby." In the basement will live a six-sided concrete vault that will protect the utilities from flooding. As a back-up, there will also be a rooftop generator, "powerful enough to sustain life-safety systems, hallway lights, and selected lights and electrical outlets in each residence."

560 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011

3. 551 West 21st Street

New York, NY 10011

Even starchitects like Norman Foster has to prepare for the next Sandy. His new West Chelsea condo building at 551 West 21st Street, with its 44 apartments, most priced between $5.75 million and $17.5 million, except for the penthouses, which will be $35 million and up, is totally storm-ready. Hurricane Sandy has, in fact, significantly affected the site's design. Instead of a glass curtain wall that was originally planned for the building, the first five or six feet of the facade will have a waterproof concrete wall (covered with something a little more ornamental so as not to hurt the eyes of passersby) and what developer Scott Resnick describes as "essentially a bathtub around the perimeter" of the building. The roof will have an emergency generator. And the building entrances will have portable metal barriers that can be put in place before storms.

4. Whitney Downtown

820 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014

When Hurricane Sandy hit last October, the construction site of the new Whitney Museum filled with 6.5 million gallons of water. Thankfully, work hadn't progressed that far, and museum officials realized they needed to rethink their plans to incorporate some serious flood protection measures in the Renzo Piano-designed building. They include putting the art handling division on the fifth floor, rather than in the basement like at most institutions. The museum will have an aluminum and steel barrier that can be quickly assembled around the perimeter, and the entire northern glass wall will be waterproof. The loading dock and west entrance will have watertight doors, created by the same folks who build watertight hatches for the Canadian Coast Guard and offshore oil rigs. Total cost of these flood protections? $20 million.

820 Washington Street
New York, NY 10014

5. Seaport City Site

Gouverneur Lane, New York, NY

Let's not forget about Seaport City, the Bloomberg-proposed elevated neighborhood just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, modeled after Battery Park City. Granted, it's not a reality yet, and the only progress made has been to tap a Dutch firm for a feasibility study. But During the unveiling of the mayor's myriad post-storm proposals, he insisted on its necessity: "It's an idea that deserves careful attention and further study, which will begin immediately."

Gouverneur Lane
New York, NY

6. Ocean Village

146 Beach 59th St, Arverne, NY 11692

After Sandy struck, L+M Development Partners closed on Ocean Village, a low-income housing complex with hundreds of empty units on the Rockaway peninsula. The development took on several feet of water during the storm and had all mechanicals completely wiped out. L+M gave new life to the ailing beachfront buildings with some innovative designs meant to overhaul and upgrade all of the 1,093 apartments and common spaces. New roofing and insulated siding have been added, the electrical systems have been elevated, and a more natural and less concrete outdoor space is meant to help withstand future storms. The yard will also contain more porous surfaces and be planted with salt-tolerant native species and 300 new trees.

146 Beach 59th St
Arverne, NY 11692