If that wasn’t enough, on October 5, 1950 an estimated 17-30 million gallons of oil leaked into the water, settling on the creek bed and seeping into the soil underneath local communities. The spill continues to burn underground to this day and is estimated to course below 55 acres of Greenpoint residential, commercial and industrial property; affecting hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses. This has all contributed to the creeks overall failure as a natural ecosystem.
Half way through my first semester of research, Super-storm Sandy hit the tri-state area. It destroyed everything in its path and left me and my family out of our home for a month. It also left me with a totally new direction for my thesis project. The effect the tremendous storm surge had on the Newtown Creek was devastating. The biggest problem became the endless impermeable surfaces adjacent to the water’s edge. Along with that, deteriorating bulkheads in this fragile zone act to “shut out” the water and its dynamic natural cycles, such as tidal fluctuations and the occasional storm surge impact. This led me to look at a similar issue - the increase in the frequency of strong storms caused by global climate change. It was clear that I examine opportunities in this extremely vulnerable zone for a series of building interventions that work with the land and water in new ways.
One of the goals of my project was to not just simply have a building as a final product, but to also change the way people live and interact with the water. I wanted to create a series of spaces along the water’s edge that would engage local residents and invite them to learn more about it. It became sort of a participatory design project as I began to walk along the water’s edge, connect with local residents and attend social events in Greenpoint. I learned that many of the people that live there don’t know about the negative effects storm surges can have on their communities. In this way, creating a sense of resilience not only as a physical and architectural buffer zone but also as a new type of mindset is extremely important. It almost suggests a paradigm shift in the way we live in coastal communities.
Also here is an article written about what I call, "Extreme Weather Architecture"