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January 25, 2016

NEW YORK, New York, January 25, 2016 – The Center for Architecture will present the research-based exhibition Structures of Coastal Resilience: Designing for Climate Change, opening on February 3, 2016 at 6:00 PM.

The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 has highlighted the effects of catastrophic storms and climate change on urban coastal areas. “The Center for Architecture is committed to showing how science and research must inform design in our vulnerable coastal communities,” stated Benjamin Prosky, AIANY and Center for Architecture Executive Director.

Structures of Coastal Resilience (SCR) is a research initiative developing performance-based designs for flood-prone North Atlantic urban coastal environments. SCR combines state-of-the-art hurricane storm surge and climate change science with a systematic approach to the design of natural and engineered coastal infrastructure, land use planning, and building regulations. SCR is organized by Guy Nordenson, engineer and professor at Princeton University’s School Architecture, and is supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.

SCR brings together engineers, scientists, architects, landscape architects, and scholars from the City College of New York, Harvard University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania. The four design teams have produced in-depth coastal planning and design proposals for four representative sites on the North Atlantic coast: Norfolk, VA; Atlantic City, NJ; Jamaica Bay, NY; and Narragansett Bay, RI. All are prone to recurrent coastal flooding and include socioeconomically vulnerable communities.

The design proposals are informed by the concurrent work of Princeton University’s climate and hurricane storm surge science team. This team has developed a hazard risk assessment using projected sea level rise and synthetic hurricane analysis to consider future storm scenarios under climate change, based on global circulation models. This research and the design proposals come together through mapping of projected magnitudes and probabilities of surge inundation at the sites. The performance of specific design strategies is evaluated for surges corresponding to a range of likelihoods in the typical fifty-year lifespan of a structure.

“SCR was conceived as a means of developing innovative methods and strategies to complement and influence the US Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS), initiated by Congress following Hurricane Sandy,” said Guy Nordenson, SCR Project Director. “With its unique design strategies, including its focus on back-bay communities, SCR projects provide tangible visions of what urban coastal adaptation could look like – how coastal cities could absorb flooding and continue to thrive.”

The Center for Architecture will focus on the tri-state area, presenting work for Jamaica Bay NY and Atlantic City NJ, including geospatial models evaluating the effects of flooding and site-specific proposals. A digital overview of research strategies for all four sites will also be on display. Members of the press are invited to the opening on February 3, 2016 at 6:00 PM. The complete project work can be viewed on the website

Project Directors

Guy Nordenson, Project Director
School of Architecture
Princeton University

Julia Chapman, Project Manager

Lizzie Hodges, Publications

Climate Science Team

Ning Lin
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Princeton University

Talea Mayo
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Princeton University

Michael Oppenheimer
Department of Geosciences and Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs
Princeton University

Christopher Little
Associate Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs, Princeton University
Climate Scientist, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Lexington, Massachusetts

James Smith
Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Princeton University

Design Team Leaders

Princeton School of Architecture: Atlantic City, NJ

Paul Lewis, AIA
Associate Professor
Princeton University School of Architecture
Principal, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis (LTL) Architects

City College of New York: Jamaica Bay, NY

Catherine Seavitt, AIA
Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture
City College of New York
Principal, Catherine Seavitt Studio

University of Pennsylvania School of Design: Norfolk, VA

Anuradha Mathur
University of Pennsylvania School of Design
Architect and Landscape Architect

Dilip da Cunha
Adjunct Professor
University of Pennsylvania School of Design
Architect and Planner

Harvard Graduate School of Design: Narragansett Bay, RI

Michael R. Van Valkenburgh
Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.

Rosetta Elkin
Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture
Harvard University Graduate School of Design


Michael Tantala
Tantala Associates

Tess McNamara

Exhibition: Anna Knoell, AIA, with Nerea Castell, AIA, LTL Architects, and Julia Chapman, Guy Nordenson and Associates

Original Project Supported by: The Rockefeller Foundation

About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is a destination for all interested in the built environment. It is the public-facing affiliate of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, which provides resources to both the public and building industry professionals. Through exhibitions, programs, and special events, the Center aims to improve the quality and sustainability of the built environment, foster exchange between the design, construction, and real estate communities, and encourage collaborations across the city and globe. As the city’s leading cultural institution focusing on architecture, the Center drives positive change through the power of design. For more information, please visit Follow the Center for Architecture on Twitter and Instagram at @CenterforArch.


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