On the Water | Palisade Bay
A two-year investigation of New York’s Palisade Bay funded by the AIA’s 2007 Latrobe Prize, On the Water | Palisade Bay proposed the redesign of the upper harbor of New York and New Jersey in response to the rise of sea levels and storm surges.
The project culminated in a book, was the basis for the exhibition Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront at the Museum of Modern Art and was exhibited at the Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy.
Led by the engineer Guy Nordenson, a multidisciplinary team of collaborators researched and documented the physical conditions of the harbor. GIS mapping of topography and bathymetry provided a means to precisely measure the impact of elevated water levels and storm surges on the surrounding land, buildings, and infrastructure.
Focused on a vision of the harbor as a new regional center, the project was partly a response to the failure of “hard” engineering during Hurricane Katrina. Instead of building floodwalls to keep the water out, “soft” engineering strategies including a constructed archipelago and wetlands were proposed to blunt storm surge force and address the advance of water onto land. The result is a resilient relationship between land and water, beneficial for both people and the surrounding habitat.