Mantella Homes

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Amphibious Housing for the New Normal

 

The question of whether or not to rebuild in such a highly vulnerable area is often predicated on the desire to re-establish the sense of communal living borne of the relationships forged amongst the residents and evident in the architecture of proximal living of this once fishing community. The relationship between the people is heavily reliant on the interrelationship between their homes and, as such, the relevance of the affinity between a house and the ground becomes vital. A viable alternative to permanent static elevation is amphibious housing. Unlike floating homes, an amphibious house is secured on thick, telescoping steel posts inserted into concrete piles common in beachfront construction. This option affords the safety sought by the new FEMA regulations while preserving the “cottage culture” of coastal communities by providing a buoyant foundation that allows the home to sit at grade during normal conditions, as well as elevate with rising water levels and lower again as the levels recede. A similar logic can be applied to walkways that rise from the ground to retain the connective infrastructure lost during natural disasters. Planters that float act as armor from floating debris and provide the visual comfort of the familiar in a time of crisis. Adaptability becomes the new normal.

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Cherish in Flawed House

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The increase in the incidents of weather related catastrophes makes it necessary to design houses that are not only sustainable, but also adaptable. Like most areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, the solution is not abandonment, but a design that makes the areas livable and allows communities to return. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to reestablish and reintegrate Sea Bright into the fabric of the surrounding communities. This project was designed to limit the amount of structural walls and columns on the ground floor. This not only allows for an open floor area that is adaptable to various uses, but also limits building surfaces that could be impacted by natural forces. Structural supporting cores were pushed towards the center of the building, creating column-less building edges. These reinforced concrete cores also serve as shafts for building services and vertical transportation. The cores are watertight to protect all vital services in the building in the event of an emergency. The entire building perimeter is wrapped in a watertight panelized façade that closes during storms and other emergency weather conditions, establishing an environmental envelope that protects the occupants' lives and property. The courtyard is employed to aid cross ventilation and lighting in the building bulk. The building can be constructed in modules to allow for fast-paced construction. Modules could be subtracted or adjusted to create interesting interior shared spaces for the occupants. The building is raised above the flood plain on reinforced concrete cores to create a ground condition that is not only adaptable, but also flexible. This also allows all vital building services to be located out of the flood plain. As the water level rises, the programs in the building also change.

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Nauvoo House

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Sea Bright seems the perfect place to establish a new type of coastal building typology. Sea Bright's formal history began in 1969, but, before that, in the early 1940s, the fishing village of Nauvoo, a small cluster of wooden shacks, sat nestled among the tall grass·topped sand dunes of the barrier beach. At a time in American history when strength, adaptability, resiliency, and resourcefulness meant the difference between survival and extinction, it seems only fitting to look to our past to help shape our future. In homage to the strength and resiliency of one of America's first coastal communities, this proposed building typology is respectfully named "The Nauvoo House."

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Courtyard House

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Sea Bright, one of New Jersey's shore towns, is hoping to rebuild its identity by continuing to draw tourists to its beach and businesses. The river side will focus on bringing life by adding a boardwalk to the edge, thus creating attractions on both sides of Sea Bright. The prototype proposed is not only storm responsive, but will enhance the social atmosphere between neighbors. The prototype’s modular construction will help build homes faster and economically. Not only can the house be built as a stand-a-lone, but it can also be adapted to add other units in the future. The courtyard house is the new improved beach house for the shoreline.

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Inverted House

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The disaster that occurred during Hurricane Sandy left many homeowners and neighborhoods devastated. Different communities all around New Jersey worked together to rebuild and restore their neighborhoods to their former state.By helping each other, each community was able to bounce back from the catastrophe. The inverted street obligates neighbors to be a part of a community, not only during a crisis, but during everyday life. Communities functioning together will empower the New Jersey resilient build. The inverted street will be a design mechanism to advocate people to be part of a community in times of need. Having people socially interact on an everyday basis will help the individual, home, and community withstand a devastating storm. Homeowners will respectably own their property but will now be part of a cluster community. Each home will have its own entity and property line, but, rather than being a single home, will now be part of a cluster of houses that are linked together by a water collecting roof. The houses will be elevated and connected by a common walkway space. This elevated street will help with yearly flooding, yet permit homeowners to continue their daily routines with less worry.

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Amity House

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The purpose of Amity House is to solicit proposals for the design of new residential buildings in Union Beach. The proposed block for the new residential building construction was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. New residential buildings on this block will require floodproofing, as the block is a flood risk. The new houses, totaling 14 units, will be integrated into half of the purposed site area. Each building will be composed of two units that will share one communal deck that is easily accessible from the street. The communal deck will be set at 4’ above ground level. The decking connection of the units will promote neighbor amity.

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Nested House

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The aim of this project was to design an environmentally suitable and resilient family house with rental space. The concept of "nested house" was derived from Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye. The house is raised on piles to avoid flood inundation, creating space for pedestrians, and is anchored with center stairs to protect the building from any subsidence due to undercutting and erosion. The plan takes the shape of a puzzle with multiple access points. Connecting these puzzles together creates a cluster community. Throughout the housing complex, a series of linked terraces serve as courtyards for communal space, which enhances socialization and promotes the idea of spreading-out the connected buildings horizontally.

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NJIT's Tom Dallessio Speaks at United Nations to Celebrate World Cities Day 2014

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On Oct. 31, 2014, Tom Dallessio, director of NJIT’s Center for Resilient Design, gave an address at the United Nations to celebrate the inaugural World Cities Day 2014, a celebration of global urban transformations led by UN-Habitat. The following is his address:

World Cities Day Address

Salutation Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished guests: Buon Giorno!  I am Tom Dallessio, Director of the Center for Resilient Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Board Member of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization. I’m pleased to join you in celebrating World Cities Day 2014.

Introduction As you know, urbanization is occurring all around the world; but to ensure it is sustainable, we must plan and design cities to be economically, environmentally and socially resilient. As you also well know, for the first time in history, over half of the world’s population is living in cities and towns. Constantly on the rise, it is expected to reach almost 5 billion by 2030 and 6.3 billion by 2050. The concentration of peoples with diverse backgrounds, and different cultural and ethnic origins and beliefs provides both challenges and opportunities that leaders throughout the world must recognize and address. Because cities of all sizes struggle to provide resources and apply good practices to respond to the magnitude of this change, the UN correctly recognizes the importance of managing social inclusion in people-centered urbanization. Today’s message, on World Cities Day 2014, is that there is a critical need to lead urban transformations. I thank the United Nations, UN-Habitat, the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations for providing the civic space to raise difficult questions and seek shared answers. The Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization is pleased to contribute to this dialogue. As an urban planner, I know that cities are faced with the end results of transnational and internal migration. The pressures today on infrastructure, housing, social services and other public services are exacerbated by urban growth and providing equitable access. However, international and national migration policies are often implemented without local input or control. Given this, balancing economic growth, environmental conservation and social progress is more critical than ever. And, I’d argue, is absolutely necessary to ensure that cities are sustainable and resilient. We can and must enact policies, propose urban designs and build neighborhoods and cities that meet these objectives. The Rockefeller Foundation has defined 5 characteristics of resilient systems that can provide lessons for cities facing social cohesion challenges. They are: 1. Aware – knowing strengths and assets, liabilities and vulnerabilities, and threats and risks. Constantly assessing the social cohesion of a city can be both responsive and preventative. It requires methods of sensing and information-gathering, including robust feedback loops that could take the form of community meetings or monitoring systems that are accessible to the variety of people living and working in the city. Today’s technology and social media provide a multitude of opportunities as well as challenges for keeping city leaders, residents and visitors aware and actively engaged. Being mindful, tolerant and embracing of differences in language, culture, religion, custom and attitude can enhance urban resiliency. 2. Diverse – Although in this case, the intention is a surplus of capacity, I’d argue that cities can and must draw upon the range of capabilities of its people. Finding locations and vehicles to enhance diversity will provide both short-term and long-term benefits. 3. Self-Regulating – Here, it is critically important that people behave and interact in ways to continue functioning to the city’s purpose, dealing with anomalous situations and interferences without extreme malfunction, collapse or disruptions. True social resilience strives for cities where people can withstand disruptions or crises because there’s a common level of respect as well as a welcoming for diverse populations. 4. Integrated – Having the ability to bring together disparate thoughts and elements into cohesive solutions and actions is key. Sharing information across neighborhoods or social strata, collaboratively developing ideas and solutions, and communicating transparently with involved or affected people are three central tenets of social resiliency, which require feedback loops to be truly effective. And, 5. Adaptive – The capacity to adjust to changing circumstances, especially as a result of transnational or internal migration, by developing plans, taking actions or modifying behaviors will ensure that cities are better able to withstand and recover from a disruption. Flexibility is also key here, with wise city leaders applying existing resources to new purposes. The Rockefeller Foundation holds that humans are not born with resilience – that we learn, adapt and improve upon it. Whether it is nature or nurture, we know that social resilience is both desired and necessary to enhance our economy and environment. It is clear that public debate here in America and around the world has focused on economic and environmental sustainability. However, the cultural and ethnic dimensions must also be taken into consideration, to advance social equity and the future resiliency of cities and towns. Policies and urban designs that manage diversity and promote social cohesion among residents and visitors must be advanced by mayors and others at the local level to make cities more vibrant. Creating a common space for this discussion as well as ensuring that all peoples are represented in the dialogue and are shareholders, not just stakeholders in the conversation, should be the mission of mayors. The 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, led by the Rockefeller Foundation, provides an interesting test for resiliency. Whether it becomes the Agora many hope for remains to be seen. That being the case, it is both informative and encouraging to see this level of exploration. I’m proud that the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization is working to promote a better understanding of the role of sustainable urbanization and resilient design in the planning of our cities. One year ago, we organized a conference here at the United Nations on resilient design. While most of the conversation focused on responses to natural disasters, we recognize that social resiliency is key to a sustainable future. We look forward to collaborating on initiatives that advance economic, environmental and social sustainability and resiliency, and are committed to making Habitat III a clarion call for these critical goals. We join Dr. Joan Clos and others who advocate changes to our physical environment to advance this sustainability and resiliency. We are committed to bringing together different shareholders for exchanges of innovative policies and best practices applicable to both developed and developing regions of the world. Our objective is to establish a global conversation on sustainable urbanization, embracing all sectors of society. One actionable step worth considering is the creation of a Mayors’ Academy on Resilient and Sustainable Habitats. MARSH would bring urban leaders together with actual case studies from their cities to find ways through physical design and policy revisions to improve their cities. Designing spaces that enhance social resiliency would benefit all, especially those who are often not considered in the planning of infrastructure and communities. And, the establishment of a network of educated and engaged mayors on the benefits of resilient design would have long-lasting effects. On this two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, architecture students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology continue to investigate ways to address economic, environmental and social resiliency. Today’s session reminds me that our work continues with renewed purpose. To conclude, I believe that diversity is economically, environmentally and socially resilient. The challenge is for mayors and other local leaders to take ownership and enact policies, programs and designs that address this resiliency. Thank you.  

Two Years Later -- Lessons and Opportunities in a Post-Sandy World: N.J. Mayor's Summit on Resilient Design

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NJIT's Center for Resilient Design, in cooperation with the AIA Regional Recovery Working Group and NJ State League of Municipalities, hosted a summit on the two year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy to convene N.J. Mayors and other public officials, design professionals, and others to address lessons and opportunities following the worst natural disaster in New Jersey history.

Through a series of presentations and frank discussions, local officials brought actual challenges to the table and jointly explored opportunities to recover and rebuild in a more resilient manner. The Summit Agenda focused on Resources, Strategies, and Solutions. Some mayors sent key staff to focus on implementation.

NJIT College of Architecture and Design faculty Georgeen Theodore, Susan Bristol, Matt Burgermaster, and Keith Krumwiede presented resilient designs of buildings, infrastructure, and communities, prompting responses and engagement by local, State, and federal officials. This free event connected mayors and design professionals seeking solutions.

Outcomes included identification of existing and potential funding, technical expertise, and legal and regulatory changes to make communities more resilient. Mayors gained tools necessary to make their communities more resilient.

Sponsored by NJIT's Center for Resilient Design, AIA Regional Recovery Working Group, and the N.J. State League of Municipalities.

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