NJIT’s Matt Burgermaster wins 2013 Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award


CoAD Assistant Professor Matt Burgermaster has won a 2013 Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award for his project “Ice Cycle House,” a sustainable “pre-fab” house located in Buffalo, New York. This design features an innovative combination of digital fabrication processes, prefabricated components, and low-cost materials within an exterior envelope solution that works with, instead of against, extreme snow loads and the natural snowmelt cycle by creatively integrating them into the building’s multifaceted performance of insulation and drainage functions. The system prototype was created in response to the need for new resilient design and construction solutions applicable to extreme climatic environments and weather situations. The Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Awards is a national awards competition that honors housing projects for their excellence in both design and construction, and is judged by leading professionals from the architecture and building industries. This award was presented at the “Designing for Resilience” 2013 Reinvention Symposium and is published in the October issue of BUILDER, the magazine of the National Association of Home Builders. Selected out of over 630 entries, Burgermaster shares award honors in the “On The Boards” category with NADAAA/Nader Tehrani. The “Ice Cycle House” previously received awards in national design competitions from professional and academic organizations alike, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and the Journal of Architecture Education (JAE).

Resilient Design on the UN Agenda As It Prepares for Climate Change


By Alex Wilson The panel I was on at the United Nations World Habitat Day conference, “Resilient Design for Sustainable Urbanization.” Wrapping up an intense month of travel, I’m just back from New York City, where I spoke last Friday, October 4, 2013, at the UN World Habitat Day conference, Resilient Design for Sustainable Urbanism.” The event was cosponsored by the Consortium for Sustainable UrbanismAIA New York, and the NJIT Center for Resilient Design. It was an amazing opportunity to see the United Nations; I think I was last there over 40 years ago. The UN Headquarters Complex is going through a major $2 billion facelift that includes many exciting green features that are supposed to achieve 50% energy savings, 40% water savings, and a 45% reduction in the carbon footprint…. But that’s not the focus of this column. UN-Habitat and resilience The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, or UN-Habitat, is a UN agency focused on human settlements. It was launched in 1978 following a meeting in Vancouver known as Habitat I, and it is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. A follow-up conference, Habitat II, was held in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996, and Habitat III is planned for 2016. The conference last week was one of a number of events leading up to Habitat 3, and it reflected a growing interest by the UN in climate change, rising sea levels, and the impact these changes will have on urbanization. The day started off with an all-star cast: UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon from South Korea opened up the program and described the UN’s deeply held concerns about climate change and commitment to both sustainability and resilience. Ki-moon was followed by John Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda, president of the UN General Assembly; Néstor Osorio, the Columbian Representative to the UN and president of the UN Economic and Social Council; and Dr. Joan Clos of Spain, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat. Shaun Donovan, the Secretary of HUD in the U.S. and chair of the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, was supposed to deliver the keynote, but could not due to the Federal Government shutdown. (How embarrassing to see such a poignant display of American dysfunctionalism on the international stage!) In his place was Henk Ovink, the former director general for Spatial Planning and Water Affairs for the Netherlands—and currently on loan to the U.S. for the above-mentioned task force. Morning and afternoon panels dug more deeply into various aspects of resilient design. In the morning panel I described how our vulnerabilities extend well beyond sea level rise and coastal flooding to such issues as more intense storms, inland flooding of valleys (as we saw with Tropical Storm Irene here in Vermont), tornados, ice and snow storms, drought, wildfire, solar flares, and such anthropogenic issues as terrorism and political upheaval. I described a number of secondary impacts of these events, including prolonged power outages, interruptions in gasoline supply, or an ability to pump gasoline. Finally, I presented the Resilient Design Principles that have recently been published by the Resilient Design Institute. Solutions elusive While all of us on the podium did a reasonable job articulating the challenges we face from sea level rise and climate change, effective solutions remain elusive. Some solutions were offered, surprisingly, by Dawn Zimmer, the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. I say “surprisingly,” because I remember the photo of perhaps 100 taxis submerged by Sandy’s storm surge. I had been under the impression that Hoboken was far less prepared for flooding than New York, where Mayor Bloomberg has been at the forefront of disaster preparedness. But she told us of some amazing planning underway in the City, such as efforts to provide for safe bicycle commuting through the Lincoln Tunnel and other strategies to get cars off the streets. Henk Ovink noted that simply building things back to what they had been in the aftermath of storms like Sandy or Katrina is a lost opportunity. We need to learn from these disasters and respond appropriately. “Let the past be an inspiration for the future,” he told us in the afternoon. One of the most inspiring presentations was by Nancy Kete, the managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation, which just announced a $100 million program to support 100 cities around the world in developing and implementing plans for urban resilience over the next three years. The foundation will provide technical support and financial resources in this remarkable program. The full presentations from the conference are available online on the NJIT Center for Resilient Design in three video segments. There is much to do in addressing the multiple challenges of rising seas, more intense storms, and other impacts of climate change. But the UN’s leadership with climate change, not only with science (see the just released 5th Assessment Report from the International Panel on Climate Change), but also initiatives to do something about these challenges, gives me hope that progress can be made. Sequestered in the U.S., where Fox News does a highly successful job at foisting its fringe perspectives on politicians and a significant portion of the public, one can lose sight of just how seriously most of the rest of the world is taking climate change.

Syllabus: Better Boroughs, Resilient Regions – Spring 2013


MIP 602 / ARCH 464: Better Boroughs, Resilient Regions – Syllabus Spring 2013 Mondays 1:00-5:45; Wednesday 8:30-11:25; Thursday 2:30-6:20 Weston Hall Faculty: Georgeen Theodore, School of Architecture (georgeen@interboropartners.com) Room 765 Weston Hall Office hours: by appointment Type of Course: Interdisciplinary studio of 5 credit hours/11.5 contact hours Studio criticism format 10 students expected Course Overview: The subject of this studio is the rebuilding of New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane, which made landfall near Atlantic City on October 29, 2012, wreaked havoc, and the damage to shoreline and waterfront communities was devastating. Housing, schools, roads, and recreational landscapes were wiped away by winds and rising tides. The scope of rebuilding is overwhelming, and most post-disaster efforts are local, and as a matter of necessity, focused on immediate needs. In contrast to the “let’s rebuild now!” mantra that is being repeated and organized on a “town-by-town” basis, this studio will work to examine the larger, regional design opportunities confronting the counties of Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Atlantic, and Ocean, and seek ways to interlink these opportunities with local initiatives. Working “on the ground” with representatives of the Regional Catastrophic Planning Team (NY-NJ-CT-PA), the Department of Homeland Security, Architecture for Humanity, FEMA, and with local community members, the studio will develop designs that purposefully negotiate between the urgent need for visionary, large-scale planning and demands to restore what was there. While the scope and ambition of the studio is clearly regional in its focus, students will be encouraged to develop discrete architectural proposals that engage issues of infrastructure and landscape, such as the redesign of seawalls, boardwalks, bridges and coastal barriers, as well as resilient housing. Given that preliminary estimates indicate a minimum ten year rebuilding effort, this studio seeks to help students develop expertise in an area that will drive the design and construction industry in New Jersey for the foreseeable future. The course will be organized in two phases: • 5X5 Investigations • Resiliency Proposals In the first, five-week phase, 5X5 Investigations, students will develop a set of projective illustrations that investigate the circumstances that led to wide-scale damage, assess post-Sandy conditions, and identify opportunities for future resiliency building. During this phase, the studio will work primarily at two scales: the scale of the state of New Jersey and at the scale of the borough or township. The studio will work collaboratively at the state scale, and individually at the borough scale. Each student will focus on different borough selected from the studio’s list of towns severely impacted by the storm. (See the attached list of selected boroughs.) Using his or her work from the first phase as a base, in the second phase Resiliency Proposals, each student will develop a resiliency proposal for his or her respective borough. Studio participants will have the freedom to develop their own project’s direction in consultation with the instructor, although all projects must perform in a way that (1) responds to short-term needs and (2) provides a long-term vision for improving the place. Emphasis will be on design thinking that negotiates local community needs with visionary regional strategies. The work of the studio will be collaboratively developed into a publication by semester’s end. (read more)   rollercoaster

Resilient Coastal Housing


FutureVisionSeaBright2 ARCH 464/507 SUMMER 2013 – Professor Keith Krumwiede Currently, municipalities do not posses a comprehensive planning strategy to mitigate a homeowner’s decision of whether or not to elevate the home or rebuild as before. The consequence is a varied streetscape comprised of divergent building typologies that lack any cohesion. The resulting transformation of neighborhoods is not only disrupting the architectural fabric and character of entire neighborhoods, but lessening the quality of life of residents as well. The “porch culture” intrinsic to the way of life of these former summer cottages and fishing villages of coastal communities, is forever altered.

Necklace Necklace          Mantella Homes Mantella Homes          

Courtyard House Courtyard House Nested House Nested House          

Future Vision SeaBright Future Vision SeaBright



Under the direction of Dr. Michel Boufadel P.E, P.Hydro, the Center explores the challenges, constraints, and opportunities related to hard and soft infrastructure, and how to anticipate, plan for, recover from, and rebuild after natural and man-made disasters.

NJIT Students and Faculty Present Work at H209 Forum


Students and Faculty from NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design presented their studio work to an international audience dedicated to addressing water challenges for coastal cities from the Dutch Delta to New York Harbor. The H209 Forum, organized by the Henry Hudson 500, was held on Monday, September 9th in New York City and Tuesday, September 10th in Sea Bright, New Jersey.

Building on the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s entry into New York Harbor, the Forum brought together designers, policy experts, scientists, business leaders and environmental advocates to address challenges facing coastal communities with a focus on resilience. In doing so, the Forum attempts to decrease the risks for urban and coastal areas, and shape safer, more livable and amenity-rich communities.

The Forum began with keynote addresses by US HUD Secretary Donovan and Melanie Schultz Van Haegen, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment. Three teams then presented their work: Team Downtown, Team Jamaica Bay and Team Jersey Shore.

Team Jersey Shore was led by Tom Dallessio, Director of NJIT’s Center for Resilient Design, and included CoAD Associate Professor Keith Krumwiede and Assistant Professor Martina Decker, as well as students Anna Abrashina , Anton Mazyrko, Adam Morgan, Benazir Rowneki and Ashwin Yadev.  Professor Decker described the opportunities her students considered during last Spring’s studio when designing a bathhouse in Sea Bright. She challenged her students to research nanotechnology and employ materials that could meet multiple goals. Associate Professor Krumwiede highlighted the work his students undertook this past summer in a housing studio that analyzed conditions in Sea Bright and Union Beach, and proposed solutions that anticipated future natural disasters and promoted resilient design.

At Monday’s Forum, Adam challenged the audience to think about a sea wall as infrastructure that can also serve as a bathhouse using nanotechnology. Benazir and Ashwin designed a multi-family development that anticipates rising sea levels while embracing community interaction, creating new multi-level walkways that connect homes to the seawall and beach.  Commenting on the presentations, Tom Lewis from Louis Berger Associates found the concepts highly applicable to today’s environment and encouraged the students to continue their exploration of resilient design.

On Tuesday in Sea Bright, Esperanza Huerta joined the program and presented her studio work “Mantella Homes” which contemplates residential development on floating platforms. Ivette Meijerink from the Dutch Delta Commission, Niek Veraart from Louis Berger Associates and Lawrence Bash from Raymond James offered encouraging comments and recommendations for how to consider these projects in a post-Sandy environment.

Organized by NJIT’s Center for Resilient Design, the Team Jersey Shore enabled faculty and students to work with international experts, Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long and local officials to offer design expertise in a community severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Through applied research, field testing and community outreach, the Center helps residents, businesses, researchers and government officials to plan, recover and rebuild in a more resilient manner.

NJIT Faculty and Students Present Storm Resilient Designs to the Public


Faculty and students recently participated in a design showcase in Long Branch sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Precast Association. NJIT entries included work from the College of Architecture and Design (COAD) studios, the Department of Engineering Technology and the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) programs, and the new Center for Resilient Design. The design studios, taught by assistant professor Matt Burgermaster and university lecturer Thomas Ogorzalek, focused on applying high-performance precast concrete technologies into the design of next generation construction solutions for a new ferry terminal at Sandy Hook and a new emergency operations center in Long Branch. Storm-resilient projects designed by students Katherine Isidro, Michael Nieves, Stephen Staronka, Nicole Gabbard, Gajun Lau, and Travis New were featured for their unique use of precast concrete in new storm-resilient design solutions, typologies, and practices.

The Necklace


The demolition of an entire block in Union Beach, NJ after Superstorm Sandy presented a unique opportunity to explore resilient design strategies as they relate to the devastation of natural disasters and to consider the broader implications of building in shoreline areas during an era of rapid climate change. Located in the marshlands off Raritan Bay, our site sits just 4’ above sea level surrounded on three sides by marshlands. Given the most conservative estimates of sea level rise, over the next 25-50 years, our site will experience annual flooding and see waters rise as high as 4’ above grade during average storm surges. Therefore, our scheme gives back the northern half of the block to wetlands recovery and treats the southern strip along Prospect Avenue as ‘bay-front’ housing. By increasing density, from detached single family homes to attached two-family townhouse-style homes, we have replaced all the demolished dwellings on the block.

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