FIRM: standard llp architecture
PRINCIPALS: jeffrey allsbrook (aia, ncarb, leed, ap), silvia kuhle (aia, ncarb, leed, ap)
TEAM: evan shieh (design lead), sunny colvey
ROLE: schematic design, rendering, diagramming

YEAR: post-graduate
DATE: june, 2013
DESIGN LENGTH: two (2) months

PROJECT SITE: arverne east, queens, new york
PROGRAM: affordable & market rate housing, commercial retail, nature & dune preserve
Rockaway Dunes is designed to restore Arverne East in Queens New York as a local resort destination by tapping the potential of the barrier island's natural dune topography. To realize this vision of the site, the dune and nature preserves are combined as a series of linear berms parallel to the adjacent Rockaway beach, providing the environmental buffer required by the site as it is exposed to ranging hurricane winds and rising flood elevations. A planted inter-dune forest/bog zone forms the spine of the nature preserve, and dunes form the building pads for development landward of the nature preserve zone. Critical service infrastructure is consolidated and protected from storm activity under Edgemere street, and the linear below-grade commercial parking acts as a catch basin at the northern edge of the site. The layered organization of these protective features provides long-term resiliency to the powerful forces of nature.

Varied in scale, Rockaway Dunes integrates the existing context into a modern beach resort, recalling the site's historic character. Development is planned as three types: A garden townhome area at the east of the site, a central spine of three to five story mixed use development, and a residential high-rise tower anchoring the west end. The townhomes are reminiscent of beach bungalows: homes with yards around common green spaces. The mixed use zone transforms Edgemere Street into a vibrant and activated commercial street threshold to the beach. Two-story commercial buildings line the street across from the A-train viaduct, forming an urban corridor. Residential buildings, set back from the commercial, gradually rise in height from east to west. At the west end, set among existing apartment towers, an eco-tower provides the landmark architectural symbol of the site when viewed from the community. The development is perforated at key cross-streets that pass under the viaduct, and small scale local commerce line these connection portal walkways to the beach.

Designed as a resort destination, Rockaway Dunes is designed to create a combined effect of drawing commercial activity and a range of residents as an anchor to the existing community. Proximity to transportation, commercial recreational opportunities, shorefront views, and immediate adjacency to surrounding green space are all significant amenities. By restoring the features of a barrier island to the site and integrating the buildings into this natural ecosystem through sustainable design elements, Rockaway Dunes becomes a model for future coastal developments.

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