Recovery, Adaptation, Mitigation and Planning

Coney Island Graduate Architecture

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Santiago David and Mario Gonzalez

Graduate Architecture

Department: Architecture
Community: Coney Island
Instructors: Meta Brunzema
Fall 2013

With a focus on improving Coney Island’s Health and Wellness, this graduate architecture studio sought to enhance both the evolutionary capacity of the peninsula, and the health and resilience of its people.

Coney Island’s health centers and senior facilities are still based on 19th century institutional models which isolate people and weaken intergenerational bonds. These institutional silos need to be reinvented – and people should participate in their transformation.

Proposals from our studio were bold and transformational: One project recommends a new distributed network of seven health clinics that partner with existing community, faith and educational institutions to better provide health and preventive care services. Raised on stilts, the distinctive flood-proof clinics start the process of elevating the land.

Another project addresses the mental illnesses that disproportionately affect coastal communities by syncing the rhythms of nature (daylight, seasons, tides, storms etc…) with the rhythms that affect people’s mental and physical well-being (hormones, chemical cycles etc…). The neighborhood is re-designed to facilitate festivals – which also counteract seasonal mood swings – while boosting tourism and local jobs. In the long-term, land is elevated through a cut-and-fill strategy that balances land and water.

Our site analysis showed that Superstorms are not the greatest threat to Coney Island – but rather sea level rise, which may increase by 6 feet by 2100. As a result, one team proposed a multifunctional tidal barrier at Coney Island Creek, four canals that cut across the peninsula, and a new “smart” and flexible boardwalk-defense on the ocean side.

Lila Tedesco


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Mario Gonzalez and Santiago David


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Jong Hwa Lee

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