Recovery, Adaptation, Mitigation and Planning

House on Water

Home House on Water


House on Water II

Department: Architecture
Community: Rockaways
Instructors: Zehra Kuz
Summer 2014

Project Scenario

Scientist say that the greenhouse gas emissions will not be reduced quickly enough to impact on the atmospheric composition and the ‘climate change’ is in an irreversible path.

Recently Metro New York experienced two major hurricanes, Irene during 2011 and Sandy during 2012. Although FEMA and other federal agencies responded to the emergency, scars are still visible.  Some say that the recovery has been difficult due to the lack of Unity.

It became clear that we cannot achieve coastal resiliency by repairing one house at a time; we have to develop a new strategy. The new strategy has to involve both, public and private and develop an interdisciplinary approach.

Site Scenario

New York is developed on the waterways and she too _like other most populated waterfront cities such as Mumbai, Beijing, Karachi, Jakarta, Guangzhou, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London_  is seriously endangered.  Generous food supply, connectivity through waterways, jobs, beautiful vista and tempered climate attracted urban dwellers here… Now the aging infrastructure and rising water levels are challenging the sustainability of a healthy urban life.

Our focus is the Jamaica Bay. Although the entire area of Jamaica Bay has the same geomorphology (once comprised of barrier islands and marshlands) the surrounding communities such as Far Rockaway, Belle Harbor, and Broad Channel have very little in common. Jamaica Bay offers recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, sailing, surfing, swimming in addition to its rich wildlife and estuaries… It is also susceptible to flooding even with tidal movements.

Our site is the water or the water’s edge. Instead of trying to keep waters at bay, we will embrace living with it. North shore of Rockaway and the Broad Channel will host the amphibious housing developments.

Project Assignment

H.O.W. stands for House on Water. It is floating therefore a hybrid between a boat and a house. The ‘House on Water’ is a need based, performance oriented finite space for year around living, not a vacation home. Whether as an investment into the future or for the joy of waterfront living this is a home with a unique character: self-contained, self-sufficient island of sorts… The study is a provocation into research for technology and typology for amphibious living.

Commonly these amphibious structures sit on a footprint that is no larger than 300 to 400 square foot and some of them are multi stories.  However big, boat alike they are prefabricated and later deployed and placed in a safe harbor for longer periods of time.

Although we are familiar with ‘housing program’, developing the site and transitioning from land onto the water requires virtuosity and planning.

For now the existing local marinas will serve as the gateway to the amphibious community.

This is the fourth and last semester of a series of interdisciplinary studios spearheaded by ‘R.A.M.P.’ (Recovery, Adaptation, Mitigation, Planning)

Alberto Silva and Javier Mercano


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Chi Wa Yeung


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Erik Anderson

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