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Resilient Building in the Post-Sandy Era

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Architect and design activist Rachel Minnery talks to Dwell about Hurricane Sandy reconstruction and preparing for climate change.
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  Field Assessment of Property Damage Near Atlantic Ave. in New York
"I was surprised about how many people wanted to go above and beyond with repairs and rebuilding," says Minnery. "People really wanted to invest in making sure this didn’t happen again, demonstrating a greater appetite for mitigating risk. If our government leadership were to become aware of it, that would motivate them to create more policies that would allow citizens to do that work." Photo by Open Architecture Network
    Field Assessment of Property Damage Near Atlantic Ave. in New York

    "I was surprised about how many people wanted to go above and beyond with repairs and rebuilding," says Minnery. "People really wanted to invest in making sure this didn’t happen again, demonstrating a greater appetite for mitigating risk. If our government leadership were to become aware of it, that would motivate them to create more policies that would allow citizens to do that work."

    Photo by Open Architecture Network

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  Sandy Design Help Desk in Brooklyn

The Sandy Help Desk program pairs owners of devastated homes with architects who provide rebuilding advice. "Frankly, everyone is learning by doing in this situation, and they’re getting this great, rich volunteer experience working with the 90% of the population who can’t afford an architect but really need it in this particular situation," Minnery say. "Architects rarely get to engage with the public, so I get really exited about that, because we all know more about each other and become more sensitive about the social issues we’re trying to tackle."

Photo by Archtecture for Humanity
    Sandy Design Help Desk in Brooklyn

    The Sandy Help Desk program pairs owners of devastated homes with architects who provide rebuilding advice. "Frankly, everyone is learning by doing in this situation, and they’re getting this great, rich volunteer experience working with the 90% of the population who can’t afford an architect but really need it in this particular situation," Minnery say. "Architects rarely get to engage with the public, so I get really exited about that, because we all know more about each other and become more sensitive about the social issues we’re trying to tackle."

    Photo by Archtecture for Humanity

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  Wall of Progress
Homeowners soliciting help from the design desk were greeted with a neighborhood map as well as retrofitting and rebuilding options. Photo by Gail Gambarini, Architecture for Humanity
    Wall of Progress

    Homeowners soliciting help from the design desk were greeted with a neighborhood map as well as retrofitting and rebuilding options.

    Photo by Gail Gambarini, Architecture for Humanity

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  Volunteer Training
Architects who wanted to help out with Sandy reconstruction got up to date on the latest code and zoning information.Photo by Rachel Minnery
    Volunteer Training

    Architects who wanted to help out with Sandy reconstruction got up to date on the latest code and zoning information.

    Photo by Rachel Minnery

  • 
  Rachel Minnery
"Right now, 85% of the building stock that will be around 20 years from now already exists," Minnery says. "Architecture, I suspect, will begin to change a lot from a focus on new buildings to renovations, retrofits and relocations."
    Rachel Minnery

    "Right now, 85% of the building stock that will be around 20 years from now already exists," Minnery says. "Architecture, I suspect, will begin to change a lot from a focus on new buildings to renovations, retrofits and relocations."

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