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Swedish Architects to Design Storm-Resistant Community for Far Rockaway

By Katie Honan | October 23, 2013 4:37pm
 The winner of the contest, a Swedish firm, was announced on Oct. 23 in Far Rockaway.
FAR ROC Design Contest Winner
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FAR ROCKAWAY — A Swedish design firm was selected as the winner of a competition to turn a vacant stretch of the Rockaways into a model for resilient coastal living in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The FAR ROC contest kicked off in April and sought ideas to develop the more-than 80 acre, city-owned site in Far Rockaway dubbed Arverne East — oceanfront land that has been vacant for decades.

The Stockholm-based firm White Arkitekter was chosen out of 117 submissions, from more than 20 countries.

“With our Scandinavian approach, we believe we can strengthen and enrich the beautiful community and provide the opportunity for the community to realize their dreams," said Sander Schuur, an architect from the firm.

The idea of the competition, the city said, was to develop a storm-resistant community and create a model for coastal living.

“At Arverne East we want to create a new neighborhood that is storm resistant, sustainable and which addresses the community’s affordable housing needs," said Housing and Preservation Department Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas.

Their plan includes the construction of residential units, commercial properties and storm protection efforts such as dunes and a nature preserve.

There's no timeline for the project and no guarantee that what the architects proposed will be built on the land, which has been vacant since Mayor John Lindsay razed the bungalow communities on the land.

The last plan for the space was an entertainment complex called Destination Technodome, which was proposed in 1997 but was never built.

A panelist, though, was optimistic that something can finally get built.

"The team that was selected is a really good combination of a master plan that is innovative and thinks about sustainability and resiliency in new ways that haven't been tested in New York necessarily —but it's also practical enough that it feels like it will be implemented," said Holly Leicht, a member of the judging panel and the Executive Director for New Yorkers for Parks.