BIG U winning project for “Rebuild by Design” in NYC

Place: New York, Country: United States
Architect: BIG Team
BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group + One Architecture
Text by Riccardo Bianchini
Images courtesy of BJarke Ingels Group

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The BIG Team, formed by architectural firm BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and by Dutch One Architecture, has been awarded $335 million to increase resiliency in Lower Manhattan, protecting the city against future storm surges while providing social and environmental benefits to the local community.

The Secretary of U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Charles Schumer, and Zia Khan of the Rockefeller Foundation yesterday announced Big U, co-developed by BIG and Dutch One Architecture, as one of six winning solutions to protect U.S. cities from increasingly intense weather events. Founded in 2013 as a response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastations, Rebuild by Design called for an innovative community-and policy-based solution to promote resilience in the Sandy-affected region.
Big U is selected as one of the winners of the year-long competition among ten multidisciplinary design teams and a total of 148 international applicants.Coined the ‘Big U’, the systematic approach encircles Manhattan responding directly to the needs and concerns of the area’s communities. Running from West 57th Street south to The Battery and up to East 42nd Street, the Big U protects 10 continuous miles of low-lying geography that comprise an incredibly dense, vibrant, and vulnerable urban area. The team’s approach is rooted in the two concepts of social infrastructure and hedonistic sustainability. The Big U not only shields the city against floods and storm water; it provides social and environmental benefits to the community, and fosters an improved public realm. The team envisions three compartments that function independently to provide flood protection. Each compartment comprises a physically discrete flood-protection zone that can be isolated from flooding in adjacent zones. At the same time, each presents opportunities for integrated social and community planning. The compartments work in unison to protect and enhance the city, yet each compartment’s proposal is designed to stand on its own.

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“The Big U is an example of what we call Social Infrastructure. The High Line shows how a decommissioned piece of infrastructure – the abandoned elevated railway – can be transformed into a public space and green landscape. We asked ourselves: What if we could envision the resilience infrastructure for Lower Manhattan in a way that wouldn’t be like a wall between the city and the water, but rather a string of pearls of social and environmental amenities tailored to their specific neighborhoods, which also happens to shield their hinterlands from flooding. The Big U will not only make the waterfront more resilient but also more accessible and inviting to the citizens around it.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

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BIG Team Info:
Partners-in-Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Thomas Christofferson
Project Leader: Jeremy Alain Siegel, Daniel Kidd
Team: Kurt Nieminen, Dammy Lee, Yifu Sun, Jack Lipson, David Spittler, Blake Smith, David Dottelonde, Ken Amoah, Choonghyo Lee, Wesley Chiang, Daisy Zhong, Hector Garcia, Riccardo de Palma, Yaziel Juarbe, Taylor Hewett, Patricia Correa Velasquez

For more information about the competition:
For further information about The Big U:

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