Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction

May 5, 2014

Students Capture Toms River Recovery

In February, the design team for the ReNew Schools: Toms River High School North held their second community meeting on site, where pro-bono architect, Craig Brearley presented revised design drawings of the stadium entrance plaza and support buildings, taking the feedback gathered from the first community workshop held last October.

Toms River High School North is the larger of three high schools that serve the Toms River Regional Schools, with 2,400 students. With their high dedication to sport (the majority of the student population play some form of intra or inter-mural sport), the school is invested in getting facilities back up and running.

This community meeting was attended by both students and community members, who gave enthusiastic comments and feedback that would be considered in finalizing the design. As a bonus, the regional school district's very own TV-21 crew was there to document the event. TV-21 is a unique radio and TV program lead by Chip Phillips and run by broadcast and journalism students in the school district. After intently filming and interviewing the design team throughout the day, the talented students put together a short clip, that summarizes the project.

See the video below, featuring Regional Program Coordinator, Brian Baer, and lead architect, Craig Brearly!


Jan 29, 2014

Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction Update: January 2014

Jan 2014 Sandy Newsletter Banner

Happy New Year! The year starts off with exciting news: our projects are moving along as our design teams race off with many exciting design ideas!


Restore the Shore

This month, careful coordination and plenty of meetings left the project team with a host of information to process, decisions to make and many new ideas to share. We began working with the Seaside Heights' future events center manager to refine the program and community needs and are grateful for the insights. The Army Corps of Engineers continue to discuss and plan the coastal sand dunes planned for Seaside Heights and we are evaluating its impact on the design. The design team led by Gensler’s Morristown office is at the drawing board developing schematic design options before the open house event.

The Community Open House will take place on Tuesday February 4th, 2014 from 5:30pm-7:30pm, Seaside Heights Community Center, 1000 Bay Blvd. The Open House is an opportunity to hear about project updates and developments. Come see preliminary design ideas for the Events Center and have the opportunity to speak with the design team.


The design teams for the school projects are working diligently to complete schematic designs. Washington School, Little Ferry will be holding a community open house on February 6, 6:00pm - 7:30pm in their Media Center, and Toms River High School North will be holding one in the next few weeks as well. Information to come soon!


Support communities who need to rebuild by sharing our message with your friends and family.

Thank you in advance for your support.


Nov 4, 2013

Navigating the Path Towards Sandy Reconstruction

Today we remember the tragic effects of Hurricane Sandy as it struck countless communities and individuals throughout the East Coast. Our dedication to working with and to helping communities continues to stand strong as we pave a path towards a more resilient and sustainable future for New York and New Jersey residents.

Working with Communities to Build Back Better
Letter from Rachel Minnery, New York Regional Program Manager

In its 15-year history, Architecture for Humanity has launched nine post-disaster programs worldwide, but when the largest hurricane on record hit the largest city in the United States in the very last days of hurricane season, we knew it would be something different.

Five million individuals affected by the storm were facing a long road ahead. We remain compassionately committed to resilient post-disaster reconstruction because we know from our years of work with survivor communities that there is no easy button, no off-the-shelf solutions at the local hardware store, and very little light shed on the path forward for those needing to rebuild their lives. Architecture for Humanity created a program to focus on the communities with the greatest need for design and construction services. We wouldn’t just build back – we would help survivors build back better, stronger, and more resiliently. I am honored to work for some incredibly strong, warm and wonderful survivors, and very grateful to our many partners, funders, volunteers and collaborators who have generously offered their time and support where there is still overwhelming need.

...Continue reading Rachel's letter here.

In this update:

Spotlight Sandy Design Help Desk Complete

Sandy Design Help Desk Meets the Rockaways

For one week in October, the NY regional office in collaboration with partners including Enterprise Community Partners Inc., NYC Office of Housing Recovery, Pratt Center for Community Development and Margert Community Corporation, created a pilot project to pair trained volunteer architects and designers with Sandy-affected home and business owners, who have questions about their rebuilding options, building codes and design issues.

Read more about the Sandy Design Help Desk here.

In August, the Sandy team met with a group of Rockaway homeowners, to hear their concerns and needs, to discuss the rebuilding process, and to share our homeowners resource, The Sandy Puzzle: Piecing Together the Rebuilding Resources for Your Home.

updates Extending Impact

Extending impact: Symposiums, Lectures and Training

Collaboration, plus the sharing of knowledge and expertise with community members and the design and humanitarian community, is key in the long-term rebuilding process. From post-Sandy response training for our NY Chapter, to follow up Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training for NY architects, to this month's anniversary-related symposiums, we are dedicated to sharing best practices and lessons learned with all those wanting to participate in the rebuilding process.

Watch an interview with Rachel Minnery, New York Regional Program Manager who discusses the role of architects in disaster response and recovery as part of her contribution to the The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice published by the American Institute of Architects, here.

Neighborhood Assessment Report

Neighborhood Assessment Report: How communities were impacted by Sandy

Assisting the Reconstruction and Resiliency Studio in understanding the true needs existing within New York City's coastal communities, the New York Chapter became the eyes and ears on the ground as we developed an appropriate response program.

Data gathering is essential in any post-disaster situation, first to understand the needs then to coordinate response effort. In the weeks following Sandy, the NY Chapter gathered and trained hundreds of volunteers in community field assessments in neighborhoods throughout New York City. The interviews and information gathered were documented in the Neighborhood Assessment Report. Read more about this report here.

On the Ground: Projects in progress

On the Ground: Projects in progress

As projects move forward the team is thrilled to lead three exciting community workshops for the communities of Seaside Heights (today, 10/29), Tom's River (10/31) and Little Ferry (11/6), New Jersey. Working hand-in-hand with individuals in the community and listening to their needs and ideas, is essential in a participatory community design process. It makes the places we create more successful and the work far more rewarding. Together, we are helping to build a unified vision for a more sustainable and resilient future for affected areas. We have a deep gratitude for those who have made this work possible. While we can't always acknowledge our donors individually in the construction itself, donors to the Restore the Shore program will be able to find their names on dedicated planks along the boardwalk.

Keep track of our projects on our Hurricane Sandy program page on the Open Architecture Network.

In Progress:

Thank You

Only possible with your support.
The work of Architecture for Humanity and the Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction Program is possible with the support of hundreds of individuals and organizations. A special thank you goes out to the following organizations:

Funding Partners
20x200, 495 Productions, After the Storm, American Institute of Architects, Aronson's Inc, Autodesk, Inc., Big League Dreams, LLC, Cecilia McConnell, Earthcolor, Inc, Evco Global Inc, EYP, Inc, Fashion Girls for Humanity, Fifth & Pacific, GlobalGiving, Harrah's Atlantic City Operating Co. LLC, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, HMC Designing Futures Foundation, James Perse, Jillian Emery, John P. & Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation, Modell's Sporting Goods, MTV Networks, NEP Snooki Enterprises, Nike Inc., Omaze, Razoo Foundation, Run4NJ, Score the Shore, Scott Marshall, The Eileen Fisher Foundation, Viacom International Inc., VPL, XL Construction, and many more.

Acari+Iovino Architects, American Institute of Architects New Jersey, American Institute of Architects New York and the Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee, American Institute of Architects Disaster Assistance Committee, American Planning Association New Jersey, Andrew Franz Architect, PLLC, Architecture for Humanity NYC Chapter, Arup, Cannon Design, Chris Sullivan, Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, C.W. Brearley Architects, Emerging New York Architects, Enterprise Community Partners Inc., Gensler - Morristown Office, Google, Illya Azaroff, Indiegogo, Innogive Foundation, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, The Cooper Union, Jennifer Dunn, Jesse Keenan, Lance Jay Brown, Margert Development Corporation, MASNYC, Michael Green Architects, MobileCause, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NYC Dept. of Buildings, NYC Dept. of Education, NYC Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Office of Emergency Management, NYC Office of Housing Recovery, NYC School Construction Authority, Perkins+Will, Pratt Center for Community Development, Pratt Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, Solar One, St. Bernard Project, The Wexler Family, Turner & Townsend Ferzan Robbins, Zach Rice, and many more.

A special thank you to all the volunteers who dedicated their time to helping in the Sandy response efforts and who continue tirelessly to volunteer their skills and knowledge to help others. 

How To Help
contact us  get services  give services  donate

Support communities who need to rebuild by donating and sharing our message with your friends and family. Thank you in advance for your support.


Oct 14, 2013

Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction Update: Oct. 2013

September was a busy month for the Sandy Team and we are delighted to share several exciting events and opportunities that will assist NY and NJ residents that strive to rebuild their communities.


Spotlight Hurricane Sandy Design Help Desk After months of planning, the Sandy Design Help Desk reaches the Far Rockaway! Along with partners, Enterprise Community Partners Inc., Pratt Center and Margert Community Corporation, Architecture for Humanity will host a Sandy Design Help Desk to benefit NYC area residents affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Sandy Design Help Desk will provide free design and technical consultation from industry professionals to aid in the rebuilding process. Visit us from October 7 to 12 at 323 Beach 32nd Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691. See here to learn more.


Events Sandy Symposium Join Rachel Minnery, our Regional Program Manager, on October 14 for an evening symposium titled, The Design Community's Response + Strategies for Resilience. This symposium will showcase design professionals, academics and not-for-profit strategists in a panel discussion over community response and strategies for resiliency stemming from Hurricane Sandy. Our Regional Program Coordinator, Brian will be introducing the speakers, who will each discuss their organization's response for the first six months after the storm, followed by their organization's strategy for resiliency as it relates to the communities they serve. Architecture for Humanity has organized the event along with AIA New York Chapter Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee, and the symposium's hosts, the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, Cooper Union. The symposium is free and open to the public. More information can be found here.


updates Restore the Shore Restore The Shore - Events Center and Boardwalk Plans Remain on Schedule After Devastating Fire On September 12, the residents of Seaside Heights, New Jersey were affected by a devastating fire that destroyed the southern end of the newly rebuilt boardwalk. The Borough of Seaside Heights is determined to move forward with the design and planning of the new events center near Blaine Ave on the boardwalk. Residents will gather on October 29 to envision their new events center at a community design workshop led by our Sandy team and project partners.

ReNew Schools ReNew Schools - NJ School Children Will Receive Athletic Fields Along with Nike USA, we are working to bring fun pinnacle expressions of sport to students affected by Hurricane Sandy. On October 30 and November 6 we will host community workshops for the school districts of Tom's River and Little Ferry, respectively. We are also working with the Union Beach school district on the repair of its outdoor facilities. You may remember from our last update, our work with three schools in New York City. We are very grateful to our partners at Perkins + Will and Andrew Franz Architects for their time and energy spent on the designs for Surfside School, Bay Academy and Beach Channel High School. After preliminary design and investigation, the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA) who typically manages its own design and construction activities expressed a preference to self-execute the repairs to the schools, which had been the subject of our team's efforts. To avoid overlap in capability, Architecture for Humanity is now focusing the program's efforts in New Jersey, where the school districts are typically smaller and less well funded.


Interested in getting involved? The NY Team is always looking for qualified interns to volunteer in our office. Contact us below and let us know if you're interested in applying your architecture and design skills towards making a difference in the lives of communities throughout NJ and NY.


How To Help

contact us  get services  give services  donate

Support communities who need to rebuild by donating and sharing our message with your friends and family.

Thank you in advance for your support.


Jul 15, 2013

Sandy Reconstruction, July 2013: fairs & workshops

Summer is here - meaning it's peak tourist season along the shore in places like Seaside Heights. Our New York Regional Office is now up and running full steam ahead, managing projects, building partnerships, and preparing architects for the next disaster.


Restore the Shore, Seaside Heights

In the months after Hurricane Sandy did its best to destroy many coastal and inland communities of New Jersey and the Northeast Region of the United States, many feared that it might be a long time before this vacation destination returned to normal.

From the moment the hurricane dissipated, local, state, and federal officials worked feverishly to get as much debris cleared and the necessary infrastructure restored and recover a sense of normalcy.

In the case of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, "normal" means countless numbers of beach goers and boardwalkers - everyone from families to retirees to teenagers and twenty-somethings working on their tans, running into the still chilly Atlantic, and lighting up the arcade and boardwalk games from Porter Avenue North to Hiering Avenue. The smells and aromas of pizza, grilled sausage and peppers, and funnel cake permeate the air - as do the shouts and calls of the barkers at the Boardwalk arcade parlors.

The work by the myriad government officials, business owners, residents, construction crews, and volunteers to get to this point cannot be overstated.

With the rebuilding of the boardwalk that extends along the shore of Seaside Heights, we are now in the full swing of things. Our collective attention begins to focus on the work of rebuilding the Hiering Street Performance Pavilion and developing a new gateway to Seaside Heights at the base of the Route 37 Bridge.

Recent meetings between Architecture for Humanity, MTV, and the officials of Seaside Heights have made continued progress on clarifying the scope and direction of these reconstruction projects. The teams are now poised to begin assembling the more public aspects of the project, including planning and announcing design charrettes, public meetings, and further introducing the project teams to the community and project funders.

Please continue to check our Restore the Shore page on the Open Architecture Network weekly for continuing updates on these and the many other disaster assistance projects currently underway.


Renew York Schools

On June 10th, Architecture for Humanity in collaboration with the principal and staff of PS 329-Surfside, hosted a community design charrette on campus to generate active learning spaces with a pinnacle expression of sport.

Over 50 people associated with the school braved a wet an windy evening to participate: an equal number of current students, parents, faculty, and neighborhood community members filled the school's dining hall for an evening of community building. We were also joined by representatives of our primary funder Nike Inc., The Fund for Public Schools, Andrew Franz Architects (pro bono architect), and Turner & Townsend Ferzan Robbins (pro bono cost estimator). Read more about this event here.

NY Chapter Training

On Saturday, June 15th, our New York Chapter held an American Institute of Architects' California Emergency Management Association Training on the Post-Disaster Safety Assessment Program. Intended for licensed architects, this course certifies attendees as Building Evaluators in the California Safety Assessment Program (SAP).

Lead by Rachel Minnery, Regional Program Manager for Architecture for Humanity New York Regional Office, this workshop taught participants to conduct rapid damage assessments of structures affected by earthquakes, wind and water. It also taught the appropriate protocol for coordinating with emergency managers to limit professional liability. Participants learned the knowledge and skills to safely assess structures for habitability and will receive a Building Evaluator Certificate from the state of California.


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Project Leader

Jacob Ehrenberg

Program Development Manager
San Francisco, CA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction