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.
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.
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.
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.