Sandy will change how NYC is built, experts say

November 16, 2012 01:00PM

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy New York has experienced an unprecedented level of destruction and the questions regarding how to rebuild are mounting.  The Center for Architecture and the American Institute of Architects’ New York chapter met last night at the  Center for Architecture at 536 Laguardia Place to discuss precisely those questions, Curbed reported.

The organization held a two–hour panel discussing short-and long-term building solutions, how to rebuild differently in hard-hit areas and how change the bureaucracy regulating building in the city.

The panel included Cynthia Barton, NYC Office of Emergency Management disaster housing plan manager,  Stephen CassellArchitecture Research Office principal and co-founder, Klaus Jacob, Geophysicist, Urban Environmental Disaster Expert at Columbia University, Rob Rogers,  Rogers Marvel Architects principal, Howard SlatkinNYC Department of City Planning director of sustainability, Donna WalcavageAECOM principal and moderator Michael Kimmelman, Chief Architecture Critic at The New York Times.

As far a short–term solutions, Klaus Jacob suggested that instead of focusing on building multibillion-dollar sea walls, the government should instead deploy cheaper and tested inflatable plugs to save tunnels.

In the medium-term, panelists suggested changing the city’s building codes and updating FEMA flood-plane maps. This could involve requiring updates to older buildings and forcing buildings to keep their mechanical equipement on higher floors or on the roof, instead of the basement.

Some suggested that entire sections of New York will one day need raised and rebuilt. Others simply suggested that city builders need to work towards a paradigm shift. Sandy, like 9/11, is a “gamechanger” for how government agencies work with builders, Adrian Benepe, the former parks department commissioner, said. [Curbed]Christopher Cameron