Big Apple ‘Dryline’ flood protection concept garners Holcim Award

48 Holcimi 400A large-scale, integrated protection system addressing New York City’s vulnerability to coastal flooding won Bronze in the 2015 Global Holcim Awards. The “Dryline” project is the vision of a consortium headed by Bjarke Ingels Group or BIG (Copenhagen/New York) and One Architecture (Amsterdam) in collaboration with the city.

The group proposes a protective ribbon around lower Manhattan using a series of raised berms and other measures to create public spaces along the edges of the Hudson and East Rivers. Stretching from West 57th Street south to The Battery and up to East 42nd Street, the Dryline protects 10 continuous miles of low lying geography that comprise an incredibly dense, vibrant and vulnerable urban area. The barrier incorporates a range of neighborhood functions that foster commercial, recreational and cultural activities.

Lead juror Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the Graduate School of Design (GSD) at Harvard University, praised the Dryline for turning a problem into an opportunity. “The project makes a political statement by means of an architectural and urban proposition—where tangible solutions to the effects of climate change can be created, where New York City is a prototype from which similar strategies in susceptible regions around the globe could be pursued.”

The 2015 Global Holcim Awards competition attracted more than 6,000 project entries, planned or proposed in 152 countries. A public park in Medellín, Colombia, that creates urban spaces around a series of water tanks to form a “socio-technical” landscape won the Gold award. Silver went to a community library project in the rural town of Ambepussa near Colombo, Sri Lanka, that aims to reintegrate soldiers into post-war society by being coached in building techniques through the construction process. The Holcim Foundation sponsors the competition every three years.

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