Architect contours tilt-up for Hurricane Sandy memorial pavilion

Sources: Tilt-Up Concrete Association, Mt. Vernon, Iowa; CP staff

New York-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA) has joined a design and construction team providing pro bono services for a Highlands, N.J., concrete structure overlooking Sandy Hook, an area hit hard in October 2012 by Hurricane Sandy. Tilt-Up Concrete Association member Alston Construction Co. is leading the project toward an early-October dedication.TCA 400

The tilt-up concrete memorial will be cast from mixes bearing Highlands beach sand and shells. Looking beyond a monument that can only be viewed, to a pavilion and gathering space, notes TWBTA chief Tod Williams, “Three conical oculi in the roof canopy will join to reflect the coming together of the community, both residents of Highlands and all those affected by Sandy, to help to rebuild.”

“Most tilt-up building projects involve vertical wall panel surfaces orthogonally arranged to best capture the economic efficiencies associated with the method. This does not have to be the case,” explains project engineer David Tomasula, managing principal with LJB Inc. “It is exciting to see the creativity the entire design team has brought to this project, especially the combination of surfaces (flat bottom, sloped top, and the varying surface of the oculi) that comprise the site-cast tilt-up roof panel. With the durability that building owners recognize in tilt-up concrete, this memorial will be a permanent reminder of the perseverance following Sandy.”

“Hurricane Sandy was an indelible demonstration of the power of nature and fortitude of community,” adds TWBTA principal Billie Tsien. “In our architecture we have consistently used concrete because of its ability to last as well as its potential for underlying beauty. The pavilion will be … a communal place of gathering that symbolizes the grounding of home, while also connecting to an aspiration of unity.”

“TWBTA’s focus on public work, their exploratory approach and masterful application of material and texture were just three of the many reasons we approached them to lead this project,” notes TCA Executive Director Mitch Bloomquist. TCA is spearheading the memorial under the Community Project Program, a five-year old effort encouraging collaboration between its diverse network of member companies and local stakeholders. Members review candidate projects during their annual convention.