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1 / 9 general masterplan

delta city | 三角洲之城

Format | 形式: Research at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Boston, USA | 美國哈佛設計學院設計研究
Year | 年份: 2011
Type | 類型: urban masterplan | 城市設計
Size | 規模: 5 sqkm | 5 平方公里
Location | 地點: Willets Point, Queens, New York, USA | 美國,紐約,國王區

Exhibited at | 展覽: 2012 Rotterdam Architecture Biennale, Netherlands | 2012年荷蘭鹿特丹雙年展

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2 / 9 site conditions: topography, water pressure and flood risk

Willets Point in Flushing, Queens, New York is a heavily urbanized estuary whose ecological conditions have been subject to a serious degradation over the past century. It is also a relatively low and flat site, thus vulnerable to 100-years flooding.

位于紐約皇后區法拉盛的Willets Point是一個高密度的城市街區,這一河口地帶的生態環境從上世紀以來不斷地受到工業污染等嚴重損害。同時,這里地勢低洼平坦,一直面臨洪水的威脅。

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3 / 9 layers of intervention and final costal configuration

This project takes the current pressure for urban redevelopment as an opportunity to propose an innovative infrastructural framework for the site, exploring new urban typologies that are driven by ecological and environmental dynamics.


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4 / 9 dredging strategy and costal sectional studies

The current coastline, generated by a bulkhead of highly engineered seawalls marks a clear differentiation between water and land that rejects any form of tidal dynamics. In our project this existing infrastructure is substituted by a more resilient land-water interface that can gradually recover a healthy estuary ecology.


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5 / 9 building prototypes exploration

A series of tidal channels mitigates the flooding risk by releasing flood water to adjacent water bodies and green spaces during extreme storm events. The new channels structure and divide the site into a series of islands. Various buffer zones along the streams generate different types of urban open spaces and work as flood plains during the fluvial processes. Meanwhile, a system of storm water wetlands located upland delays the surface water runoff and treats the storm water before conveying it to the estuary bay.


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6 / 9 water system and building typologies

The concept of “living with flooding” is explored as an alternative model of inhabiting this problematic, fragile and complex ecological context. A strategy of vertical zoning is developed through a series of elevational relationships, intentionally allowing some areas (mostly parking, and open spaces) to be occasionally flooded during storm events, in order to prioritize the protection of the zones with denser urban development or strategic programmatic importance.


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7 / 9 vertical zoning and multi-layered circulation

The water system is also the key driver for the creation of a new network of open spaces, pedestrian paths and built volumes, triggering the emergence of new housing typologies, with innovative streetscapes and building–landscape relationships. Various modules and distributions of storm water wetlands create urban blocks of different sizes and a branching water network provides continuous pedestrian paths through all the open spaces. Punctual earthwork provides the site with a new micro-topography that collects and distribute storm water, while creating unique spatial conditions.


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8 / 9 general masterplan: bird view

These new features not only reactivate the estuary ecologies but also contribute to strengthen the local identity of the site, increasing its land value. In this way, the project generates a synergy between economy and ecology, so often conflicting with each other in the global context of environmental degradation and speculative urbanization.


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9 / 9 coastline tidal variation