Winning designs will be presented during the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship May 19 at the United Nations, New York City, NY.
Floods and Rising Sea Levels - The power of crowdsourcing.
This project is sponsored by Arx Pax and hosted by Arcbazar with the purpose of proposing real solutions to the threat of floods and rising sea levels.
We accept climate change as self-evident and want to challenge humanity’s deeply ingrained and fatalistic notion that we are powerless against the forces of nature. How does one fight an earthquake or a flood? You don’t…but that doesn’t mean you are powerless.
Fighting Mother Nature is a losing proposition. Stronger buildings help, but they are not the only answer. We need to learn to better build in harmony with our environs, and we need to use all the tools at our disposal in that endeavor. This requires a fundamental shift in how our built environment is designed with regard to the forces of natural disasters, and in how we think about and prepare for our capacity to manage catastrophe.
What follows is the design problem and a new set of tools Arx Pax is making available to accompany the approach of building more in harmony with Mother Nature.
Using Arx Pax’s three part foundation system, redesign New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward so that it is no longer subject to flooding and hurricane driven storm surge.
Demonstrate the following inherent capabilities of a flexible, “living,” foundation system.
1. Constant or periodic ability for large areas to float.
• See technical drawings
• Use land forms (swales, existing levees etc.) to redirect primary wave energy.
• Rule of thumb, three stories are able to float in 1 meter depth.
• Consider the containment vessel as a single structure around the entire community and/or several independent or interconnected containment vessels.
• The buffer medium, water or brackish water, should naturally circulate and be integrated with naturally occurring water features. Structures can rise and fall with the tide.
2. Demonstrate the ability to reconfigure communities, buildings and uses. For example, a park could circulate around the community serving various areas a month at a time.
3. Demonstrate the ability for buildings to rotate through the course of the day for more efficient solar, view capture, breeze canalization, etc.
4. Design for integrated mixed use. Provide for balanced residential, retail, office, with enough low income housing to meet current occupancy.
5. Offer a potential destination, high end residential and hotel with inherent tax base for future local use. Provide obvious economic incentive.
6. Integrate causeways and circulation to allow for both boats, autos, and mass transportation.
7. Enable and prioritize pedestrians and human powered transportation solutions.
8. Demonstrate the capability of historic preservation. Show existing structures that have been relocated to the new foundation system.
9. Using the best local examples accentuate and respect New Orleans’ existing character. Move a threatened iconic New Orleans historic building to the Lower Ninth Ward?
10. Incorporate and enhance flood tolerant natural open spaces.
11. Incorporate local floating gardens and large scale local natural habitats that otherwise would be lost to flooding.
12. Demonstrate new commercial business possibilities with modular, reconfigurable, flexible office parks.
13. Stretch! Explore the full range of possibilities.
Arx Pax doesn’t have all the solutions. Do not get bogged down however, in details or techniques that have been already demonstrated in other areas. For example, flexible utilities (water, electricity, sanitary sewer etc.) used in marine environments already exist and can be assumed to be readily adaptable to the flexible solutions you present. The same is true for access, both vehicular and pedestrian. Causeways and bridges can all be part of the solution.
Arx Pax [Latin: citadel, peace] Has developed and patented building systems that allow for responsible development in areas of the world subject to natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods and rising sea levels.
This is the first design challenge in what we hope to be a series, to bring attention to architectural and engineering solutions that are available now, royalty free to the developing world starting with the immediate threat of rising sea levels.
Time is of the essence.
Please study the documents on the FILES tab for a better understanding of our proposed building system.
Phase I Here’s where we hope to inspire you.
The winner of phase I will have their conceptual designs presented by the CEO of Arx Pax, Architect Greg Henderson, to the World Summit of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the United Nations on May 19.
Phase II Here's where we hope to really inspire you!
Each designer or design team's efforts will be saved and made available to anyone who would like to advance that project. The winning designers will be invited to participate in another project which would ideally be the first real world application of this technology in a project and location to be announced later.
Our goals are simple: To change how we think about our built environment, to learn how to better build in harmony with mother nature, to save lives, property, and communities from natural disasters.
Life often holds the answers.
The natural world has evolved with purpose, let us learn from nature's examples. There is a better way to build and you can help discover it.
Look for answers from unsuspecting sources by studying other's partial solutions.
China's controversial island building in the South China Sea is one example. How can the global design community learn from what they are doing? If we imagine they are locally sourcing construction materials, then let's learn from them with regard to the cost effective production of local concrete ideally using salt water, dredged sand, and basalt reinforcement.
Japan's Mega Float project; a floating concrete runway in the Tokyo Bay provides a good example of a large structure made from steel and concrete modular units that were assembled at sea.
The solutions that will be presented here should be applicable in coastal and island communities around the world.
Life rocks! And biomimicry is a powerful design tool.
The coral reef is a perfect example of a structure that has evolved to dissipate wave energy through its natural formations. Scale will be a fundamental issue in this design problem. Tackling a single residence is insufficient and at too small a scale to be effective unless one defines how that single home relates to its neighbors. Consider first the macro view of the coral reef. How each coral polyp's home works with its neighbors to build the larger structure that benefits all.
This challenge demands the designer think big, while not losing track of the individual user experience. What will it be like to work, play and live in this new environment?
Consider all mediums to convey your ideas. Animation flyovers (or flyunders!) may be appropriate.
Avoid brute strength in structure. It is expensive and fighting mother nature is a losing proposition.