Sandy Design Help Desk Meets Red Hook

Sandy Design Help Desk Meets Red Hook

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Feb 20, 2014
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On Saturday February 8th, the second edition of the Sandy Design Help Desk commenced at Red Hook Volunteers in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

For three days, 28 volunteers worked with more than a dozen clients to provide guidance on over 20 buildings in Red Hook housing over 40 families and businesses. The volunteer architects reviewed repair and retrofit issues for rowhouses, apartment buildings, machine shops and mixed use buildings that don’t readily adapt to the City’s zoning and building codes, while providing alternative and interpretive strategies that fulfill the intent of these codes. Clients had questions about wet and dry-flood-proofing methods, protection of mechanical systems, vacating ground floor space below the flood elevation, and egress issues to name a few. In addition, clients benefitted from the services of Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Neighborhood Housing Services who provided input on flood insurance, financing and funding strategies.

Special thanks to all of our generous volunteers and the Fifth Avenue Committee for collaborating with the Help Desk partnership of Enterprise Community Partners; Pratt Center for Community Development; Architecture for Humanity New York Chapter; NYC’s Office of Housing Recovery, Housing Preservation & Development, Department of Buildings and City Planning.



A Resilient Design Workshop preceded the Help Desk event on Thursday February 6th, where former City Planner Alex Washburn, and architects Illya Azaroff, Deborah Gans, and Gita Nanden presented their building and neighborhood resilient design work with participants - clients, students and community groups in Red Hook, that has followed Hurricane Sandy's destruction. Amongst the various resilient design strategies including flood vents, backwater valves and shutters, a common theme that emerged was that to achieve resilience, you must include your neighbors in the conversation - infilling the basement of one structure will have an impact on adjacent structures when they are separated by party walls.

Coming up next: On February 22nd in conjunction with NY Rising’s Public Engagement Meeting, Architecture for Humanity and partners will present a summary of the Sandy Design Help Desk and key findings at the Red Hook Resiliency Innovations Event from 3-6pm at Realty Collective 351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn. Entry is free, but the doughnuts will cost you.

In the closing days of October 2012, Hurricane Sandy carved a path through the Caribbean before moving up the Atlantic and turning inland at New Jersey, striking many coastal towns. The storm moved north and created a storm surge that devastated the New York/New Jersey Metro area. The event caused major damage and loss of life.