News
09.30.2013
A New Ocean View
RKLA redesigns a Rockaways landscape for resiliency.
Courtesy RKLA and Avoid Obvious

Since suffering severe damage during Hurricane Sandy last fall, Ocean Village, a beachfront low-income housing complex in the Rockaways, has been due for a landscape makeover. Now, the site’s 13 acres of open space are undergoing a complete redevelopment as part of a collaborative effort between Robin Key Landscape Architecture (RKLA) and OCV Architects. The plan includes recreation areas, waterfront plantings, and a central axis to the shoreline boardwalk.

The first phase of the project began soon after last year’s devastating storm, when L+M Development Partners took ownership of the flooded and wind-wrecked site. Much refurbishment has been completed on the apartment buildings, including new insulated siding added to the exteriors. However, the current landscape is mostly constructed of concrete. There are a few mature trees within and a basketball court in disrepair. Because of its location on the shoreline, RKLA and OCV Architects will raze the complex’s hardscape and give the new Ocean Village a natural focus.

 

At the end of the property, a concrete boardwalk stamped with wood allows residential access to the beach. However, it is used by very few. In their design, RKLA and OCV Architects have included the boardwalk, minimally damaged by the storm, as an important link between the residences and the beach. It concludes the central, tree-lined axis and creates an ocean view through the property. The renovated basketball court, as well as several new playgrounds and benches, are also sited here.

“We really tried to create a connection between the beach, boardwalk, and property,” said Gareth Mahon of RKLA. “Most of the active space of the site is located near the beach.”

The improved Ocean Village will include 300 new trees and increased pedestrian access paths within building courtyards. Native plants, salt-tolerant and resilient to both wind and sea-spray, allude to the nearby shoreline. So far, demolition has begun and planting is scheduled to begin this fall. RKLA and OCV Architects hope their work will uplift the complex and convince residents to enjoy their ocean view.

Elizabeth Fazzare