Rebuild By Design> BIG's "BIG U" for Lower Manhattan

Rebuild By Design> BIG's "BIG U" for Lower Manhattan

The "Big U" wraps around Battery Park. (Courtesy BIG)
The "Big U" wraps around Battery Park. (Courtesy BIG)
The “Big U” wraps around Battery Park. (Courtesy BIG)

In early April, the ten finalists in the Rebuild By Design competition unveiled their proposals to protect the Tri-state region from the next Sandy. And in the near future, a jury will select a winner—or winners—to receive federal funding to pursue their plans. But before that final announcement is made, AN is taking a closer look at each of the final ten proposals. Here’s BIG’s “Big U” that could save Lower Manhattan from the next superstorm.

Team BIG encased Lower Manhattan in  the “Big U,” a ring of flood protection measures and community and recreational programming. The 10-mile system is separated into compartments that provide unique storm mitigation strategies and programming for the distinct communities along Manhattan‘s outer edge.

On the East Side, the Bridging Berm protects against future storms and provides access to riverfront parkland when the waters are calm. Underneath the FDR Expressway, BIG would install panels that are decorated by local artists and can be deployed as storm-walls when necessary. A new berm in Battery Park would protect the country’s financial center and provide a new pathway through the already popular public space. And an existing Coast Guard building is replaced with a “reverse aquarium,” which “enables visitors to observe tidal variations and sea level rise while providing a flood barrier.”

The "reverse aquarium." (Courtesy BIG)
The “reverse aquarium.” (Courtesy BIG)

The team includes One Architecture, Starr Whitehouse, James Lima Planning + Development, Project Projects, Green Shield Ecology, AEA Consulting, Level Agency for Infrastructure, Arcadis, and the Parsons School of Constructed Environments.

BIG's plan for the FDR Expressway. (Courtesy BIG)
BIG’s plan for the FDR Expressway. (Courtesy BIG)
BIG's berm. (Courtesy BIG)
BIG’s berm. (Courtesy BIG)