NYC Parks Beach Restoration Modules, New York City

The team's challenge was to quickly replace dozens of public lifeguard and comfort stations along New York City's Superstorm Sandy-battered shoreline. Work included designing and installing 35 factory-built, flood-proof structures on beaches in three boroughs just seven months after the storm.

The quick turnaround was critical as the units would be installed in highly trafficked areas, and the city was eager for its severely damaged beaches to reopen in time for the 2013 summer season.

To meet the aggressive schedule, each building was built as a factory-assembled module that could be installed with minimum impact to the communities and environment.

With a common chassis, the modules are designed with flexibility in mind. They can be modified for use as comfort or lifeguard stations or as offices while meeting a variety of site conditions.

With a liquid-metal-sprayed steel frame, the units were finished with marine-grade stainless steel and fiber-reinforced concrete on the exterior. They are 15 ft wide, 13 ft high and extend to 47 or 57 ft.

Carried through Pennsylvania and New Jersey on float bed trucks, the units were then loaded onto barges near where they were to be installed. They were then hoisted by crane and sling to pilings previously set in place. Each one was mounted atop concrete legs that are higher than the 500-year flood level.

Mostly arranged in pairs, the modules are connected by a series of ramps and landings made of aluminum gangplanks. These provide access to and from the beach and boardwalk to reduce field labor and maintain as small a footprint as possible on the beach.

Designed to stand tall even during rough weather, the structures are equipped with photovoltaic roof arrays and solar water heating and are net-metered to the electrical grid. Each can produce enough energy to meet its daily needs.

The modules are naturally lit and ventilated via continuous clerestories and skylights. Sunlight is reflected onto glass tile ceilings via polished stainless steel attachments for the black locust louvers.

One judge praised the team for working with numerous stakeholders and meeting new storm resiliency requirements with a "welcoming design" for the community.

Another said the effort "not only gave these government beach facilities a face lift but also branded the typology, which can and will become recognized by all going forward."

Key Players

Owner NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation, NYC Dept. of Design and Construction

Construction Manager Jacobs Project Management Co.

General Contractor Triton Structural Concrete Inc.

Lead Designer Garrison Architects

Structural Engineer Anastos Engineering

Foundation Structural/Civil Engineer McLaren Engineering

MEP Engineer Plus Group

Landscape Architect Mathews Nielson Landscape Architects

Graphic Designer Pentagram

Modular Component Contractor Deluxe Building Systems