The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force recently announced the 10 finalists in a regional design competition aimed at promoting innovation in resilient buildings after Hurricane Sandy. The winners represent some big names in design, including the Office of Metropolitan Architecture and Sasaki Associates.

Among the more than 130 hopefuls cut is Team Phase US, which was pushing amphibious new buildings and retrofits. "This is a big disappointment," says team leader Elizabeth C. English, founder-director of the nonprofit Buoyant Foundation Project.

English has been on a crusade for amphibious building construction and retrofits for more than six years (ENR 8/12 p. 30). None of her schemes, including a $20,000 retrofit for a "shotgun" house in New Orleans that was prototype-tested, has been built.

The big problem, she says, is that the boat-like buildings—land-based, unless they float up within guide posts during a flood—do not qualify for inexpensive National Flood Insurance because they are not statically and permanently elevated.

The four-stage design competition is aimed at developing "innovative projects to protect and enhance Sandy-affected communities" that ultimately will be built, says HUD. The list of winners and details are available at www.rebuildbydesign.org.

Over 140 teams from more than 15 countries submitted proposals. Competition sponsors include the Rockefeller Foundation and JPB Foundation as well as the New Jersey Recovery Fund and the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.

The next eight-month phase of the competition includes analysis and design. Projects that come out of the entire process will be evaluated by a jury of experts in hazard mitigation, resilience, public health, landscape architecture, urbanism, real estate, design and other fields.


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