Redesigning New York’s Waterfronts

Hurricane Sandy's Damage in Dumbo Brooklyn

Hurricane Sandy’s Damage in Dumbo Brooklyn

Sandy, storm of the century, reeked havoc on 1/3 of  the US over the past few days and devastated many east coast cities, namely New York.

Many sections of the Manhattan waterfront were flooded.  The west side to Hudson Street, parts of the Lower East Side, Dumbo, Red Hook, Queens and Long Island City were submerged in water.  One wonders, could this have been prevented?

Over two years ago, MoMA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center created The Rising Currents exhibit.  The exhibit showcased five projects that addressed the concern for climate change over the next five years and how it will drastically effect Manhattan’s waterfront.

The harbor was divided into five areas and given to five teams (composed of members of n Architects-in-residence program at P.S.1).  Their goal, according to the Rising Currents project, was to “re-envision the coastlines of New York, and New Jersey around the New York harbor and to imagine new ways to occupy the harbor with adaptive soft infrastructures that are sympathetic to the needs of a sound ecology”.

The Rising Currents exhibition ran from March 24, 2010 to October 11, 2010.  Its unfortunate that a natural disater like Sandy had to happen before New York opened it’s eyes to the inevitable destruction.

The harbor divided into 5 zones

The harbor divided into 5 zones

Potential plan for zone 0 to stop sewage overflow and block higher sea levels

Potential plan for zone 0 to stop sewage overflow and block higher sea levels

nArchitects, Zone 3: An archipelago of man-made islands lines the coast of Staten Island and Brooklyn. These islands not only filter the storm waves, but will be programmed with specific functions to accommodate the expected spike in the population.

What’s New In Architecture: Cutting Edge Technology

Holiday Inn is set to initiate a first in the hospitality industry.  In a handful of it’s properties, new “Open Ways” technology will let guests use their iPhone (or other smart phone) as your room key.  The idea is that guests who want a faster check-in experience can give the hotel their phone number at the time the reservation is made.  The hotel then sends them the “Open Ways” app that they can download to their phone.  Two or three days before arrival the hotel will text the guest their room number and a unique, encrypted sound code that they can use to unlock their room door.  Each lock will also contain the traditional room key device in case a guest’s phone loses power or gets left in the room, but the new technology is intended to make things easier for their guests.  Only time will tell if the technology will catch on but there are certainly many skeptics about how secure and effective the system is.   Some have questioned whether someone else could copy the sound with a recording device and then use it later to access the room.  Open Ways insists that the sound is encrypted and that if the sound is recorded and then replayed, the cryptology will prevent the sound from being accepted by the lock device.  Others have wondered if a phone gets lost or stolen if room security would be compromised.  Open Ways says there would be nothing on the phone or within the application installed that would identify the hotel or room which the application works to open doors.  Therefore it is no less secure than a traditional key card that might get lost or stolen and, in fact, since the code is not stored on the phone itself, but on a secure server, there is even more protection.  One last concern many potential users have is that Open Ways would have access to credit card information.  They say that the only information that the hotel transmits to them is the phone number which they use to communicate with you.  There is no reason that they need, or would get the credit card information from the hotel with which the reservation is made.

To see some videos to explain the system further visit:

Open Ways iPhone Apps  for Guests

Open Ways to Open Doors

Hospitality Tech

R4 has completed several hotel projects that were constructed with hollow core concrete planks. A common problem with hollow core planks is water entering the cores.

Rainwater can enter the cores during site storage. Water from core drilling machines usually drains into the cores. Water in the cores can migrate into adjacent gypsum board surfaces which may result in mold or mildew. Tilting each plank before installation can help drain rainwater in the cores from site storage. Water captured from the core drilling machines can be released by drilling small pilot holes at quarter points along the axis of the cores. (Always consult the structural engineer before drilling any holes) It’s always good practice to grout all joints and ends of the plank as soon as possible to prevent rainwater from entering the cores.