FloodLAB, an education pavilion and boat house for the New York Restoration Project, expresses resilience and sustainability along a tidal flood zone— a new publicly-accessible gateway to the Harlem River waterfront. As the site is subject to potential storm surges of six feet due to the rising sea level, our landscape strategies celebrate and enhance the sustainable coastal ecologies that are native to the area. FloodLAB transforms a derelict site into an engaging educational destination— the architecture and a new waterfront promenade include a range of teaching tools to explore water stewardship and the biodiversity of the natural habitats at the water’s edge. Ecological zones organize a series of saline terraces and reflect naturally occurring habitats that will vary with tidal influence. Our site and buildings will be resilient to tidal and flood influences.
FloodLAB serves as both a classroom and a working laboratory for field work and experiments. There are two buildings connected by a boardwalk promenade and boat launch dock. One building houses twenty four rowing shells and equipment. The other buildings serves as the education pavilion. The education pavilion and boat house are equipped with deployable work tables for experiments & display, trellises for growing plants and drying specimens, a water table for water experiments using harvested rainwater, and mesh ‘storage piers’ to keep equipment safe and dry. A faceted corrugated roof on both buildings provides shade and channels rainwater into 5 cisterns to store 2,800 gallons of water. Water from the cisterns will be used to wash boats, classroom gear, and irrigate plants on the site.
A new boat dock becomes a protective arm around the shoreline- it diffuses tidal wave action so a protected eelgrass colony can thrive. Wood piles extend into the soil and provide firm bearing for the building with minimum site impact; flood waters will move in and out of the underside of the building and drain easily. The system is durable, easy to maintain, and also appropriate for the site conditions. Gabions around the base of the buildings and staging area help to slow, contain, and clean flood waters and allow for easy drainage. The metal mesh and corrugated metal façade is open and porous, bringing in light and air while enabling easy water movement in extreme flood conditions. The project uses reclaimed eastern white pine timber for the esplanade and boat staging areas.
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