Within a month of the community design workshop that took place in Seaside Heights at the end of October, Architecture for Humanity collaborated with the architecture firm Gensler to officiate the start of schematic design on the Restore the Shore project!
Hosted at Gensler's Morristown (New Jersey) office, a dozen architects donated their lunch hour on November 15th to roll up their sleeves and discuss pertinent concepts that will inform the design process for recovery of the Boardwalk community. The studio walls were alive with site and acoustical analysis presentations from interns and consultants alike. The tables supported an abundance of site plans, programs and technical documents mixed amongst the rolls of trace paper and markers. With pencils in hand, the architects were attentive as the charrette kicked off with historic home videos of Seaside Heights spanning the 1960's and 70's. All commented on the vibrance of the boardwalk and how the town has been a fun destination for many generations. All discussed how Superstorm Sandy impacted the community and the goals of the Restore the Shore project. The group conducted a site analysis of the boardwalk and events center area. It wasn't long before the architects were delving into the important questions to better understand how to help and serve the focus community.
Shortly thereafter, the first sketches were produced and, as others put their pens to paper to capture their ideas, the room began to buzz with excitement. The sketches were pinned up and the charrette quickly transformed into a lively discussion. Ideas were built upon in a collaborative manner and the creative energy began to focus on developing schemes founded upon uniting the community's past with it's newly embraced identity for the future. The architects explored how they can create a fun sense of place through kid friendly installations along the series of proposed sun shading structures that will line the boardwalk. They embraced the idea to create an events center site that may function for residents throughout year and serve the various community activities that take place on the shore.
In the upcoming weeks, the architects at Gensler will refine the various sketches into four distinct schematic concepts. Each will be evaluated for its ability to address the community's needs expressed at the community design charrette and the spirit of the project. Check back around the holidays to see what develops!
After much anticipation and discussion, the Restore the Shore project kicked off the programming and design process for its new events center with a community design workshop. Held on the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, over sixty residents, business owners and community members came out to participate in the conversation. With the community center filled and hopes high for a vibrant post-Sandy Seaside Heights, the evening began with introductions by the Borough Administrator and many of the different organizations who are gracious enough to provide pro-bono services so this project may become an enduring reality. In attendance with Architecture for Humanity were representatives from the architecture firm Gensler, ARUP Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology's Center for Resilient Design, the New Jersey Planning Association, the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and numerous students from institutions along the eastern seaboard who had childhood memories in the coastal town.
Over the course of the evening, the workshop focused on two distinct scales of the community. The first addressed master planning elements of the barrier island and participants were engaged to think broadly about the community’s identity in their mapping activities. In one activity, participants were to tell their story of how the identity of Seaside Heights is perceived in regards to the community's growth and evolution over the past century. People wrote their stories on colored paper cut to resemble the planks of the newly constructed boardwalk, and as they taped their planks to the wall, collectively the stories grew to present a boardwalk collage of experience and engagement. As the workshop progressed, the scale of the activities narrowed and focused upon the proposed events center. The participants paired up with architects, engineers and planners to form design teams. Each team then tackled the fundamental concepts for the design process and sketched ideas concerning site location, programming, form, circulation and potential site views. Each of the participants were presented with precedents of similar events center projects and had the opportunity to vote on those they felt best represented the charm of Seaside Heights.
At the conclusion of the evening, the workshop brought the community together in a unified voice on how the Restore the Shore project can help Seaside Heights recovery from Hurricane Sandy and achieve its vision for resilient growth. With generations serving as the anchor of what once was, many stepped up to craft the vision for the future generations to come....A historic coastal community where families can be nurtured and residents live in harmony with the natural environment.
On September 12, the residents of Seaside Heights, New Jersey were affected by a devastating fire that destroyed the southern end of the newly rebuilt boardwalk. The Borough of Seaside Heights is determined to move forward with the design and planning of the new events center near Blaine Ave on the boardwalk. Residents will gather on October 29 to envision their new events center at a community design workshop led by our Sandy team and project partners.
We are happy to share this invitation to the community:
"Join us for an evening of ideas and visioning for the planning and design of the new Events Center for the Borough of Seaside Heights!We welcome your participation in creating a vision for the new Events Center to be enjoyed by residents and visitors for many years to come. The Borough of Seaside Heights will be joined by non-profit partner Architecture for Humanity to lead this exciting conversation. Together with the architects at Gensler and funding partner MTV, these organizations welcome your ideas, thoughts and creative energy for an Events Center and boardwalk improvements that will benefit the community and enhance the renowned boardwalk and shore of Seaside Heights.
The community workshop with be held on October 29th, 2013 from 5:30 – 7:30pm at The Seaside Heights Community Center at 1000 Bay Blvd, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751. We invite you to bring your ideas for your community and hope to see you there for a fun and exciting evening!"
Seaside Heights, New Jersey and the surrounding communities continue to rebuild from the damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy.
On the evening of Tuesday July 9, 2013 the New Jersey Department of Transportation unveiled the state’s plans for the reconstruction and repairs to Route 35, the major thoroughfare linking Point Pleasant to Island Beach State Park. The kickoff for this much needed project will take place in late July in Seaside Heights at the intersection of Routes 37 and 35 and provide for a more enjoyable and safer travel experience for everyone coming to the shore.
Seaside Heights and Architecture for Humanity are currently gearing up for our first design charrette for the Seaside Heights Events Center and Gateway in an effort to get input and ideas from interested property and business owners, visitors, and authorities. Seaside Heights has made strides with new projects and the reconstruction of the boardwalk at the northern end of town.
Architecture for Humanity continues our commitment of assisting those in the hardest hit areas of New Jersey and the Northeast by working with our partners to move our current projects along while reaching out to new communities in a continuing effort to provide necessary assistance.
Numerous homes and businesses are still in need of financial and construction assistance, and traffic at the beaches and restaurants haven’t returned to normal. However, on the evening of Tuesday July 9, we did witness something inspiring. As we drove to the mainland over the Mantoloking bridge, damaged by the storm and reopened earlier this year, coming towards us was a long line of cars extending West, all intending on getting to the Jersey Shore and resuming their family summer traditions. #stts, #jerseystrong
In the months after Hurricane Sandy did its best to destroy many coastal and inland communities of New Jersey and the Northeast Region of the United States, many feared that it might be a long time before this vacation destination returned to normal.
From the moment the hurricane dissipated, local, state, and federal officials worked feverishly to get as much debris cleared and the necessary infrastructure restored and recover a sense of normalcy.
In the case of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, "normal" means countless numbers of beach goers and boardwalkers - everyone from families to retirees to teenagers and twenty-somethings working on their tans, running into the still chilly Atlantic, and lighting up the arcade and boardwalk games from Porter Avenue North to Hiering Avenue. The smells and aromas of pizza, grilled sausage and peppers, and funnel cake permeate the air - as do the shouts and calls of the barkers at the Boardwalk arcade parlors.
The work by the myriad government officials, business owners, residents, construction crews, and volunteers to get to this point cannot be overstated.
With the rebuilding of the boardwalk that extends along the shore of Seaside Heights, we are now in the full swing of things. Our collective attention begins to focus on the work of rebuilding the Hiering Street Performance Pavilion and developing a new gateway to Seaside Heights at the base of the Route 37 Bridge.
Recent meetings between Architecture for Humanity, MTV, and the officials of Seaside Heights have made continued progress on clarifying the scope and direction of these reconstruction projects. The teams are now poised to begin assembling the more public aspects of the project, including planning and announcing design charrettes, public meetings, and further introducing the project teams to the community and project funders.
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