This past weekend, the community of Seaside Heights was host to the first launch of the new REDC (Resilience Through Education and Design Center) program created by Architecture for Humanity. The center took place Friday July 18th, Saturday July 19th and Sunday July 20th from 10:00 am through 6:00 pm each day and was located at the Seaside Heights Community Center. The center served as initial design consultations for the many residents and property owners who are still in need of assistance for rehabilitating or rebuilding their properties after Hurricane Sandy. Staffing the center were over 20 architects who have dedicated their time and professional services to provide pro-bono design guidance for anyone who decided to attend.
Over the three day weekend, the center saw over a dozen properties who's owners all walked away with a thorough understanding of the options available to them. Many indicated desires to elevate their homes and the architects sketched out plans and elevations of what those homes would look like if the owners proceeded forward. Many of the clients were extremely grateful to have the architects hear their stories and help create a vision for reconstruction. One client even returned to the center the following day and brought enough lunch for all of the volunteers and staff!
The REDC was a success in Seaside Heights and now we are coordinating with the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group to analyze all of the properties that were discussed. Once mapped and vetted, the clients and architects in attendance will be contacted to continue forward with the design process and, once finalized, to also receive aid in constructing their new homes.
The REDC program is aiming to be established within other counties of coastal New Jersey, the five Boroughs of New York City and on Long Island. Stay tuned to see more about the homes in Seaside Heights and to learn about the local architects who are helping to make reconstruction a possibility.
Today Trinity Construction, who is the new construction firm that will be building the sun shade structures, met with the Project Team to walk through the proposed locations along the boardwalk. Both Dave (the owner) and Ed(the site foreman)asked questions and investigated the boardwalk's pile foundations to understand how they will begin tying in the sun shade's cantilevered construction. The (4) locations have been set and the construction is as follows:
-The first structure to be built will be between Blaine and Sumner Avenues.
-The second will be bewteen Sheridan and Hancock Avenues.
-The third will be between Carteret and Kearney Avenues.
-The final structure will be built between Hamilton and Franklin Avenues.
Dave and Ed will begin to order the materials and construction is expected to begin on Monday, July 28th. The first two sun shades will be completed in August and the last two will be open to the public by the end of September.
As the summer season is in full swing along the boardwalk, so too is the Restore the Shore program. The Borough of Seaside Heights officially opened its beaches for the second time after Hurricane Sandy on Memorial Day weekend and much of the community is restored and buzzing with activity.
The boardwalk is officially restored and contains new benches along the community. The Borough is actively collaborating with the neighboring community of Seaside Park to rebuild the businesses lost over last September's fire and construction crews can be seen working hard each day.
Restore the Shore's first accomplishment is the final installation of the donor boards from all those who graciously gave to the community in the days after the storm. Local signage company, Sign A Rama in neighboring Toms River, has been a wonderful collaborator in helping us to achieve this goal. Together, Architecture for Humanity and Sign A Rama have selected special specimens of the lumber needed to replace the boardwalk and have had it delivered from Virginia. Sign A Rama coordinated the routing of the donor boards down to the finest details and have even stepped above and beyond in taking on the responsibility of managing the installation process along the boardwalk. The donor boards look amazing and have already garnered much attention from visitors to the shore. Sign A Rama's meticulous attention to detail and dedication to the cause have helped to make the donor boards an integral component in the boardwalk reconstruction.
Another accomplishment in the making are Restore the Shore's boardwalk improvements and sun shade structures. Both Gensler and ARUP have been hard at work collaborating on the design process with Architecture for Humanity. Listening to the community's request to harken to the Borough's seaside heritage, the design team has created a traditional-styled pergola designed to accommodate up to ten people with shade and protection from the elements. The design also incorporates five foot cantilevered extensions from the boardwalk which will be overlooking the soon to come sand dunes. Working side-by-side with the Borough's Governing Body, the sun shades will embrace the beauty of wood construction and contain wooden details that contribute to the boardwalk's existing character. The final drawings for these structures have been signed by the architect and are currently in review by the Borough's Department of Buildings. We are expecting to have our permits in hand soon and are looking to start construction over the month of June.
Architecture for Humanity has also been exclusively working with MTV to coordinate the fabrication of the mobile Events Center. The Borough of Seaside Heights has provided an extensive list of all their needs and how the Events Center would be used throughout the community. MTV will be graciously managing the fabrication of the mobile stage and all of the enhancements that will allow it to function inland as well as on the beach. We are expecting to start the fabrication process in the month of June.
Lastly, Architecture for Humanity has been discussing with the Borough of Seaside Heights about the possibility of creating a program to help property owners rebuild their homes and businesses. The program will be called the R.E.D.C. - the Resiliency Through Education and Design Center. The Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group has shown great interest in collaborating on the program and both of our organizations are currently organizing the resources necessary to host a 3-day clinic in the community of Seaside Heights. Stay tuned for more updates on the REDC and to hear how Seaside Heights keeps evolving to become a summer destination and a resilient community for its residents.
The Project team has connected with the contractor and installer for the Donor Boards that were graciously given in the aftermath of the storm. Many of the boards are completed and installed along the boardwalk in the north end of the community. Only fifteen boards remain to be completed and the contractor listened without hesitation to our request to have them completed before the start of the Summer 2014 season. He will be visiting the installation site today to determine the last steps needed for all of the donors to be able to proudly visit the shore in the summer and know that their contribution was a part of the rebuilding process.
On the first Wednesday morning of April, Seaside Heights was buzzing with energy as the municipality started its preparations for the upcoming Spring/Summer seasons. The Restore the Shore team all met in the community for a day full of meetings and site observations. The first meeting of the day was with the Design team and it focused on investigating the the proposed locations for the sun shade structures. Both the Architect and Engineer inspected the boardwalk's structure to determine the best approach to create the cantilevered extensions with minimal impact to the surrounding beach resources. The second meeting was with the local Utility company and comprised of walk-through discussions on the proposed sites for the mobile Events Center. The Project team traced out the future locations for the stage and the Electrical Engineers approved of the installation of transformers on each site so the Events Center can host performing acts of all sizes regardless of the infrastructural requirements.
To continue the momentum, the Design and Project teams then met on the boardwalk with the Borough Administrator and the Mayor of the community to review the latest concept presentations for both the Events Center and the new sun shade structures. The Mayor was impressed with the direction the Events Center design was pursuing. The group also thought the sun shade structures were expressive and would create a beautiful and unique experience along the boardwalk. It was decided that the proposed concepts would be presented as photorealistic renderings at the next Governing Body meeting on April 16th for the town board to vote on the final design!
The Design team has designated Monday 03/24 as the kick-off for the Schematic design of the new mobile events center! The architects at Gensler will hold a four hour design charrette to dive into tensile and modular ideas and determine what would be the most meaningful for the community and the event center's use. Concurrently, the Design team is beginning to research fabricators and different construction methodologies for the fabrication process. The Project team is busy as well with the Borough Administration of Seaside Heights setting up a meeting with Mayor William Akers in the near future to finalize the selected sites for both the events center and the sunshade structures. Stay tuned to see the results of the charrette and the decisions made.
The Restore the Shore project has achieved it's first milestone! On Thursday March 13th, the Project and Design teams had a Pre-Application Review meeting with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the project's impacts on the natural resources throughout the barrier island community. The teams presented the pre-determined sites at Grant Avenue, Hiering Avenue, and along the beach both north and south of Casino Pier. Additionally, the teams presented several sites along Bay Boulevard and Barnegat Bay. The DEP representatives were thrilled to hear about the project and informed both teams that all proposed activities will be considered "unregulated" - meaning the project may proceed forward with no DEP permitting required. The Project and Design teams then presented the boardwalk improvements and sunshade structures to be installed throughout the community. The DEP also approved of these proposals for the boardwalk and informed the teams that a small modification to the existing permit should be all the permitting required. With the green light on both fronts, the Restore the Shore project can now move full steam ahead into design!!
The Restore the Shore project is beginning to gain momentum now that the Design and Project teams have reconvened on a redefined scope of work for the events center and boardwalk improvements. The following new parameters have been developed to inform the design:
- The Events Center should be mobile.
~~ Option A: The Events Center parts should be designed and fabricated to have axels and conform to street regulations.
~~ Option B: The Events Center parts should be designed and fabricated to transform (fold, stack, combine, etc.)and fit into portable containers which will have axels and can be collectively moved around the town.
- The Events Center should be temporary and should be permitted to be in operation for up to 180 consecutive days (approximately 6 months).
- The Events Center should be designed to accommodate the angle of the vehicular
ramps to allow for access to and from the beach for large summer concert series.
- The Events Center should be designed to accommodate the most narrow points on the boardwalk north of Casino Pier for seasonal festivals.
- The Events Center should be transformable to become compact for "movie night" and other smaller events hosted along the Bay.
Taking these parameters into consideration, the Project team is currently identifying locations throughout Seaside Heights to serve as site for the event center to circulate among. Based on the different conditions each site embodies, the event center will be programmed to promote and enhance each corner of the community. Additionally, the Project team has identified the locations for the proposed sunshade structures and boardwalk improvements:
~~ South of Casino Pier
- One sunshade along the boardwalk between Dupont Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.
- One sunshade along the boardwalk between Webster Avenue and Hamilton Avenue.
- One sunshade along the boardwalk between Blaine Avenue and Sumner Avenue.
~~ North of Casino Pier
- One sunshade along the boardwalk between Hancock Avenue and Fremont Avenue.
The Design team will be preparing diagrammatic sketches of the sunshades throughout the week and next week we will be discussing the impact on both the built community and the natural resources the sunshades and events center can have.
The Design and Project teams for this project came together and re-evaluated what it means to create an event center for the Seaside Heights community. After much discussion with agencies regulating the shore line and residents of the community, the idea of a mobile and temporary structure serving as the event center came into focus. Maybe this temporary structure circulates around the town and hosts different types of performances and art programs in different locations. Maybe it is designed in a manner to enhance the sites which host it for several weeks on end. Soo many creative ideas were thrown on the table and both teams are working hard to determine which combination would best serve the community and it's diversity of residents and visitors.
Tonight the Seaside Heights community was invited to join an Open House for the Restore the Shore project! Eighteen residents came out to participate in an active discussion and review the conceptual design, research and project developments to date. Wallpapering the local community center interior were a range of ideas for the event center and boardwalk sunshade structures from Gensler and site plans that show the proposed sand dunes for the shore. The American Planning Association provided examples and case studies of pedestrian transitions over the dunes between the beach and the boardwalk. The planners engaged the residents suggestions for safe spaces and view points. What was the most prominent idea taken away from the evening?...The concept of mobility and adaptation to the surrounding environment through a portable event space!
As I stroll through Seaside Heights, I am excited to observe the residents adaptations of their homes to residing in a beach community. Several homes are currently being elevated. It's quite a sight to view homes perched high in the air as construction takes place below to craft new foundations for them to rest upon. Ground floor spaces are becoming storage and garages equipped with flood vents to allow flood waters to flow through. Some elevated homes have already constructed their new entry stairs. I wonder how the streetscape will respond to these new changes? Only time can tell at this point but I am excited to see Seaside Heights mitigate future flood damage!
The design team for the event center is in full swing as the schematic design process moves along. Both the design and project teams met on site on Tuesday January 14th to discuss a variety of details, including a sneak peak of the latest conceptual design developments. Included in the discussion was input from Cerami, the audio/visual consultant who advised on space and equipment needs for a variety of performances and activities that the event center could host including regional music performances!
A representative of the local utility company, who was gracious enough to walk the site on a rainy day, discussed the power infrastructure available to make the event center a versatile and adaptable amphitheater.
Happy New Year from Seaside Heights!
With the holidays past and the calendar officially turned, this new year brings an air of collaboration for the event center project. The design team has proposed two schematic designs which incorporate the Army Corps' sand dunes into the overall site. Additionally, the American Planning Association signed on as an official collaborator! The planners will focus on strategies that provide pedestrians access over the sand dunes to the event center and beach.
With all of this collaboration, the Restore the Shore project is beginning to form into a holistic approach to community development. With aspects that focus on community building, design innovation and the promotion of resilience, our goal is for every person to be able to live in a socially, economically and environmentally healthy Seaside Heights for generations to come.
This week the Restore the Shore Design team saw a bustle of activity within the normally quiet community. The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed their plans to make the beaches along the Jersey shore resilient! How does one do this? Well the Army Corps of Engineers will be installing sand dunes along all of the coastal communities to help combat sea level rise and future storm surges. In addition to the sand dunes, the Army Corps will also be extending the beaches to preserve the current size and capacity for their abundance of visitors and beach lovers alike.
Since the proposed event center is currently being sited along the Seaside Heights shore front, the design team is on their toes with this new proposal. Calls are being made and emails are flying to coordinate with the federal agency. Will the design team be able to integrate the proposed event center into a larger design resounding resilience? Stay tuned to find out!
As the snow falls and winter settles in along the New Jersey coast, the shore front of Seaside Heights is alive with the bustle of the proposed event center's schematic design process. The surveyor is beginning to map the Site Plan in between the snow's falling flurries and on Tuesday December 10th, the Restore the Shore team collaborated on refining a site strategy and a detailed program with the future event center manager - Ms. Danielle Gries!
With notes scattered across the table, Ms. Gries, who is a resident of the small community and has managed large events in the past, planned out a variety of potential programs with the architect. The two discussed the equipment needed for small concert series and summer movie showings along the beach. The specific equipment needed for larger concerts was also strategized and Ms. Gries even discussed annual celebrations and community festivals. The architect, armed with an abundance of ideas, set off to gather the design team to begin to make this dream a reality.
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.