NJIT's Thomas Dallessio and Darius Sollohub (left and center) speaking with John Camera, Seaside Heights Borough administrator, about recovery after Hurricane Sandy. Photo: Keith Krumwiede
NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design (COAD) is energetically involved in helping New Jersey recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. The university has established a post-Sandy recovery program of research, design and case-study projects that will provide state and local leaders, business owners and residents with 21st -century expertise and ready-to-build designs for recovery in hard-hit areas.A brain-storming session for COAD students will be held Dec. 13, 2012 (10 a.m.–noon) at NJIT. Professionals with experience rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina will detail their insights into the process and students will be urged to consider ways to help their local or surrounding towns hurt by the hurricane. (ATTENTION REPORTERS: To attend, contact Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436, Sheryl.firstname.lastname@example.org.)
At the outset, the NJIT program will focus on three initiatives: organizing “(Re)Build New Jersey Strong,” a weeklong community service project during spring break 2013 when NJIT students, faculty and alumni will help residents, businesses and local officials recover from the storm; creating a clearinghouse for other academic institutions, businesses and non-government organizations to share information, expertise and assistance; and developing resilient “prototypologies” — practical designs for housing, mixed-use development and public buildings. These initiatives will help residents, businesses and communities recover more quickly, build capacity for resilient design and create new opportunities for products and services that are “New Jersey Strong.”
Adjunct faculty member Thomas Dallessio AICP/PP is the “Resilient Design” project manager, under the guidance of lead investigators COAD Dean and Professor Urs Gauchat, Hon. AIA, and Professor Darius Sollohub, AIA, director of the New Jersey School of Architecture. Last month, Dallessio, Sollohub and COAD Associate Professor Keith Krumwiede were joined by Kenneth Schwartz FAIA, dean of the Tulane School of Architecture, at meetings with city officials in Perth Amboy and Seaside Heights.
Going forward, NJIT anticipates funding for a new commitment to civic engagement by faculty and students to develop designs and construction techniques that will better withstand natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding on barrier islands and at other shore areas, as well as in urban and suburban New Jersey. Short- and long-term goals will complement work under way by federal, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations and civic entities to protect the environment and enhance the quality of life along the shore, in Newark, and in Bergen and Hudson Counties.
In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, NJIT intends to build a network of engaged professionals and expand its research, planning and implementation efforts to serve as a clearing house for innovation that will not only rebuild in a more sustainable manner, but also export architectural ideas and products that will address natural disasters.