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NJIT Students and Faculty Present Work at H209 Forum

Students and Faculty from NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design presented their studio work to an international audience dedicated to addressing water challenges for coastal cities from the Dutch Delta to New York Harbor. The H209 Forum, organized by the Henry Hudson 500, was held on Monday, September 9th in New York City and Tuesday, September 10th in Sea Bright, New Jersey.

Building on the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s entry into New York Harbor, the Forum brought together designers, policy experts, scientists, business leaders and environmental advocates to address challenges facing coastal communities with a focus on resilience. In doing so, the Forum attempts to decrease the risks for urban and coastal areas, and shape safer, more livable and amenity-rich communities.

The Forum began with keynote addresses by US HUD Secretary Donovan and Melanie Schultz Van Haegen, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment. Three teams then presented their work: Team Downtown, Team Jamaica Bay and Team Jersey Shore.

Team Jersey Shore was led by Tom Dallessio, Director of NJIT’s Center for Resilient Design, and included CoAD Associate Professor Keith Krumwiede and Assistant Professor Martina Decker, as well as students Anna Abrashina , Anton Mazyrko, Adam Morgan, Benazir Rowneki and Ashwin Yadev.  Professor Decker described the opportunities her students considered during last Spring’s studio when designing a bathhouse in Sea Bright. She challenged her students to research nanotechnology and employ materials that could meet multiple goals. Associate Professor Krumwiede highlighted the work his students undertook this past summer in a housing studio that analyzed conditions in Sea Bright and Union Beach, and proposed solutions that anticipated future natural disasters and promoted resilient design.

At Monday’s Forum, Adam challenged the audience to think about a sea wall as infrastructure that can also serve as a bathhouse using nanotechnology. Benazir and Ashwin designed a multi-family development that anticipates rising sea levels while embracing community interaction, creating new multi-level walkways that connect homes to the seawall and beach.  Commenting on the presentations, Tom Lewis from Louis Berger Associates found the concepts highly applicable to today’s environment and encouraged the students to continue their exploration of resilient design.

On Tuesday in Sea Bright, Esperanza Huerta joined the program and presented her studio work “Mantella Homes” which contemplates residential development on floating platforms. Ivette Meijerink from the Dutch Delta Commission, Niek Veraart from Louis Berger Associates and Lawrence Bash from Raymond James offered encouraging comments and recommendations for how to consider these projects in a post-Sandy environment.

Organized by NJIT’s Center for Resilient Design, the Team Jersey Shore enabled faculty and students to work with international experts, Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long and local officials to offer design expertise in a community severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Through applied research, field testing and community outreach, the Center helps residents, businesses, researchers and government officials to plan, recover and rebuild in a more resilient manner.