Designed by New York’s Garrison Architects, the flood-resistant prefabricated parcels sit on a series of concrete pilings that elevate each unit above the current storm-surge levels recently updated by FEMA. The project is part of a $270-million restoration plan funded by New York City to revive the economic and cultural livelihood of the city’s coastal districts that were severely damaged last October by Hurricane Sandy, including Rockaway Beach, Coney Island and many of the beaches on Staten Island.
Measuring 17.4 metres in length, the modules house lifeguard stations, restrooms and offices, and they have been installed in pairs with ramps and stairs that connect directly to the beach and boardwalks. The pods are also energy efficient and equipped with solar panels and skylights that take advantage of natural light and air currents. They are expected to withstand future storms and remain in place permanently.
In order to push the project through as quickly as possible and ensure the stations would be up and running by beach season, the architects used prefab construction. While the stations were built in a factory, construction crews simultaneously prepared the foundations on site. The modules were then transported on flat bed trucks and set into place by cranes.
Some beachside homeowners have complained of obstructed views and others have been letdown by the fact the modules don’t have the vintage appeal places such as Coney Island are known and loved for. Still, others are comfortable knowing these stations are likely to withstand another extreme weather storm, even doubling as emergency shelters if needed.