Small and Great Ends by White Arkitekter

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One year after Hurricane Sandy took its toll on New York, Swedish architectural practice White Arkitekter, along with partners Arup and Gensler, were announced winners of an international two-phased design competition to redevelop the waterfront of Rockaway, Queens, which was particularly hard-hit by the effects of the superstorm.

Site plan | © White Arkitekter

The FARROC [For a Resilient Rockaway] competition was launched in April 2013 by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development to solicit creative ideas for resilient development strategies, to be implemented initially on an 80+ acre site on the Rockaway Peninsula, Arverne East, as well as providing a blueprint for future redevelopment along the coastline.

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White Arkitekter’s competition submission, one of 117 international entries, was a collaboration with Arup and Gensler and was shortlisted along with three other schemes by practices in the USA, Canada and the UK.

© White Arkitekter

The winning scheme, ”Small Means and Great Ends”, proposes a series of interconnected small-scale interventions with multiple functions that together form a resilient network designed for extreme environmental conditions. The proposal acknowledges the forces of extreme weather and future uncertainties, creating a landscape that interacts and does not counteract, relating to the forces ‘like a surfer to the waves’.

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© White Arkitekter


The extensive programme ranges from hurricane resiliency strategies, such as artificial islands to reduce the impact of forceful waves, to housing, a variety of public and commercial amenities, retirement homes, large landscaped parks and other characteristics that combine to make an attractive and sustainable neighbourhood.
The community of Arverne East and its resilience is at the heart of the scheme.

© White Arkitekter


”Arverne East is a place with a strong identity. Thousands of residents of Arverne East lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy. But the disaster also led to a stronger sense of community in the area. The essence of White’s proposal is to channel the residents’ involvement and provide them with new tools to act and react in the community’s interest. With our Scandinavian approach, we believe we can strengthen and enrich the community and provide the opportunity for the community to realize their dreams.” – Sander Schuur, Project Architect, White Arkitekter

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© White Arkitekter

“This is a clear acknowledgement of White Arkitekter’s strength in creating sustainable solutions from a broad perspective with a strong social agenda.” – Monica von Schmalensee, CEO of White Arkitekter

Arverne East, FarRockaway, Queens, New York, U.S.A.
Design Firm | White Arkitekter
Consultants | Arup, Gensler

About Damian Holmes 3231 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at