New Art Center 'Stilt City'

Located on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Stilt City will be an art community space created in a vacant bungalow, which had been flooded by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Founded by Brooklyn-based artist Robyn Renee Hasty, Stilt City will serve as an art and exhibition center that will sponsor a residency program for local artists.

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Stilt City

Hasty and New York City-based architecture firm, Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects (J/GA), envision the reconstruction of the building as a model for post-Sandy building, both in terms of its architectural strategies and in terms of the impact it will have on the social resiliency of the community, as well as the urban fabric. The design approach is focused on providing alternative rebuilding strategies for structures that cannot be elevated and offer low-impact design features that will safeguard against future floods.

To raise funds for Stilt City, a crowd-funding Kickstarter campaign will launch on November 20, 2014 with a fundraising goal of $100,000. These funds will be allocated towards construction and program development for the art center. Donation rewards for the campaign will include one-of-a-kind pieces of art, as well as experiences and events.

"The project was born out of the belief that artistic vision is essential to communities after crisis," says Hasty. Through the assistance of Architecture for Humanity and The 1% Program of Public Architecture, Hasty and J/GA have teamed up to reimagine the bungalow as a flexible art and community space.

The Stilt City collaboration has provided "the opportunity to demonstrate resilient design that preserves the existing character of the Rockaways," says J/GA principal Stephan Jaklitsch. "Design has the potential to act or counteract to repair the social fabric ... we had to frame the term 'resiliency' and understand that it is about social vulnerability as much as it is about the built environment," adds J/GA principal Mark Gardner. "We are able to influence the urban and social fabric in a positive way by opening the structure as much as possible to engage the community," concludes Jaklitsch.

The design created for Stilt City implements low-cost resilient features that will help mitigate future flood damage. "Because there was no money to raise the structure - we had to devise a different strategy to address future potential floods so we focused on low impact design alternatives," says Jaklitsch. Some of these low-impact alternatives include the replacement of hardscape with porous materials that will aid in natural drainage and reduce erosion; installation of mechanical equipment above the first story; and use of marine-grade plywood that provides resistance against mold and water damage.

The unique sloped roof is the most prominent architectural shift that accommodates a lofted living area to allow storage of items during a flood; it extends over the front porch to create a canopy and theatrical-like frame or stage. A new roll-up door opens the façade to the street and can remain open for enhanced visibility and accessibility during open studio sessions, exhibits and community programs, as well as to accommodate large sculpture and installation pieces. The exterior cladding is intended to change and evolve over time with contributions from the artists in residence so that the building itself will become an installation within the community-showcasing a collaboration of many skill-sets, many visions, and many hands.

About Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects

Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects (J/GA) is an award-winning, New York City-based architecture and design studio with an expertise in buildings, interiors, furnishings, and objects. Current projects include research and design for a sustainable beekeeping facility that will also serve as an apiary education center in Tanzania; the renovation and expansion of a historic estate in Hudson Valley, NY; a single-family residence in Putnam Valley, NY; and concept design for retail brand UNKNWN. J/GA has designed projects world-wide developing a diverse portfolio of various scales and typologies that include the Marc Jacobs Building in the Omotesando neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan (2010); reconstruction of a single-family residence in Provincetown, MA (2011); and design of Terrain Vase exclusively for the MoMA Design Store (2011).

J/GA's work has been exhibited widely and featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, Wallpaper, Elle Décor, Azure, Hinge, Frame, and Surface. The firm's monograph Stephan Jaklitsch: Habits, Patterns, Algorithms, published by ORO Editions (2008) showcases the studio's diverse projects.

The firm's principals, Stephan Jaklitsch and Mark Gardner, are actively involved in all stages of each project and operate under the principle that architecture and the built environment possess the ability to communicate collective values, provide relevance and create meaning through the experience of a place. They take the lead with research and investigations to develop an appropriate response to the unique needs of each project with sensitivity to context, materiality, form, space, light and sustainability goals.

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Source: Jaklitsch Gardner Architects

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