We have always been interested in the dynamically changing edge that defines Coney Island as a territory. Historically, whether through error, embellishment, erosion, or evolution, the edge that defines Coney Island has always been fluid and dynamic. Indeed, we would posit that this fluid edge, and the concomitant illegibility or fuzziness of Coney Island’s borders are a fundamental component in the shaping of Coney Island’s identity: its unfixable boundary has permitted the emergence of a more promiscuous, licentious, open culture. We see the threat posed by both rising sea levels and the increasing risk of severe storm events as an opportunity to resuscitate Coney Island.
We seek to reconnect Coney Island to the greater Hudson River watershed, Jamaica Bay, and the Gateway National Park as a whole. We refuse to retreat, but realize the futility of staging of direct, oppositional resistance against the overwhelming forces of nature. Instead, we propose an ‘aikido’ response. Like the martial art, we would endeavor to redirect and divert these forces rather than merely try to obstruct them. Such an approach would reestablish the fluid edge that has always defined Coney Island, while at the same time attenuate the effects of storm surges and create a natural marsh ecosystem.
Our urban approach has three interrelated foci: manipulations of the ground and water edge (cut and fill dredging and artificial islanding), the construction of an elevated infrastructural network that would compose a new and stable ground plane that would anchor elevated architectural interventions, and, finally, an architectural/infrastructural system that stitches the two together.