The public initiative ‘Rebuild by Design’ aims to correct the structural and environmental vulnerabilities that Hurricane Sandy exposed, and develop solutions to protect residents against future climate catastrophes. The Big U is a project to protect a 16-kilometer coastline stretching from West 57th Street to The Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan, and from there up to East 42nd.

The operation encompasses multiple but linked design initiatives on different scales of size, time, and investment, addressing the needs and desires of perimetral neighborhoods. The area is divided into three sectors that function autonomously against floods. The systems used depend on the dimensions and characteristics of each segment, and include walls, embankments, and natural drainage zones in parklands, besides mobile screens under the FDR Drive which can alternate as canopies and barriers for holding back water. Nevertheless, the main point of the project is combining technical infrastructures with amenities – parks, sports facilities, natural swimming pools, cultural pavilions – that link the edge of Lower Manhattan to the rest of the city, turning it into an effervescent and emblematic hub of activity.


Cliente Client

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Arquitectos Architects

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

Socios responsables Partners in charge: Bjarke Ingels, Kai-Uwe Bergmann,

Thomas Christofferson

Jefe de proyecto Project leader: Jeremy Alain Siegel, Daniel Kidd

Equipo de proyecto Project team: Blake Theodore Smith, Choonghyo Lee, Dammy Lee, Daniel Jackson Kidd, David Dottelonde, David Spittler, Iben Falconer, Jack Lipson, Jeremy Alain Siegel, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Kenneth Amoah, Kurt Nieminen, Sun Yifu, Thomas Christoffersen, Wesley Chiang, Ziad Shehab

Colaboradores Collaborators

ONE Architecture, Starr Whitehouse, James Lima Planning + Development, Level Infrastructure, BuroHappold, Arcadis, Green Shield Ecology, AEA Consulting