Storming to Victory: BIG and One Architecture Scoop Global Award for the Dryline

Paul Keskeys Paul Keskeys

On a night of grand ceremony and big ideas, Bjarke Ingels picked up further recognition for his ambitious plan to increase the resilience of New York City in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. In partnership with Amsterdam-based firm One Architecture, BIG received the LafargeHolcim Global Bronze Award for the Dryline — otherwise known as the Big U — a hybrid project blending public park with anti-flood defenses that will soon wrap the southern tip of Manhattan.

Bjarke Ingels (center) celebrates with the rest of the Dryline team.

Last week’s prize-giving ceremony completed an evening packed with innovative ideas on sustainable design across the globe, from MOS Architect’s Children’s Ziggurat in Nepal — winner of the Silver Award — to a community library designed by Robust Architecture Workshop and built by former soldiers in Sri Lanka. When Ingels finally took to the stage, he entertained the crowd with his typical flair for architectural storytelling.

The architect talked about how the Big U attempts to merge the contrasting ideas of New York’s “powerbroker” Robert Moses — advocate for building a highway through the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village — and urban-planning activist Jane Jacobs, who ultimately defeated his plans. Using the High Line as an example of how infrastructure and public space could be combined, Ingels quipped: “What if we could think of the Dryline as a sort of ‘love-child’ of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs?”

The Dryline is a 10-mile-long bench-cum-berm that weaves along the waterfront of Lower Manhattan, forming a “protective ribbon” that doubles up as a vibrant new public space for fitness, leisure, and entertainment activities. The undulating bank morphs as it moves along the coastline, creating niches for cultural and sports activities, while larger sections incorporate meadow-like planting with sweeping bike paths and pedestrian walkways.

Explore the latest projects from BIG and One Architecture over on their firm profiles here and here.

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© Preston Lane

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