Danish Architect Firm Unveils Scheme To Protect San Francisco From Flooding
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Danish firm, BIG unveils a solution to extreme weather issues in Isais Creek, San Francisco – a site vulnerable to impacts of climate change. The scheme, which will protect the bay from flooding due to climatic change, will include construction of floating villages linked by ferries, a highway for autonomous vehicles, and a red-shaded round route.

According to DEZEEN, the scheme is part of a contest (Resilient by Design Challenge) that seeks ideas to protect San Francisco’s coastal areas from pessimistic undulating sea levels caused by earthquakes and global climate change. And the Danish firm, BIG will be working with two other companies; Sherwood Design Engineers (Sherwood) and One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE) to get the project done.

BIG + ONE + Sherwood team emerged as one of the ten winning groups selected to develop proposals featuring different areas in the Bay. The team was assigned to develop a solution to the problems in Isais Creek where water inlets are cutting into land portions in the southern San Francisco.

Proposed Solution from the BIG + ONE + Sherwood

BIG’s team proposed improving the area’s buoyancy by restoring acres of natural spaces around the coastal edges. More developments within the water edges would be put to hold including paved surfaces to enhance the soaking of excess water by parkland and greenery.

The scheme also suggests erecting floatable villages on small islands which would be linked by a new ferry system, instead of building on lands. Rising water within the creek’s tidal marsh and salt palms would be transformed into spaces for research on food-production facilities.

Bjarke Ingels, the Danish firm founder, says "In light of climate change and sea level rise, can we not just save the bay, but can we grow the bay for nature, for people and a changing climate," during a video presentation of the proposal with his team, according to DEZEEN.

Architect BIG San Francisco

BIG + ONE + Sherwood's proposal is also aimed at tackling related problems such as unemployment, pollution, traffic congestion and lack of affordable houses. Building a new bus transit cycle and a major route (Highway 101) across the city were also part of the team’s strategies to provide suitable transportation for the public and autonomous vehicles. High-rise warehouses and office buildings featuring stepped roofs with gardens would be built on the land. And E-trail nature pathway would be constructed in line with the waterfront, allowing residents to travel on bicycle or foot.

Developing sustainable urban designs through this scheme is one of the efforts made by the US cities in response to climatic challenges, after random devastating weather events recorded over the past few years.

The winning team in the Bay Area Challenge was announced late 2017 as BIG + ONE + Sherwood. Another group comprising of a Dutch firm MVRDV and Australian practice Hassel were also winners with their proposal to fight flooding in San Mateo County of the city by increasing green infrastructure.

In 2014, $335 million was also awarded to the BIG to improve the storm defenses in Lower Manhattan after the 2012 Hurricane Sandy.

Final design from the teams is expected to be available in May 2018 before the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

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