Hurricane Sandy left a trail of destruction in New York last year, and the city’s beaches were left in shambles. Iconic boardwalks were washed away and many beaches were left thirty to forty feet narrower due to beach erosion. Pieces of boardwalks, wrecked homes and shops covered the sand.

The severity of the damage caused most beaches to stay closed for months after the storm, but city officials were anxious to get them reopened. The Department of Parks and Recreation teamed up with Garrison Architects to get the beaches up and running by Memorial Day, and we were glad to be a part of the process.

The main goal of the restoration project was to create 37 permanent modular structures for beach-goers to use such as restrooms, comfort stations, and lifeguard stations. It was important that these structures were strong enough to make it through future storms, so it was clear that corrugated metal should be used as the predominant building material. It is extremely durable; corrugated steel roofs typically last for up to fifty years.

Another benefit of corrugated metal is that it can reflect heat from the sun instead of absorbing it, which cuts down the cost of air conditioning. Corrugated steel is known for being extremely weather resistant and requires little maintenance. Stainless steel is also resistant to salt-water damage, making it the perfect building material for a beach structure.

The reflective nature of corrugated metal worked into Garrison’s overall net-zero energy design. Each of these structures is equipped with solar hot water heating, skylight ventilators, as well as photovoltaic panels for electricity. In addition, the buildings were elevated above the newly updated FEMA storm surge levels (post Hurricane Sandy)

A portion of the project was completed by Memorial Day and the structures are now on fifteen beach sites around the city. They are all easily accessible from the beach or boardwalk and are successfully providing comfort to the city’s millions of beach-goers. Being a part of the beach restoration project is one of our greatest achievements.


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-Photos courtesy of Ray Hu / Core 77