Living Breakwaters wins 2014 Fuller Challenge

The comprehensive climate change adaptation and community development project Living Breakwaters by Scape / Landscape Architecture has been selected as the winner of the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge, “socially responsible design’s highest award”. The project by the New York based landscape architects is also one of the Rebuild by Design winners and was published in Topos 87 on “Coastal Strategies”.

“Living Breakwaters is about dissipating and working with natural energy rather than fighting it. It is on the one hand an engineering and infrastructure-related intervention, but it also has a unique biological function as well. The project team understand that you cannot keep back coastal flooding in the context of climate change, but what you can do is ameliorate the force and impact of 100 and 500 year storm surges to diminish the damage through ecological interventions, while simultaneously catalyzing dialog to nurture future stewards of the built environment,” said Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, a 2014 senior advisor and jury member.

The Living Breakwaters project integrates components ranging from ecologically engineered “Oyster-tecture,” to transformational education around coastal resiliency and the restoration of livelihoods traditional to the community of Tottenville in Staten Island, while also spurring systemic change in regulatory pathways at the State level.

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Kate Orff of Scape said, “We are so honored to be the 2014 Fuller Challenge recipient – Fuller was optimistic about the future of humanity and deeply believed in cooperation as the way forward. As climate change impacts threaten shoreline populations, Living Breakwaters hopefully represents a paradigm shift in how we collectively address climate risks, by focusing on regenerating waterfront communities and social systems, and enhancing threatened ecosystems.”

Orff will accept the prestigious Fuller Challenge prize and a $100,000 cash award on behalf of the Scape team at a celebration in New York on 20 November. The project was chosen from seven finalists.