OPERATION NORFOLK - STRATEGIC RESILIENCY COMMAND
Location - Norfolk, Virginia
Teamates - Andrew Shea, Tamara Dennis, Hao Wang
Virginia Port is the third largest U.S. East Coast Container port and fifth largest in the nation. Ten percent of Virginia’s resident workforce are involved in port activity. Trade activity generates $1.4 billion in state and local taxes. Shipping terminals are situated along the Elizabeth River’s edge functioning as global gateways for import and export freight and physical barriers between the public and the water. With demand expected to increase 300% over the next 50 years, the industry aims to increase capacity by purchasing more property along the river edge, which will create additional barriers for the public. Expected sea level rise, however, threatens port activity, and thus the local and state economy, as the terminals are expected toflood.
The Hampton Roads Strategic Research Center will engender a new relationship with the public by offering to its citizens protection via an infrastructural surface along the river’s edge that protects the regional economy, doubles as public space, and connects the public to the water. Theflood wall expands the Elizabeth River Trail and merges with the SRC’s downtown complex where it envelops the building and invites the public into the complex. The wall persists as load bearing walls and dividers between the public and private program within the building.
Downtown Norfolk represents one of the most flood prone areas in the region who’s waterfront functions as one of the few open public spaces in the city. Throughout most of the region, the edge is inaccessible to the public due to the various residential and infrastructural developments along the shoreline. The goal of this proposal is to explore the edge as a whole throughout Norfolk, utilizing the existing typologies of the Elizabeth River trail to inform and redesign the edge into a new public zone, filled with various new programmatic elements. The trail as it sits will in fact become the new water’s edge through an 8ft flooding event, necessitating the need for it to function as a new type of urban public space. Through this investigation, two conditions for the proposal can be reached, including the design of the trail as a new boundary as well as the design of the new Pentagon as it plugs into this piece downtown. We seek to create a new public space, one that bridges the gap between private and public typologies while redesigning the edge as a permeable, yet protective barrier to rising seas, subsiding land, and increased urban runoff from the developed city.