2024 | Professional

NY Architectural Design Awards Silver Winner Winner

Toa Baja Sponge Park

Entrant Company

Wstudio

Category

Urban Design and Planning - Sustainable and Eco-City Design

Client's Name

Country / Region

United States

The Toa Baja Sponge Park aims to address multifaceted challenges within the designated site in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. This town, having endured the devastating impacts of hurricanes Irma and Maria, stands as a testament to the remarkable resilience of its community in the face of adversity. The aftermath of these natural disasters has profoundly impacted the town's infrastructure and socio-economic fabric, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive revitalization efforts. Against this backdrop, the Toa Baja Sponge Park project emerges as a beacon of hope, seeking to rebuild and fortify the town's resilience against future environmental threats.

Initial assessments underscore the pressing issues of flooding, exacerbated by hurricanes and projected sea-level rise, alongside the coexistence of saltwater intrusion and freshwater dynamics. The socio-economic landscape further complicates matters, with fragmented settlements and below-average incomes among residents. Against this backdrop, the proposal outlines a holistic approach integrating topographical modifications, ecosystem restoration, and community revitalization to foster resilience and cohesion.

Strategically, the proposal unfolds across three pivotal stages. Firstly, topographical interventions aim to mitigate hazards by constructing a regional berm to safeguard against sea-level rise and interconnecting water bodies to facilitate inland water flow. Subsequent efforts focus on ecosystem enhancement by establishing filtration wetlands to purify water, expand coqui habitats, and promote biodiversity. Concurrently, community revitalization initiatives aim to repurpose public spaces, create new amenities, and develop trail networks to foster social connectivity while doubling as evacuation shelters during emergencies. These interventions converge in a comprehensive site plan envisioning the Toa Baja Sponge Park that harmonizes communities and habitats, offering newfound opportunities for coexistence and engagement.

Credits

Designer
Wenqi Yang
Designer
Cao Jing
Designer/Concept Artist
Wentao Zhong
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