MTA Flood Mitigation: Street Furniture and Urban Plan

Even before Superstorm Sandy, subway grates in flood-prone areas needed protection. We were commissioned by the MTA to design a modular grate system that would simultaneously protect the subway from flash flooding, enhance the streetscape and be easy to relocate and assemble as needed. Our innovative design features a permanent subgrate which fits within existing ventilation openings and attaches to the flood protection piece. The wave pattern we designed adds visual interest to the urban landscape and marks the minute topographical distinctions that shape varied depths of expected flooding, which were established by a hydrological study. To simplify fabrication, the variety of the wave shape is composed of three modules, which can work separately or together as needed. Working with a metal fabricator, a hammered finish was selected for its ability to retain its appearance after public use and creates a watery, dappled appearance that reinforces the design concept.

AIA TriState Citation for Design, AIA New York State Design Citation, AIA NYC Urban Design Merit Award, I.D. Design Review Award


with di Domenico & Partners
photography © David Sundberg/Esto & Travis Huggett