Two years after Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway Beach, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm is still putting the pieces back together again. But in a sign of moving forward, artist Robyn Renee Hasty has enlisted the firm of Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects to design a contemporary art center to be built out of one of the bungalows along Rockaway Beach Boulevard devastated by flooding. Naturally, something like that can't be built for nothing, so Hasty is mounting a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $100,000 needed to make the vision a reality.
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Stilt City, as the project is called, will be aimed at serving the local artist community—which, thanks to Rockaway Beach's oceanfront location and relatively cheap rents, is quite sizable. The proposed structure includes some features to make it more resilient during floods, such as porous landscaping to facilitate run-off, a second story loft to store and protect art in the event of high water and the use of marine-grade plywood, resistant to mold, as building material.
Plans for programming include exhibitions, of course, but also artist residencies that will turn the center into a live-work space for one or two months at a time. A large roll-up door will open up the interior to the outside, and artists will be encouraged to incorporate the building's facade, sheltered by the overhanging roof, into their work. But, you may ask, where are the stilts? Well, outside of the name, there aren't any because it would cost too much to raise the former bungalow to the neighborhood's adjusted base flood level. Still, with any luck, Stilt City, once it's up and running, will have some legs.