SCAPE’s Living Breakwaters Wins 2023 Obel Award

Architectural Record: Living Breakwaters, a 2,400-linear-foot coastal resiliency project conceived to minimize future flooding and erosion risk along the Superstorm Sandy–ravaged south shore of Staten Island while enhancing the marine ecosystem of the Lower New York Bay, has been recognized with the 2023 Obel Award.

Now in its fifth cycle, the annual international architecture prize—a flagship program of the Copenhagen-based Henrik F. Obel Foundation—seeks to honor projects designed “in service of both people and the planet.” Living Breakwaters was initially developed by SCAPE, a New York–based landscape architecture and urban design studio, for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s post-Sandy Rebuild by Design competition.

Each year, the Obel Award jury establishes a specific focus area, with this cycle’s being “adaptation.” Per the 2023 jury statement, Living Breakwaters, which takes form as a near-shore necklace of partially submerged breakwaters constructed with stone and ecologically enhanced concrete that pulls double duty as invaluable habitat for marine species, succeeds as a “relatively low-cost, low-tech” example of how to “design not against but with nature in adapting to the changes that lie ahead.” Read more>>