The first phase of BIG U, the Bjarke Ingels and One Architecture & Urbanism-designed storm protection system coming to Manhattan's Lower East Side, is now underway as Rebuild by Design and Gold Old Lower East Side have released an RFP for a stewardship part. The submission deadline for the RFP is August 9, 2018.
The design for the BIG U was chosen five years ago via the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild By Design competition that aimed to bring a flood protection system to lower Manhattan following the carnage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2013. The team behind the winning design was Bjarke Ingels Group and One Architecture & Urbanism, which also includes Starr Whitehouse, BurroHappold, Arcadis, Green Shield Ecology, AE Consultancy, and Project Projects. The BIG U will bring a 10-mile barrier system as part of the the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR) wrapping from Manhattan's West 57th Street around lower Manhattan's Battery Square Park up to East 42nd Street as well as will transform the 64-acre East River Park.
The cost of Phase 1 is expected to cost $335 million with a total of $920 million awarded to the ESCR. Phase 1 includes the East River Park & up through 24th Streets' Asser Levy Park. The barrier system will include a waterfront Bridging Berm to protect low lying areas from storm surges and rising sea levels. When not in use for weather defense, the waterfront will be programmed with landscaped park space and other entertainment and public space.