Honor Award


Emergency modules—like marshmallow lifeboats—keep residents safe during what the entrants regard as inevitable floods.

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  Michelle Jellison | Amin Gilani and Josh Spoerl | Zui Lig Ng | Mark Stankey and John Kucharski | Kiduck Kim and Christian Stayner

Kiduck Kim and
Christian Stayner

Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Concept: Citing “a losing battle between elevation and economics,” Stayner and Kim propose to “welcome the river in” rather than treat it as “an unwanted guest.” (They are Harvard students but entered on their own.) When floodwaters threaten, residents could take refuge in truckable, two-level emergency modules pontooned to float up with rising waters. While solar-powered poles would delineate submerged streets and property lines, the modules would be permitted to drift, tethered to utilities through unfurling umbilicals. As the water level recedes, the modules would settle in a new pattern “and a post-diluvial landscape would emerge,” blurring, they hope, old economic stratifications. (The sequence is portrayed in the four images at right, from upper left—as floodwaters begin—to lower right, when they have receded.)

“This says we’re still dealing with the terror of the tragedy,” commented juror Gay. “It speaks to the impact of the flood,” added Trahan. “The images convey what it felt like. It begins to express how people deal with what took place. When you consider the idea of waters penetrating the city and redistributing it, it makes you ask who are we and how do we come back.” There’s a “latent optimism,” in the scheme, said MacKay-Lyons. “Implicitly, it hopes for a positive way to look at what we fear.” For Gay, “It’s a lest-we-forget statement.” J.S.R.

“This, which seems outrageous now, may turn out not to be.” —Mackay-Lyons

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