Session 2.7: Breezy Point Home Elevation Design Guidelines: Merging Architecture and Urbanism

APA Federal Planning Division


Friday, May 5, 2017
11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. EDT

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Flood prone communities are beginning to establish “elevation design guidelines”, as a user’s manual on how to raise buildings above base flood elevation, or the elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during a 100-year storm event.  The Breezy Point Home Elevation Study employed a novel approach on design guidelines for a unique coastal community, by focusing on urbanism as much as on architecture. Architectural Standards were modeled on the potential urban context of elevated homes, visualizing a set of Study Options to inform homeowners on how their choice of architectural standards will affect their neighborhood character, resulting in the Neighborhood Design Guidelines.

This is the first Study of its type to merge architecture and urbanism. Other preceding home elevation guidelines focus primarily on the architecture of the individual home. Although adjoining properties are marginally considered in preceding reports, no consideration is given to the pedestrian experience on the streetscape, examining the potential impact on the street character after elevating homes on both sides of the street. This Study provides results from visual exploratory research that informs homeowners on both architectural and urbanist impacting decisions – a study model so far unprecedented in this type of reports.

This case study will showcase an approach and methodology that could well become "the standard across the board" for upcoming elevation design guidelines coast-to-coast. The presentation topics include:
1. Flood Risk
    a. Definition and need -- why elevate?
    b.  Precedents (such as grade rising at Galveston, TX 1908)
2. Process
    a. Document Existing conditions
        i. Base Flood elevations
        ii. Views and challenges of the site
    b. Planning Analysis
        i. How high to elevate? Calculating RRE, required raising elevation
        i. Assess the neighborhood character
        ii. List the neighborhood typologies
    c. Develop Architectural Design Standards
    d. Develop Neighborhood Design Guidelines
    e. Assess compatibility of architecture and urban context
3. Conclusion
    a. Benefits of Design Guidance for homeowners
    b. Application to flood prone zones beyond New York


Susana Arisso, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

Ms. Arissó is an AICP Urban Designer and Planner with an Architecture background having 20 years of experience. Now Principal Urban Designer at the Louis Berger Planning Practice, her past experience was shaped by the firms of SOM, Perkins+Will and SmithGroup, where she got well familiarized with the Washington ... Read More

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