Superstorm Sandy Capital Improvement Program Design Services

Improving Public Housing Following Storm Destruction


New York City, NY


New York City Housing Authority

Project Cost

$400 million


During Hurricane Sandy, various New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments experienced an influx of surge water, which consequently damaged the mechanical and electrical infrastructure of the buildings. The damages included building infrastructure, playgrounds, and walkways. LiRo provided design services for the restoration of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems damaged by the storm as well as associated architectural and structural work to harden building perimeter.

About the Project

LiRo is working with NYCHA to restore and enhance a total of 57 buildings at the following seven housing developments:

Coney Island Houses

An example of LiRo’s work on this project, LiRo provided design services that detail the work required to restore and rehabilitate Coney Island Houses in Brooklyn. Built in 1957, the complex consists of five 14-story buildings with 534 apartments. LiRo also designed a new community center/central boiler building. The original boiler plant was located in the basement of one of the buildings.

The new elevated community center/central boiler plant is constructed above the flood plain. Handicap accessibility is provided by incorporating ramps within the sloping landscape, allowing it to blend in for a seamless and natural progression from grade to the facility.

The community center is situated onsite to give the development a sense of place and to act as a central identification point for its occupants and the adjoining community. The facade incorporates glass wall systems that are rated for storm level forces but allows for an unobstructed connection with the enhanced landscaping and park-like setting within the redeveloped site. The plantings are a diversion from the normal site scape of public housing projects. The design encourages communal interface by inviting the neighborhood to interact/process through the site along landscaped promenades. The plantings reduce the heat gain to the adjacent buildings all while maintaining security and sightline visibility.

Project Challenges & Solutions

As part of an agency-wide assessment effort, LiRo assessed all of the buildings within the seven developments and generated design development options for direct replacement and/or mitigation to raise the equipment above the FEMA flood elevations. NYCHA was able to utilize this documentation for each affected building for FEMA funding submissions.

In addition to designing the restoration of building infrastructure, LiRo completed the design of onsite standby power generators and hardening of the buildings’ electrical infrastructure to provide the residents with utilities in the event of an extended power outage as experienced post-Hurricane Sandy.


Architecture & Sustainable Design


Disaster Recovery