“Is This Resilience? Exploring Three Island Typologies”
for Galveston Island, USA
by Cynthia Dehlavi and Wade Meadors with The Office of James Burnett, Houston, USA
2016 Shivaji Competition Finalist
Galveston Island is marked by three distinct land use typologies.
The Sea Wall is a defensive barrier built in response to the devastating storm of 1900, which left the unprepared inhabitants in a state of destruction. Since then, the island’s history has involved trying to survive a harsh natural environment. The Army Corps of Engineers installed this ten-mile long wall to block waves and contain rising water.
The Stilted House is a housing design strategy accomplishing safety through height. Any home you could desire comes in the “lifted” version.
The Park is the most flexible system for resilience. Coastal dunes and planting reinforce the island’s edge, while serving as a public space for visitors to enjoy.
In a storm event, the site can be covered with water. During potentially catastrophic storms, Galveston Island’s residents evacuate the city. All roads lead to high ground during this mass exodus of the city.
We seek to question the contemporary strategies, by asking, “Is this resilience?”