Is it me or is time accelerating? July will be gone next week, leaving five months to my presidency. This experience has been great. I recommend to everyone to get involved with the AIA at the section or state level. We are always looking for our members to become a part of the leadership. Start by joining a committee. An organization is only as strong as the people who participate.
Having returned from the convention in Denver and learning of the goals of the AIA for repositioning of the association is inspirational. We are looking toward our members for ideas to steer the AIA in a new direction. We have Kurt Kalafsky, president elect, leading AIA-NJ in this process. We also have Verity Frizzell and Terry Durden volunteering their time as ambassadors to the AIA National. AIA NJ will be well served by their efforts. The Convention offered key note speakers above any that I have heard before. You can hear the speeches on the AIA web page and it will be time well spent. The continuing education seminars are always of interest, with plenty to choose from. The tours are always a great way to learn new things about people and places. I need to thank Kurt Kalafsky and Judy Donnelly for organizing the NJ Fellowship Reception, sponsored by Andersen Windows. I always find it enjoyable to spend time with old and new friends from NJ. Next year the convention is in Chicago and I am looking forward to it.
To bring everyone up to current regarding the funds provided by AIA-National for Sandy Recovery, a portion of the money was used to provide a Master Plan for the rebuilding of Camp Osborn. Camp Osborn is a section of 105 homes in Brick Township, New Jersey, that was decimated after Superstorm Sandy seven months ago. It was a former fishing camp from the ‘20s that was more recently a summer destination for dozens of families. The three-acre site was devastated by flooding during Superstorm Sandy, then, fueled by a natural gas leak, burned nearly to the ground immediately following. What remained were charred remnants of 68 cottages located on the barrier island in Ocean County, one of the hardest hit areas in the state. The township welcomed AIA-NJs offer to develop a preliminary master plan to restore the community. We created a Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) made up of architects, planners and engineers to address the challenges of rebuilding and to hold informational workshops for the residents. Members of the SDAT team Paul Barlo, AIA, Jeffery Carr, PE, Richard Culp, AIA, Thomas Dallessio, PP, Terry Durden, AIA, Verity Frizzell, AIA, Jason Kiliwinski, AIA, Laurence Parisi, AIA, Rick Tokarski, AIA and myself readily volunteered our time, working pro-bono to help the residents of this devastated area. Incidental and logistical costs for the SDAT were funded by the grant. The first workshop was held in late April. Speakers addressed flood regulations and sustainable design issues during morning sessions. Afternoon sessions consisted of homeowners meeting with architects and planners in small groups to brainstorm rebuilding ideas.
Many of the challenges are unique to Camp Osborn. For instance, the structures all sit below the advisory flood map elevations, which are scheduled to be revised by FEMA this summer. They, therefore, all need to be raised some five to seven feet. The cottages are part of a homeowners’ association, meaning all rebuilding decisions must be made first by that governing body. Most of the cottages have been handed down from generation to generation, as a result, many residents did not have flood insurance and many do not have the means to rebuild. Most bungalows were less than 1,000 square feet of living space, set close together, separated by just a few feet of sand and gravel. There’s a wonderful sense of community that Camp Osborn offered to its longtime summer residents, and they want to maintain that. The architect’s presentation was met with great acclaim by the residents. One of the residents wrote, “Please pass along to the volunteers my sincerest gratitude and appreciation for all your efforts.”
The associations put the plan to a vote in mid-June and it was approved as their design concept.
This project has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had as an Architect.
The final results of our effort are posted on AIA-NJ web site under Sandy Recovery. The power point is in a pdf format along with the text. Please take a look.
Jack A. Purvis, AIA