One Architecture is a global leader in resilience infrastructure, through flagship projects in New York and other cities, as well as through its consultancy for, a.o., 100 Resilient Cities and the Asian Development Bank. One Architecture founder Matthijs Bouw is the Rockefeller Urban Resilience Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Resilience is the ability to deal with shocks and stresses, and to transform itself within critical thresholds. ONE understands resilience as the primary lens through which complex systems can be enhanced and transformed. ONE views resilience as a focal point around which our office re-imagines local economies, urban systems and infrastructure.

The Financial District-Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan is the keystone of New York City’s Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency effort. The public report, released in December of 2021, illustrates a master plan and concept design for the rethinking of one-mile of Manhattan’s most vulnerable and valuable waterfront. The plan demonstrates a comprehensive strategy to protect these neighborhoods from coastal storms and flooding while addressing the area’s legacy infrastructure and physical constraints. Over the course of two years, in close collaboration with NYC EDC and engineer partner ARCADIS, ONE led the overall design through a multidisciplinary integration that threaded together flood protection infrastructure, shoreline extension and articulation, transportation and maritime planning, and public open space and architecture improvements, into a cohesive vision for the future of Lower Manhattan.

As design lead, ONE’s role was wide-ranging and deeply integrated throughout the project, from helping to shape the project goals and evaluation criteria, to leading the development of the “solution space” framework for all technical disciplines (a methodology for defining basic thresholds for project viability as well as planning aspirations), to the physical testing of flood protection alignments, the communication of the project to a range of stakeholders and local community members, and, finally, the consolidation of all inputs into a comprehensive concept design and masterplan.

  • Project Period: 2019 – 2021
  • Client: NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency (MOR)
  • Collaborators: Arcadis, SCAPE, Sam Schwartz, Matrix New World, AKRF, Sive Paget Riesel

Urbanize New York,  Jan 2022

6sqft, Jan 2022

Downtown Alliance, Jan 2022

NYC Office of the Mayor, Jan 2022

The Architect’s Newspaper, Dec 2021

The Tribeca Trib, Dec 2021

Waterfront Alliance, Dec 2021

Engineering News-Record, Nov 2021

ABC 7 NY, Nov 2021

CBS New York, Nov 2021

The City, Nov 2021

Construct Connect, Feb 2020

NY Curbed, Mar 2019

The Guardian, Sept 2019

State, Mar 2019

NY Curbed, Oct 2019

NY Times, May 2019

MNN, Mar 2019

Gotham Gazette, Sept 2019

Archinect, Mar 2019

Bowery Boogie, Oct 2019

State of the Planet, Sept 2019

The East Side Coastal Resiliency project (ESCR) is the first compartment of The BIG U design to move into implementation, with $335 million in HUD CDBG-DR funding, and the first major urban resilience project of its kind in the United States.

Scheduled to complete construction in 2025, the ESCR compartment will protect the communities behind a 2.4 mile section of coastline along the East River, running from 25th Street in the East Village to Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side. In the re-envisioned East River Park, flood protection elements and landscape improvements are designed to heighten quality of life, improve park access over Robert Moses-era highway infrastructure, and amenitize public spaces while preserving existing recreational capacity. 

As the first integrated resilience project in New York organized between multiple agencies, the design process has gradually become an exercise in how to organize resilience projects. ONE’s role in the project has extended from urban integration to inter-agency coordination, helping to create the first precedent and framework for planning large-scale coastal infrastructure, deconflicting municipal priorities through multiple-scenario planning while illuminating co-benefits to a wide cross-section of stakeholder interests. In the late stages of the project design and documentation, ONE has led the detailed architectural design of the flood protection system — including 17 flood gates crossing City right-of-ways, and over a mile of exposed concrete flood wall.

  • Project Period:
    Phase 1 | Planning and feasibility: December 2014 – November 2015
    Phase 2 | Concept and preliminary design: January 2016 – May 2019
    Phase 3 | Final design: May 2019 – August 2020 Construction completion (est.) 2025
  • Client:
    The Mayor’s Office of Resiliency (MOR), NYC Department of Design and Construction (NYC-DDC)
    Partner agencies: NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYC-EDC), NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC-DPR), NYC Department of Transportation (NYC-DOT), NYC Department of City Planning (NYC-DCP)
  • Collaborators: AKRF, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA), Arcadis, Jacobs, Siteworks

Harvard Magazine, July-August 2022

The New York Times, Apr 2022

Dutch Water Sector, Apr 2021

NYC MOR Press Release, Apr 2021

Wired, Oct 2016

Architects Newspaper, Jan 2016

Observer, Jan 2016

Architect Magazine, Nov 2015

Curbed, May 2015

Wired, Jun 2014

In 2008, housing corporation Rentree’s ambitious plans for the transformation of the Deventer Rivierenwijk came to a slow stop. 300 houses were already demolished in the process, leaving a neighborhood torn to pieces.

ONE’s subsequent Urban Framework describes new spatial starting points, conditions and directives. It indicates how the actors’ various spatial interventions, e.g. the reconstruction of the Amstellaan, 500 new houses, local facilities, neighborhood connections, and landscape structure, will combine into a coherent result. All obstacles obstructing the restart have been solved with the designs of the plan’s components.

An important feature in the design and how the neighborhood will function in the future was integrating and widening the Amstellaan, a main traffic artery.  In the past, developers and engineers had imagined many options, all equally unfeasible and undesirable, all based on a pure technical infrastructural logic. One Architecture changed roles: by making the engineers work with the designers, One Architecture created a new design. Suddenly, the design was within budget and received the full support of the area’s residents. Now, this design has been developed, tendered and is under construction, with an estimated delivery late 2014.

Further optimizations of the plan’s components are the result of this joint planning process. Project Amstellaan will result in a “tree bank”, making full-grown trees available cheaply for new construction. The green buffer space enables flexibility and room for optimization of Rentree’s housing program.

  • Project period: 2011 – 2014 (constructed; urban redevelopment ongoing)
  • Client: Municipality of Deventer, the Netherlands
  • Collaborators: Royal HaskoningDHV

Building upon the lessons learned in the Vision Plan for a Resilient East Harlem, ONE continued to research and develop ideas for the longer term evolution of the neighborhood. The culmination of this exploration was the proposal of an integrated stormwater management corridor along East 106th Street, a critical flood pathway within the district. Through a reconfiguration of the right-of-way and expansion of green-blue infrastructure, the proposal uses stormwater capture, retention, and conveyance to mitigate bathtub flooding that could result from the implementation of coastal flood infrastructure. At the same time, a redesigned East 106th Street eliminates transportation conflicts and enhances access for cars, buses, bicycles, and pedestrians.

  • Project Period: October 2019 — March 2020 
  • Client: Self-Initiated

Brooklyn Bridge – Montgomery Coastal Resiliency (BMCR) is an integrated coastal flood risk mitigation project for the Two Bridges neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.  This project is one segment of the larger and systemic response of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) initiative.  Extending from the Brooklyn Bridge to Montgomery Street, BMCR will reduce the risk of flooding due to coastal storms and 2050’s sea level rise, while preserving waterfront views and access.

This project will protect thousands of residents, including many living in affordable housing, with a combination of fixed and deployable flood protection elements. The deployable elements, consisting of flip-up and roller-type gates, will be permanent infrastructure, stored in discrete locations and deployed ahead of a storm event. The location of the flood walls and posts was determined to minimize conflict with subsurface infrastructure and to maximize integration with existing waterfront uses such as open-air seating, fitness, and athletic courts. In addition to the flood protection system, the project includes improvements to sewer infrastructure, cycling infrastructure, and public park amenities.

ONE was responsible for the detailed design and urban integration of the project’s flood protection walls and roller gates, ensuring continuity of design between East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project and the BMCR, as well as leading the architectural design of a new building to house hydraulic and electrical equipment for below grade sewer infrastructure improvements.

  • Client:
    • Organizing agency: NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYC-EDC)
    • Executing agency: NYC Department of Design and Construction (NYC-DDC)
    • Partner agencies: NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency (MOR), NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC-DPR), NYC Department of Transportation (NYC-DOT), NYC Department of Environmental Protection (NYC-DEP)
  • Project Period: 
    • Preliminary design: December 2019 – April 2020
    • Final design: May 2020 – September 2020
    • Construction (est.) 2021-2024
  • Collaborators: AECOM, Nandinee Phookan Architects (NPA), Westler-Cohen Associates, KS Engineers

NY Curbed, Oct 2019

Patch, Oct 2019

Imagine the Wall, Charleston sets forth a vision for a series of interconnected, Nature-based Solutions to protect the Charleston peninsula from storm surge, adapt to rising sea levels and reduce flooding from stormwater. Initiated following the release of the Charleston Peninsula Coastal Flood Risk Management Study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the vision proposes a protection system that combines natural elements with structural systems that respond to the local conditions of Charleston’s varied shoreline and urban fabric.

Built on the USACE’s report, the team’s solutions serve the idea of nature-based design that combines hard engineering and traditional construction materials with ecological forms such as marshes and oyster reefs. The combined approach offers reduced maintenance costs and living systems that can respond dynamically to future conditions, benefiting both the community and the surrounding natural environment. The proposal also emphasizes multi-functional components by integrating flood protection with green infrastructure, ecological enhancement, and dynamic public space with increased waterfront access in addition to providing flood protection and stormwater management. 

The vision proposal intends to broaden the conversation about Charleston’s “Sea Wall” and perimeter protection and initiate discussions between stakeholders that will guide decision making and the creation of a contextual and nature-based protection plan.

Find more about the proposal here

Nantucket’s first Coastal Resilience Plan (CRP) is a critical component of the Town and County of Nantucket’s preparations for adapting to sea level rise, coastal flooding, and coastal erosion. The CRP provides a roadmap for building resilience to flooding and erosion along Nantucket’s coastline by recommending 40 near-term projects with pathways for long-term adaptation. The project packages combine gray engineering approaches with innovative methods for building with nature to keep people safe, promote healthy and vibrant communities, and honor the heritage of Nantucket.

The CRP development process brought together climate science, community engagement, engineering and technical analysis, urban and landscape planning and design, and implementation planning. This included examination of a range of coastal risk reduction options including structural, non-structural, and nature-based approaches for the entire island and several focus areas. By engaging a wide range of community groups in the process, the Town is ensuring that the CRP can move forward to implementation with broad input and support. The planning process was undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic and combined in-person site visits with online stakeholder workshops and virtual public engagement sessions.

The final report for the Nantucket Coastal Resilience Plan is available here​.

Climate Ready Downtown Boston and North End was the fifth, and final, district-level translation of the recommendations from the 2016 Climate Ready Boston report, developing localized flood resilience strategies for Boston’s central business district and historic waterfront.  The STOSS and ONE led venture produced short- and long-term, layered infrastructure and open space strategies to protect against successive changes in sea levels and storm effects, and that leverage resiliency efforts for improvements beneficial to local communities, the environment, historic assets, public agencies, and private landowners. Building upon the team’s previous work and lessons learned in East Boston, Charlestown, and South Boston (Moakley Park), STOSS and ONE (supported by Kleinfelder, Woods Hole Group, and Arcadis) proposed a dynamic, future-forward adaptation of downtown Boston, with a particular focus on ensuring the long-term viability of the maritime character and operationality of the waterfront.

The project utilized multi-pronged engagement to reach individual property owners, public agencies, existing and potential partners, as well as community members and groups — with the goal of building consensus. Feedback from this process and regular guidance from the steering committee was filtered back through design proposals, tailoring these strategies to the circumstances and stakeholders at hand. The feasibility study developed concepts to address flood entry points, to reduce flood risk. The proposed solutions explore adaptation strategies for historic buildings, open space, and 400 year old wharfs.

The final report is available here.

Design Weekly, Weitzman School of Design, Dec 2020

North End Waterfront, Oct 2020

WBUR, Oct 2020

North End Waterfront, Oct 2020

Patch, Oct 2020

North End Waterfront, Mar 2019

North End Waterfront, Mar 2019

North End Waterfront, Jul 2019

North End Waterfront, Aug 2019

BISNOW, Sep 2019

Wired, Sep 2019

Together, the cities of Chelsea and Everett are pursuing climate resiliency planning and adaptation measures to address coastal and inland flooding. The communities were jointly awarded a grant by the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Coastal Resilience program to address projected flooding from the Island End River, where they share an extensive 500 acre floodplain (for a 100-year storm event in 2030). This large area houses many commercial and industrial properties key to economic viability in the region, among these properties is the metro area central produce distribution facility, New England Produce Center.  

In Chelsea the project centered on efforts to develop a conceptual design for a flood barrier previously proposed in a 2017 report on “Designing Coastal Community Infrastructure for Climate Change”. In Everette, the team analyzed, and mapped risk and vulnerabilities based on flood models produced by WHG. The high resolution and detailed analysis revealed that to provide comprehensive protection for the area the barrier will need to extend between municipal boundaries and continue into Everett. The team studied multiple alignments and options for a continuous flood barrier, considering near- and long- term solutions, subsurface conditions, property ownership, zoning, and state regulations. Physical solutions included flood walls, elevated public spaces, and natural wetland buffers. The final report outlines both opportunistic and strategic recommendations for implementation in Everett and Chelsea, as well as policies, evaluation criteria, and design solutions, subject to additional localized conditions, stakeholders, etc.   

The engagement strategy has been multi-pronged and developed in collaboration with two local organizations Greenroots and Mystic River Watershed Association (MyWRA). It was designed to reach personal property owners, abutters, and residents to build a critical mass of consensus. Feedback from this process and regular guidance from a collaborative steering committee were filtered back through proposals to best tailor these strategies to the circumstances and stakeholders at hand.  

The project is now in a second stage grant under the MVP program, and will complete design in late 2021. 

Chelsea Record, Jul 2019 

Following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, a series of risk reduction masterplans were developed for Tacloban City, Philippines, including a Building with Nature plan initiated by Wetlands International (with Deltares and RHDHV). In the following stage, ONE was awarded a Global Resilience Partnership (GRP) seed grant to facilitate a series of pilot projects from the DRR masterplan for a protective coastal greenbelt throughout the region. In partnership with WI and government agencies, on-the-ground feedback was used iteratively to improve the masterplan incrementally, to develop an implementable long-term strategy for Tacloban City. ONE worked with stakeholders to finalize sites for pilot projects, ultimately establishing nearly 10,000 mangrove seedlings as part of a fish pond reversion and 10 hectares of beach forest seedlings (plugging two major gaps in the coastal green belt), and a 3-year community program to maintain and monitor the sites.

In addition to fostering science-based restoration and risk reduction practices at a local level, the primary thrust of the Seed Grant work centered on disentangling the jurisdictional conflicts, overlaps, and ambiguities that impede rehabilitation and resiliency projects. Though moderate in physical size, the effort was a remarkable success in turning high-level typological concepts into realized, tangible nature-based risk reduction.

Climate Ready East Boston and Charlestown is an initiative to generate district-scale solutions to flooding from sea level rise and coastal storms, building upon recommendations from the 2016 Climate Ready Boston report. The venture produced short- and long-term, layered infrastructure and open space strategies to protect against successive changes in sea levels and storm effects, and that leverage resiliency efforts for improvements beneficial to local communities, the environment, under-served populations, public agencies, and private landowners.  It also made both opportunistic and strategic recommendations for implementation in East Boston and Charlestown, as well as policies, evaluation criteria, and prototypes that can be adapted across the city, subject to additional localized conditions, stakeholders, etc. The engagement strategy has been multi-pronged and designed to reach individual property owners, public agencies, existing and potential partners, and a wide swath of the local communities and residents with the goal of building a critical mass of consensus.  Feedback from this process and from regular guidance from the steering committee was filtered back through proposals in order to best tailor these strategies to the circumstances and stakeholders at hand.

The feasibility study, completed in August 2017, endeavored to develop solutions that could be implemented in and around flood entry points to provide the districts with greater protection for sea level rise and coastal flooding. The proposed solutions span a range of interventions, including physical infrastructure projects, design standards, regulations, and financial incentives. Physical solutions included flood walls, elevated public spaces, and natural wetland buffers. The outcome of the multi-stakeholder process included a longer term vision, preliminary designs, and an implementation roadmap.

Two immediate-term projects were spawned directly from the study. At the entrance to the East Boston Greenway, a critical breach point will be resolved by the implementation of a new, raised, pocket park (currently in detailed design). In Charlestown, the team leveraged a planned transit improvement project. Working with MassDOT, the scope was expanded to include the raising of Rutherford Avenue, closing a major flood pathway for marginal additional cost.

For the Resilient By Design: Bay Area Challenge, One Architecture & Urbanism (ONE) partnered with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Sherwood Design Engineers (Sherwood) to develop a resilience plan for Islais Creek, an historic watershed in Southeast San Francisco. This is an historically industrial area once home to a verdant, marshy watershed since channelized and home to heavy industry and logistics which support the entire city of San Francisco.

The team’s final design, Islais Hyper-Creek, merges ecology and industry along a daylighted creek, allowing for a naturalized and restored series of waterfront public spaces with densified and consolidated industrial and PDR space at its edges. A series of parks and public amenities populate the edges of the creek through a series of six proposed pilot projects.

Throughout the year of the project’s development, BIG + ONE + Sherwood held over 80 stakeholder and community engagement meetings to better understand local dynamics, relationship to the waterfront, and areas of desired improvement aside from infrastructural resilience. Chief among the concerns highlighted by locals were access to jobs and workforce development, affordability in an increasingly stressed housing market, environmental justice, and parks / open space.

Through bridging an important relationship with the Port of San Francisco, ONE is seeking new ways to advance pilot projects, including resilient floating architecture at Warm Water Cove. By densifying existing industrial and logistical activities, softening shorelines and daylighting a section of the creek currently decked over, the BIG + ONE + Sherwood team sought to reorient the city’s relationship to its historic waterfronts as a vital element in its recreational and industrial economy.

The six pilots arrived at by the design team respond to these concerns and more, proposing the creation of accessible open space with integrated green-blue infrastructure, a food district, vastly improved transportation systems, waterfront access, waste processing, stacked and decked residential and commercial space, and other phaseable short-term solutions to climate and urban risks.

San Francisco Chronicle, may 2018

The Atlantic, may 2018

Fast Company, may 2018

Curbed, may 2018

The Bay Link, may 2018

Bay Planning Coalition, may 2018

Autodesk, may 2018

The Architect’s Newspaper, may 2018

ArchDaily, may 2018

The Big U/Dryline is a protective system that encircles Manhattan, responding to the needs and concerns of the island’s diverse communities. Stretching from West 57th Street south to The Battery and up to East 42nd Street, Big U/Dryline protects 10 continuous miles of low lying geography that comprise an incredibly dense, vibrant, and vulnerable urban area. The proposed system not only shields the city against floods and stormwater; it provides social and environmental benefits to the community, and fosters an improved public realm. Coordinated plans were created for three contiguous but separate regions of the waterfront dubbed “compartments. Each compartment comprises a physically discrete flood-protection zone that can be isolated from flooding in adjacent zones. Each presents unique opportunities for integrated social and community planning. The compartments work in concert to protect and enhance the city, but each compartment’s proposal is designed to stand on its own. Proposed solutions for the components were designed in close consultation with the associated communities and many local, municipal, State and Federal stakeholders; each proposal has a benefit-cost ratio greater than one; and each is flexible, easily phased, and able to integrate with existing projects in progress.

Under the title ‘Dialogos del Agua’, One Architecture developed, with Arcadis, an integral water management strategy for three watersheds in Panama. Commissioned by the Panama municipality after severe and repeated flooding, the strategy called for an integral approach that involved government, the local community, as well as private developers.

In a series of workshops, the drainage systems, the newly proposed retention areas and the rivers were re-designed as a series of parks with enough capacity to manage stormwater (even in times of coastal flooding), while providing benefits to the community. In addition to a set of spatial proposals, the strategy involved advice on the institutional framework, a handbook for water sensitive urbanism, as well the creation of a community task force to help keeping the drains clean.

The Municipality’s current work focuses on the adoption of new regulations and additional building requirements for flood-prone areas. At the same time, through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Municipality will work with urban designers, construction companies, and social and environmental specialists to design, build, and maintain the infrastructural works reducing flood risks.

  • Location: Juan Díaz, Panama City, Panama
  • Project period: 2016 – 2017
  • Client: Municipality of Panama, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl)
  • Collaborators: Arcadis, Wetlands International

The industrial area Albertkanaal is a business area that stretches from the center of Antwerp to Wijnegem. The area is the subject of a durable transition. With a team of specialists (POSAD, One Architecture, Arcadis and 3E) a concept study on the themes of energy and water is elaborated and will contribute to a sustainable future for the area. This study is approached in a holistic way: results are developed by developing business cases together with stakeholders, so that they are widely supported.

One Architecture has been responsible for the spatial design on the theme of water. Within this theme two business cases are elaborated:

The first case is investigating the possibilities of a greywater network, where water from a nearby sewage treatment plant will be reused within a (cluster of) companies for different processes, eg. cleaning of process equipment, process water, water treatment, steam generation, cooling and the sanitary. The study also examined whether rainwater that is collected from roofs can be reused within the company itself.

The second case examines possible measures for climate-adaptive space, to address problems such as risks of flooding and heat-stress which this area is dealing with. By zoning the area into smaller sections, it was possible to simulate possible rainwater-flooding risks, showing which areas and which of the stakeholders are at risk. A set of measures for climate-adaptation are proposed in the study. The business case focuses on one of the measures: a watersquare near the dock, which besides having water detaining capacity also serves as a recreational playground for the residential neighborhood.

Dwarka is a new sub-city planned under the burden of providing growing population in 1990. It is strategically located close to the airport in South West Delhi and is planned for a population of one million-plus (primarily middle-class) inhabitants. From observations at the site and discussions with experts it is vident that development does not come off the ground, in part due to speculation, in part due to severe water shortages. Sizeable areas still stand vacant, and apartment buildings are only partly occupied. This is remarkable, given the fact that many areas much further from the center, the airport and the business-hub of Gurgaon are developing rapidly.

Water is key to a future development of Dwarka. As an essential building-block of any future vision or scenario for Dwarka, the water issue needs to be addressed first.

The aim is to develop strategies, projects and tools for addressing the (urgent) water. It is a parallel process where there are no fixed set of solutions but the idea is to test out to make Dwarka a more self-sustainable sub-city with alternate scenarios and by asking fundamental questions, spreading awareness for the urgency of the issue and at the same time demonstrating with appropriate action plans/concrete projects.

A site in size of 900m x 900m is identified around the station of Delhi metro for further study and strategy testing. Several proposals are put forward to solve current problems and bridge the gap between water consumption and supply. The designs aims to close water loop by increasing water-holding capacity, recharging groundwater, treating wastewater locally, implementing water design into landscape and architecture designs. The new road system aims for slow traffic and giving the space back to pedestrian. Meanwhile, roads are narrowed down in order to save more space for water management. Stormwater management system will be implemented into green structure for ecological and landscape value. The testsite will be a demonstration for other cases in the sub-city or in other areas of Delhi or India.