Resilient Coasts: Forests and Adaptation | Exhibition on view Fall 2023

RESILIENT COASTS: FORESTS AND ADAPTATION—an exhibition opening at the Princeton University School of Architecture on Thursday, September 7, and on view through the Fall 2023 semester—examines the cultural role and structural properties of forests and architecture as climate adaptation strategies in three regions around the globe: Rikuzentakata in Tohoku, Japan; Castel Volturno in Campania, Italy; and Neskowin, Oregon in the USA. Each region possesses distinct relationships to sea level rise, tsunamis, and to trees: as climate protectors, building materials, and entities that hold cultural capital. Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, September 7, at 6pm. 

The Resilient Coasts project team includes Princeton SoA professors Guy Nordenson and Paul Lewis. The exhibition is free and open to the public through January 12, 2024.

RIKUZENTAKATA, a small city in northern Japan, lost close to a tenth of its population in the March 11, 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami. The city’s ten-year reconstruction plan—a massive infrastructural effort to raise the ground and build a concrete seawall—has transformed the coast. Rikuzentakata presents disaster response techniques deployed in one of the most tsunami-prepared and tsunami-affected regions in the world. It exemplifies the impacts of post-disaster reconstruction and relocation on humans and ecosystems.

CASTEL VOLTURNO, a city in which nearly half of the population is comprised of undocumented migrants, lies north of Naples along the Falerno-Domitio Littoral coast on the Tyrrhenian Sea. A recreation route through the city provides walking and biking access between previously non-accessible and abandoned natural features to mitigate coastal erosion and flooding, the region’s primary climate challenges. Interweaving a complex socio-political environment controlled by the Camorra, the plan provides design interventions at the human scale: toilets, drinking fountains, solar-powered lighting, and shaded seating for civic accountability, safety, and solidarity.

OREGON faces a one-in-three chance of a high-magnitude earthquake in the next fifty years with little political, cultural, or infrastructural preparation in place. Responding to carbon-intensive engineering, the design for a tsunami evacuation tower in Neskowin, Oregon integrates earthworks, the forest, and architecture. Providing refuge in the immediate event of a tsunami, the steel and cross-laminated timber structure serves as an everyday sanctuary for wildlife and a gathering space for the public, while connecting adjacent natural landscapes over the course of long-term climate adaptation.

See photos of the exhibition here and of the opening reception here


Exhibition Credits:

-        Project team: Guy Nordenson, Paul Lewis, Joon Ma, Patricia Hazle, Maeliosa Barstow, Helen Fialkowski, Mitzy Gonzalez, Lisa Ramsburg, Taka Tachibe, Michelle Deng

-        Project collaborators: Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, Michael Tantala, Jin Sato and students, Seng Kuan, Brenda Freshman, Randall Koch, Renata Valente, Carlo Donadio

-        Interviewees: Alessandra Burgo, Brenda Freshman, Randall Koch, Peter Ruggiero, Guy Sievert, Chris Silkowski, Jenna Tilt and students in the Princeton University School of Architecture Tsunami Evacuation Tower + Mass Timber Housing Studio with Paul Lewis and Guy Nordenson (Fall 2021); Mr. Kiyoshi Murakami, Mayor Futoshi Toba, Doryu Hioki, Katsuji Chida, Michihiro Kono, Shunichi Matsuta, Shunsuke Mitsui, Haruka Nojiri, student volunteers from Kitakami City

This installation was first exhibited as part of Technoscape: The Architecture of Engineering, MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome. October 1, 2022 to April 16, 2023, curated by Pippo Ciorra and Maristella Casciato.

Princeton School of Architecture Installation:

Project Manager: Helen Fialkowski 

Exhibition Assistants: Kyara Robinson, Jeyda Muhammad, Lee Ombargi, Ana Rico Rubio

Manager of Digital Fabrication, Technologies and Research: Marie-Odile Baretsky

Exhibition Manager: Kira McDonald

Special Thanks to Dean Monica Ponce de Leon, and the School of Architecture Staff