2023 Architectural Obel Award for “Adaption” Theme Granted to NY-located Living Breakwaters

, September 20, 2023

The fifth Obel Award has been granted to Kate Orff’s Living Breakwaters installation, a piece of linear green infrastructure off the shore of Staten Island, New York. Installed by Orff’s SCAPE Landscape Architecture and nearly a dozen collaborators, the 1km belt of concrete and stone is designed to reinvigorated the once thriving oyster colonies and prevent coastal erosion. Oysters have already established the installed portion of the breakwater as habitat.

Living Breakwaters was initially developed for Rebuild by Design, a design competition led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) after Superstorm Sandy.

Image: SCAPE

Commenting on the Obel Award jury’s decision, Chair Martha Schwartz noted, “Breakwaters are an ancient idea for how to protect shorelines – and the people who live close to them – by building underwater seawalls to defend a harbour or a beach from the force of waves. Kate has designed an extraordinary, modern-day interpretation, the Living Breakwaters, which will not only protect humans and revitalise the coastline of New York City, but also restore lost marine biodiversity.”

‘Living Breakwaters’ by SCAPE Landscape Architecture Wins the 2023 Obel Award - Image 8 of 9
Location off Staten Island (Image: SCAPE)

2022 Emissions awarded to Seratech for a carbon-neutral concrete solution.

For more information on Living Breakwaters, visiting obelaward.org