Brooklyn, NY
  • Resilience / Climate Adaptation
  • Ecological Design
  • Publication / Exhibition

Oyster-tecture envisions an active oyster reef that diversifies aqueous marine life and recreational potential in the New York Harbor. The project was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art in 2009 for the Rising Currents exhibition, an initiative to develop adaptation strategies for New York City in the face of climate change and sea level rise. Oyster-tecture proposes a living reef composed of a woven web of ‘fuzzy rope’ that supports marine growth, generates a 3D landscape mosaic that attenuates waves and cleans millions of gallons of harbor water by harnessing the biotic filtration processes of oysters mussels, and eelgrass. Cleaner, slower water enables neighborhood fabrics to create new channels inland from the Gowanus Canal. A watery regional park emerges that prefigures the city’s return to the waterfront as a sustainable strategy for the next century. Oyster-tecture aims to improve habitat and water quality, restore biodiversity to tidal marshes and encourage new relationships between New Yorkers and their harbor.

SCAPE’s design-research for Oyster-tecture has expanded to inform multiple ongoing projects, including the large-scale ecological infrastructure proposal Living Breakwaters and our linear waterfront park at Red Hoek Point.


Bart Chezar
Hydroqual Engineering
New York Harbor School
NY/ NJ Baykeeper
Paul Mankiewicz
Phil Simmons