Northeastern University Center for Coastal Cities Climate Solutions and Research Lagoon
Finalist Proposal


Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Architecture


In the heart of the iconic New York Harbor, Governors Island will endure the increasing risks posed by climate change and sea level rise. It also embodies a key opportunity for New York to lead coastal communities across the world with a prevailing development model that centers on interdisciplinary adaptation and innovation.

Northeastern University’s finalist proposal for Center for Coastal Cities Climate Solutions, designed in collaboration with WXY, would function as a living laboratory—an opportunity to advance what it means to live in a coastal city in the age of climate change and rising sea levels.

Technical details

Sustainability, Workspace, Recreation, Public Space, Library, Education & Research
Design Proposal
New York City, NY, USA

Northeastern University
The Trust for Governor's Island



200,000 ft² center on a 7 acre research campus
Design Architect, Design Landscape Architect, Interior Architect

The mass timber structure targeted LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certification

As the heart and headquarters of the new campus, The Center and Research Lagoon is a place that brings scientists, students, and entrepreneurs together with the public at large. The design is driven by two major goals: to maximize opportunities to make science public, and to utilize the building and landscape as a model for advanced resilient development and sustainable building practices.

The Research Lagoon takes advantage of the water’s edge as a space for climate adaptation research. As a pavilion set within Governors Island’s landscape, The Center was conceived of as a beacon on the New York City harbor skyline—a symbol of coastal adaptation progress.

The flexible site plan allows for the facility to grow over time to accommodate new partnerships, programs, and audiences. The hexagrid structure of the new terrain creates an urban design framework of park-like paths and networked open spaces that maintain a fluid connection between park and water. The project’s phasing also integrates the flexibility necessary to adapt in the face of an uncertain future and incorporate new resilience and sustainability technologies.

Stormwater management is critical for protecting buildings and other areas from flooding. It is an opportunity to model techniques for decreasing stormwater runoff while improving water quality on campus and beyond. It will be critical for island-wide stormwater management to limit the impact of any long-term development.