Ossining- 2019

This third-year graduate design studio focused on flooding and other climate risks in the Town and Village of Ossining, NY. Their waterfront, located on the east side of the Hudson River about one hour north of New York City, is much adored by its citizens and used daily by thousands in the region.  However, in spite of a long history of uses, development of the waterfront has occurred opportunistically and without a comprehensive, waterfront-scale approach to access, organization, and uses. So, while individual parcels have unique characteristics and values, the waterfront as a whole lacks a cohesive identity and thematic relationship with the rest of its owner municipalities. However the Ossining waterfront is flush with a combination of assets, albeit disjunct, that are important for the economy, recreation, and transportation portfolio of ‘the Ossinings’.  Notable features include a very popular rail station with direct service to New York City, two parks, marinas, restaurants, the mouth of Sing Sing Creek and residential developments. The waterfront is also home to Sing Sing Prison, a maximum detention facility with national-level name recognition and a long, detailed history.

This year’s design team was comprised of 11 graduate students in the LA7010 Design Studio, Associate Professor Josh Cerra from the Cornell Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Libby Zemaitis from the Hudson River Estuary Program, Liz LoGiudice from Resilience Communications, and 11 engineering students in Cornell Professor Todd Walter’s Watershed Engineering course.


 2020 CaD Ossining Lookbook Slide Deck

2019 CaD Ossining Exhibition Slide Deck

Image by Lingyi Xu MLA’20

A Latent Buffer for Ossining

“A Latent Buffer for Ossining ” (Lingyi Xu, MLA ’20) views the Ossining waterfront at three levels- from waterfront to community with a buffer corridor in between.  As sea levels rise and flood frequency increases, this buffer zone becomes a combination of floodable public spaces with critical transportation infrastructure for rail and waterfront access raised above it. Key infrastructure is protected when critical, while other susceptible locations are flood-adapted or relocated to higher ground over time.


“Eco-line” (Zikun Zhang, MLA ’20) elevates the existing rail line on a levee to reduce rail inundation and flooding risk while providing a measure of protection for inland waterfront locations. Areas especially susceptible to flooding or inundation on the waterfront side of the rail line are transitioned inland to higher ground along with new development. A floodgate at Sing Sing Creek allows creek water to drain to the Hudson while protecting inland areas during storm surge.


Image by Zikun Zhang, MLA ’20
Image by Catherine Kana, MLA ’20

River Guards

“River Guards” (Catherine Kana, MLA ’20) seeks to bring people together to raise awareness of climate change and waterfront assets.  A new plaza where Water St. crosses Sing Sing Creek encourages interaction between residents, businesses and NGO’s like Riverkeeper while encouraging citizen science, community engagement, and water-based activities. By transitioning development out of the current and future floodplain but still nearby, the waterfront maintains important ties to the city while providing public waterfront access.

Step Back, Step Up, Move Forward

“Step Back, Step Up, Move Forward (Mark Schrader MLA ’21) proposes a strategic relocation and cut-fill grading strategy to create waterfront open space while encouraging development upslope and facilitating marsh migration in certain locations.  Notable moves include relocating the wastewater treatment plant to nearby waterfront location, transitioning marina uses to the western prison property after facilities move to higher ground, and expanding downtown development toward the waterfront along Hunter Street. Rail access across the waterfront would be maintained by temporarily raising the rail until a future date (estimated 2080’s).


Image by Mark Schrader MLA ’21
Image by Marco Rangel, MLA ’20

Tracing Place, Shifting Shores

“Tracing Place, Shifting Shores” (Marco Rangel, MLA ’20) uses land contouring, materials, and planting strategies to create waterfront places that are memorable, attractive, and enhance ecosystems while anticipating projected sea level rise. User specific places like ‘The Reverie,’ which creates a ‘green jobs’ training opportunity for those incarcerated at Sing Sing, enhance access for diverse types of visitors. This concept is based on a 2050’s climate projection only.

Sing Sing Fugue

Sing Sing Fugue” (Jihany Hassun, MLA ’20) generates a string of dynamic experiences along the waterfront to link seemingly disparate aspects of Ossining’s future waterfront to one another and the city. Amongst other ways the project works with water, this design concept anticipates the popularity of the future Sing Sing Prison Museum to propose additional waterfront attractions including a wetland research facility nearby the Museum after the western portion of the prison transitions upland due to increasing flood risk.

Image by Jihany Hassun, MLA ’20
Image by Juwan McIntyre, MLA ’20

True Urban

“True Urban” (Juwan McIntyre, MLA ’20) focuses on creation of an accessible, flood-adapted park with a community focus. The rail is raised, and below spaces below serve as gathering spaces with a more urban feel while spaces near the waterfront are more open.  Park furniture, play spaces and other improvements that enhance people-based features transition to underwater habitat features benefitting the estuary as sea levels rise over time.

Unlocking the Ossining Waterfront

“Unlocking the Ossining Waterfront” (Dean Yeh MLA/MRP ’20) proposes moving the rail line underground, elevating land to create a new park, and utilizing a complete streets strategy to enhance connectivity between downtown Ossining and the waterfront.


Image by Dean Yeh MLA/MRP ’21

Image by Gabe Curran MLA/MRP ’20

Shifting Lines, Rising Tides

“Shifting Lines, Rising Tides” (Gabe Curran MLA/MRP ’20) seeks to provide waterfront experiences through a cut-fill proposal. Activities along the water create memorable interactions with the Hudson for visitors.

Remix of Green Infrastructure

Remix of Green Infrastructure” (Yuyao Liu MLA ’20) considers how green infrastructure like green roofs, rain gardens and open space can be part of a waterfront strategy for Ossining.



Image by Yuyao Liu MLA ’20