2021 Merit Award

Analysis, Planning, Research and Communications

Kingston Point Climate Adaptive Design

Kingston, NY

Landscape Architect:

Supermass Studio

Project Team:

eDesign Dynamics (ecological engineer)
emphas!s design (public outreach)
City of Kingston (municipal partner)
NEIWPCC/New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (client)


About the Project:

Kingston Point is a historic riverfront public recreational park and preserved natural lands along the Hudson River. In its current form, it contains a public beach, a playground, a baseball diamond, a BMX track, naturalized areas with trails, and a tourist trolley station, all surrounded by a tidal wetland. The project considers the need to examine Kingston Point as a site demonstrating a complex interplay of a shifting and changing estuarine ecosystem due to sea level rise and the city’s continuing need to provide safe and accessible recreation. The overall vision of the project is to create a well-connected and resilient Kingston Point which can remain a viable public and natural asset for Kingston for decades to come.

Special Factors & Additional Information:

The project was funded and led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and required the project team to partner with a municipality under threat of climate change and seeking adaptive measures. Instead of the typical client/consultant relationship, this process enabled a closer and more fruitful planning collaboration with the City of Kingston, who acted as the municipal partner. With the City as an active and working participant in the planning process, the project team was able to engage more deeply with the community to solicit public feedback on the future of Kingston Point in the face of sea level rise and explore various climate adaptive measures through the development of several scenarios.


Following an evaluation of intervention scenarios, the public beach was selected as a pilot. The final design framework creates three distinct terrace levels with various constructed edges at seat wall heights on the beach. The terraces emerge narrowly from one side and expand out towards the other end to provide larger areas for more generously sized beach programs including the existing beach volleyball courts. The top terrace serves as a promenade and connects to the upland areas adjacent to the beach, ultimately providing a sea level rise barrier.


In line with the overall vision, habitat connectivity is a critical aspect of the design. A new wetland cove will provide a dynamic habitat element and connect to the existing rock outcrop shoreline. An accessible pier with seating elements will extend from the upper promenade allowing visitors to engage directly with the constructed wetland and the river beyond. Narrower planted terraces will provide smaller intimate program spaces such as activity decks and sand play areas. The planted terraces will also serve to connect with the upland forest, allowing other habitat elements to extend into the beach.

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