Mason Andrews is an Associate Professor of Architecture at Hampton University, engaged in a cross-disciplinary set of design studios studying adaptation strategies to sea level rise at the scale of historic districts. A report on the first year’s efforts, in the Norfolk Neighborhood of Chesterfield Heights, can be found on a partner environmental agency’s website. Andrews was recently named a Resilient City Builder by Norfolk’s Rockefeller Foundation funded Resilience Office for that work
Andrews was part of the Norfolk team contributing to an initiative on part of Dutch Dialogues called “Life at Sea-Level,” which paired Dutch urban designers, engineers and other experts with their American counterparts (including Waggoner and Ball of New Orleans) to explore creative solutions to flood risks. “Dutch Dialogues” was first held in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina – and is considered a turning point for both Norfolk, Hampton and the region. The initial student work described above was made part of the Dutch Dialogue study. Subsequently, Andrews participated in workshops crafting the Commonwealth of Virginia’s application for HUD’s National Disaster Recovery Competition; the student project area was the only in the state’s entry to be funded, with $120,000,000.
The cross-disciplinary work, now styled the Coastal Community Design Collaborative, is continuing as a joint program of Hampton University’s Department of Architecture and Old Dominion University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. A cross-university cross-disciplinary concentration in adaptation to sea level rise is in the works, and engineering students from James Madison University have also joined the effort for a two year research initiative. In March the group was selected by a consortium including the Clinton Global Initiative, the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program, and the Architects Foundation, to complete its National Resilience Initiative network of design studios.
Educated at the University of Virginia and Princeton, Andrews is the author of monographs on the work of Aldo Rossi and Frank Gehry for Rizzoli. A founding partner of the New York firm Archipelago, she has also headed several development corporations. She served until recently on her city’s Architectural Review Board and its predecessor, for twelve years, five as its chair. Andrews lives in a fine old house in Norfolk, Virginia, the basement of which is fast becoming part of the city’s harbor.