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945 Days ago

Marvel Demonstrates Outstanding Hurricane Relief Innovations in Puerto Rico

New York, NY, Feb. 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Marvel Architects is honored to announce that Founding Principal Jonathan Marvel has been issued a Presidential Citation by the National American Institute of Architects (AIA) for his restorative work in the Caño Martin Pena District of San Juan, Puerto Rico with deep appreciation for his leadership and dedication to finding creative, compassionate, and sustainable solutions in the face of untold devastation in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Marvel started the non-profit Resilient Power Puerto Rico (RPPR) in 2017 to create energy resiliency through the introduction of solar energy across the island.

Carl Elefante, the 94th President of the AIA, issued this year’s citations to people and organizations that went above and beyond to contribute to the architecture profession and/or their community. Presidential Citations are a privilege of the AIA President and are expressions of the President’s viewpoint, unlike design awards and other AIA recognitions that represent more formalized jury selection processes.

“During my visit to Puerto Rico, I spent time with Jonathan, Jose Marchand, Jonathan’s mother, and their leadership team, and visited a community center in Caño Martin Pena where I saw firsthand the positive impact of their efforts after Hurricane Maria,” says Elefante. “I also got to see the importance of Jonathan’s strategic entrepreneurism, linking the San Juan and New York offices. In my view, the simple gesture of issuing a Presidential Citation in recognition of Jonathan’s leadership was the least I could do to acknowledge the importance of his work where it was needed the most.”

Resilient Power Puerto Rico has had a very successful year, working with local electrical engineers and Tesla-trained installers to provide relief to underserved communities. Using solar panels, RPPR has built infrastructure for long-term power resiliency by creating redundancy in the power system to provide security and reliability against future natural disasters or failures of the electrical system. Across the island, 33 micro grids have been installed to help power densely populated areas of San Juan, with 22 planned for the near future. The solar micro grids incorporate lithium batteries, creating a long-lasting solution to Puerto Rico’s power outage problem. Their newest installation in Vieques, one of the islands of Puerto Rico devastated most by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, is part of their community energy needs program, and is the first of eight sites being developed in partnership with Para La Naturaleza. In addition, as part of a Renewable Energy Microgrids Program, RPPR has created The Puerto Rico Energy Toolkit, currently in live beta testing. Co-authored by the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Toolkit is a comprehensive and interactive open database focused on supporting the growth of renewable energy in Puerto Rico and aims to strengthen collaborator’s capacities to implement renewable microgrids across the Island’s most impacted communities, maximizing social impact investments.

“As an architect, the most meaningful way to help the people of Puerto Rico, and thus the world, get to a better place is through benevolent altruism,” said Marvel.  “The AIA’s recognition of this is truly special.”

In addition, Marvel Architects is working on prototypes for a community of resilient homes that can better weather future storms (see rendering below). With an approximate budget of $120,000, power and potable water are the main focus to assure that in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the systems meet and exceed the recommended period of time to receive aid from first responders.  The design uses solar panels and batteries to keep the essential services of the home running when the grid goes down. A rainwater collection system stores and filters water, while a solar water heater keeps showers warm. With Puerto Rico’s powerful year-round solar energy source and healthy rainwater collection, the prototype is capable of replenishing and sustaining itself for extended periods of time.

About Marvel Architects
Marvel Architects is a solutions-driven design practice that integrates context and nature into every project, meeting each design challenge by listening to its surroundings. The result is a thoughtful design that inspires users to remember what was there before and to marvel at what it has become. With offices in New York and San Juan, Marvel is an international firm dedicated to creativity and diversity. For 20+ years, Marvel has earned an award-winning reputation for designing at the intersection of public and private space. From the New Jersey Institute of Technology to St. Ann’s Warehouse, the team has pioneered an entrepreneurial approach to architecture and place-making that has been recognized by over 125 industry design awards including the AIA’s highest honors. Current projects include a new regional theater of national importance in Arkansas, the first LGBTQ+-welcoming senior housing venture in New York City, and the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a destination for technology and entrepreneurship. www.marvelarchitects.com

About Resilient Power Puerto Rico
Founded in the wake of the storm by Jonathan Marvel (principal of New York and San Juan-based Marvel Architects), and Puerto Rico-born New York attorney Cristina Roig, who share strong island connections, Resilient Power Puerto Rico’s long term mission is to address the vulnerabilities of the island's existing, fossil-fueled electrical infrastructure by supporting initiatives that promote renewable, clean energy. RPPR is a nonprofit group acting under the fiscal sponsorship of of the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust, a 501 (c)(3) corporation. www.resilientpowerpr.org


Alex Polier
Marvel Architects

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