Cohen started thinking about how the town could fall victim to a catastrophic weather event and, in a misguided attempt to fortify itself physically or hastily rebuild damaged structures with only functionality as a guide, could lose the unique architectural, cultural, and natural elements that make it so special.

Preston Scott Cohen, Professor in Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design had many thoughts on the subject.

Wanting to find a way to contribute, Cohen led a studio of Harvard architecture students last semester to begin studying how Provincetown might ward off the oncoming seas while still retaining its history and the delicate interplay of the natural and human-made environment.

Student projects took one of three approaches: attack the water by building on piers or lifts that could be raised and lowered; defend against the water by constructing levees or other short-term barriers to keep it at bay; or retreat from the shoreline to higher ground, moving inland or building towers that rise above water levels.

Fascinating article from the Harvard Gazette. Read the full study here: