Climate change caused by intense urbanization has resulted in natural disasters and catastrophes that have increased in strength and frequency, and is continuing to do so. These disasters are not only responsible for taking countless of lives but are also the culprit of many economic downturns and humanitarian crises.
While natural disasters cannot be prevented, there are ways to minimize the damage caused by these events. For example, pre-disaster mitigation efforts such as building resilient architecture are crucial in making sure the impact of a natural disaster remains manageable and relatively short-lived.
These efforts include following structure specifications that directly manage disasters, building essential features that promote safety, and utilizing materials that are optimal to a particular natural disaster commonly taking place in a specific area. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, landslides, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, heatwaves, droughts - considered natural disasters - all require unique builds and makes given that they have unique impacts in any place they occur.
Following are a few examples mindful and resilient architecture and interiors lend to manageable damage and effects of natural disasters:
The typical modern building and structure design calls for 90-degree angles, sharp corners, and stiff edges. While this may be space-efficient - especially when paired with other rectangular builds - and is generally viable in most scenarios, there is evidence that proves that other symmetrical shapes and forms better mitigate extreme weather and disasters like hurricanes.
Aerodynamic builds with curved facades or hexagonal shapes are more resistant to the strong force of high wind, and can protect dwellings in areas where hurricanes are a major concern.
For locations that see a lot of water damage like seaside or riverside towns, buildings and homes must be built with efficient drainage systems, considering the possibility of strong rains and persistent flooding.
In earthquake-prone areas, seismic retrofitting is crucial in building foundations and structures that protect against quake damage. Activities such as casting extra concrete and bolstering using external auxiliary struts contribute to more robust structures.
Specific features in a home lend to a strong and disaster-resilient space that is safe to live in. These features include roofing and other essential systems.
Roofing is a key feature in mitigating natural disaster risk in homes and builds. Properly designed and installed roofs help manage high intensity rainfall and prevent continuous fire damage caused by heatwaves or embers. Slate roofs in particular are ideal for the Philippine climate considering their ability to withstand strong winds, heavy rains, and even extreme heat and fire. Cement and clay tiles are a great alternative, especially if you live in an area prone to strong typhoons.
Another key feature to consider is water systems, which may be drainage or fire mitigation. A standard item in every condominium or apartment building is a water sprinkler system. Shutters and sprinklers help mitigate fires that are triggered by direct light or insanely hot weather. Drainage systems, on the other hand, consider proper vents and penetration - since they aim to manage damages caused by particularly strong cyclones.
The make of houses and buildings is a critical point to consider when it comes to designing disaster-resilient architecture. Traditional homes made of natural wood, for example, are surprisingly resilient against earthquakes but unsurprisingly weak when it comes to forest fires and major flooding.
Speaking of floodwater damage, a mix of concrete, latex and vinyl may serve to control flood that settle on the ground. This is especially meaningful information for dwellers in flood-prone areas like Metro Manila. Think permeable concrete or tiling that help delay infiltration of water in infrastructure, or self-repair asphalt that is resistant to water damage. Other water-proof materials include fibre-cement or PVC brick, clay tile, and even treated timber floorboards.