Natural disasters are a common occurrence around the world today. From earthquakes and tsunamis to hurricanes and landslides, these disasters wreak havoc, not only by taking lives but by destroying homes and infrastructure. Though some natural disasters are a result of the earth’s natural shifting processes, many weather-related disasters like hurricanes and floods have been increasing due to the effects of climate change.
As extreme weather and natural disasters have become more common, architects have been looking for ways to create homes that can withstand these natural disasters. Here’s a look at some of the homes that have been developed:
Earthquake-resistant homes — Earthquakes can be one of the most unpredictable natural disasters. As a result, the damages and loss they cause can be extensive. In New Zealand, Architects’ Creative has worked to develop a home that is more resistant to earthquakes. Ophir was designed for a family that had lost their home in an earthquake. Ophir is made of steel and concrete and has exposed steel frames that anchor the house to its surroundings. Additional cedar and black zinc cladding give the home a modern aesthetic.
SkyDomes — Reminiscent of an igloo, these homes designed by Russian company SkyDomes are intended to improve the safety and comfort of those who live in regions of the world affected by extreme winter weather. The round shape of the home helps prevent heat loss, which can lower electric bills. The home can also withstand heavy loads of snow on the roof and is made of natural materials such as cork, flax, seaweed, and pinewood.
Concrete beach house — Properties located on beaches are at risk for a lot of wear and tear as a result of wind, sand, and waves. Aamodt/Plumb Architects use concrete to build beach houses that can withstand the elements. The concrete can endure salt corrosion and hurricanes much better than a traditional wooden house, while still looking beautiful and blending into the environment.
The Tsunami House — One of the biggest threats to those who live on the coast are tsunamis. Designs Northwest Architects have developed a home with special safety features that can withstand a tsunami. The foundation of the house is designed to counter waves of high velocity, while the exterior of the home is made of steel and concrete for added strength. The main living area of the house is located nine feet above grade to ensure maximum safety.
Disaster-ready dwellings — Cal-Earth, an organization founded by Iranian architect Nader Khalili, is working to create homes that are not only disaster-resistant but can help solve the world’s homeless crisis. His Superadobe homes are made of sandbags, barbed wire, and earth, and are meant to be a safer replacement for shanties located in slums around the world.
While we can’t stop natural disasters from happening, we can adjust our building styles to make structures that are more durable. As architects continue to look at ways to prepare homes to face destructive influences, there’s a good chance that some of these designs and others will be available to general consumers in the near future.