Monday, July 28, 2014

Disaster-resilient school design in the Philippines

Maricris Irene V. Tamolang in the Philippine Daily Inquirer: While some schools in the Philippines serve as evacuation centers in times of calamities, none are especially designed to adapt to and withstand natural disasters. Like other structures vulnerable to tropical storms, schools get damaged or worse, destroyed, depriving evacuees the safety they most need.

To address this problem, three incoming senior architecture students at the University of the Philippines Diliman came up with a climate-adaptive and disaster-resilient school design strong enough to survive supertyphoons like “Yolanda.”

With inputs from the group’s adviser, Nicolo del Castillo, “Taklob,” which means cover (derived from the word “Tacloban”), topped the school category of “Build Forward,” a competition sponsored by a property developer. The team members modeled Taklob after the structural design of a bridge introduced in their Architectural Structures IV class last semester, said Rafael Khemlani, who suggested the idea.

This model mainly accounted for the arches and cable wires that replaced the conventional columns in most construction projects, he said. Each classroom has an area of 76.5 sq m. It has a restroom and an evacuation supply storage—both located at the rear side—and doors at both ends of the front side. The floor is elevated 1 meter from the ground to prevent damage from storm surges.

...“We won’t call it a green design because the main element used is mostly steel,” Mervin Afan said. “But it is sustainable because of its tropical feature, allowing air to pass through easily. It is climate-adaptive because of its flexibility. During hot days, you can leave the storm shutters open and when the rainy season sets in, you can keep them closed.”...

A Philippine resident sits outside of his home in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan. US military photo

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