Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Storm-proof architecture

The Philippines’ tropical climate only has two seasons: the wet and the dry season, but during the rainy months, typhoons and storms are abundant, leaving many homes damaged in their wake. The recent super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan destroyed over 360,000 houses as it passed the Visayas region just this month. 

The harshness of storms makes it necessary for homes to be built with durable materials.

If you’re just starting to build your home from the ground up, or you’re planning a major renovation on your existing home, now would be a good time as any to consider architectural decisions that will make your home safer and more secure from typhoons and storms. Some prominent Filipino architects have come together to offer advice for new home designs for the afflicted areas. 

The harshness of storms makes it necessary for homes to be built with durable materials. Wood construction and the use of hollow cement blocks are not as durable against storms. The use of concrete is more appropriate. 

Roofing is also a cause for concern, especially with the recent typhoon, where numerous homes had their roofs blown off by the strong winds. Hip roofs, or colloquially termed quatro aguas, are roofs with four sides. The number of sides helps the roof stay put, as it provides less traction for the winds to pry off the roof. Another safe option is a slab roof, which can be the ground surface of your roof deck as well. 

A trend in modern homes today is wall-to-ceiling glass windows. This is a great architectural aesthetic but may be a dangerous feature during storms. It is best to use tempered glass, which will shatter into tiny pieces when broken. Glass that is not tempered breaks up into shards that may cause serious injury to bystanders. Another way to protect your glass windows is by installing storm shutters over windows and doors. 

Source: www.rappler.com 


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