An Erupting Stability: Tornado Proof Suburb / 10 DESIGN

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“Erupting Stability: Tornado Proof Suburb” is a project being developed by Ted Givens, AIA, of 10 Design in Hong Kong.  He and his team are researching ways to apply kinetic design to architecture in order to provide safe options for shelter in climatically unsafe environments.  The goal is to break free from static ways of building and create a method of using technology that learns from and responds to the environment in a dynamic way.  ”Erupting Stability” assesses the forces of tornadoes and high velocity winds, specifically, by the way that he and his team are thinking about architecture opens up a range of possibilities for applications in any disaster scenario.

Join us after the break for more on the project and a video that demonstrates how it works.

How can a house respond to its environment?  The answer, says Givens, is somewhere “between garage doors, flowers, and the survival mentality of a turtle”.  The futuristic design provides a protective shuttle that submerges underground when extreme weather conditions threaten the safety of the inhabitants. A series of hydraulic levers control the movement of the home in and out of the ground. They also control the outer skin which can warp in response to external stimuli and deflect against destructive forces, like high speed winds. The design has its own survival instinct that is triggered by the winds of thunderstorms or tornadoes to which it responds by getting out of harms way.

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The technology of the outer skin is durable and efficient. It acts as a passive weather barrier that consists of clear insulation sandwiched between two layers of kevlar that allows diffuse light to penetrate into the interior spaces of the structure. The roof has a water tight seal to protect it from heavy rains associated with thunderstorms and potentially flooding. The safest place, Givens says, is down into the earth.

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Givens and his team hope to give an alternative impression of technology and human shelters. Rather than trying to dominate and transform the landscape, throwing off the natural ecological homeostasis of an ecosystem, this design offers a solution that works within the parameters of the environment, learning from it and responding to it passively.

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An aggregation of these homes can build neighborhoods that will become interwoven and connected together through sensor networks that interpret weather data. Suburban communities can collapse in seconds in response to warning sirens that indicate extreme weather threats. The collective response allows neighborhoods to behave as an organism and exchange information about the environment.

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Givens and his team are also exploring new ways of looking at materials that can react to the weather conditions on the outer skin of the building. The team is looking at photocatalytic coatings and carbon nanotubes that can absorb and clean pollution, turning it directly into fuel for the home to power hydraulics. This is just one potential application for this kind of technology. Ted Givens and his team is currently developing a prototype in collaboration with a group of ship builders in the US and Africa.

Design Partner at 10: Ted Givens
Design Team: Trey Tyler, Mohamad Ghamlouch, Shane Dale, Dougald Fountain

Cite: Vinnitskaya, Irina. "An Erupting Stability: Tornado Proof Suburb / 10 DESIGN" 15 Aug 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=262505>