Fig: 1 - The intensity and frequency of hurricanes have increased in the past few years due to climate change.
Cities are urban agglomerations, created with complicated planning efforts. There are many layers of urban fabric that are weaved to make a wholesome environment. An optimistic approach is assumed during the planning process, every place designed, thinking of an ideal scenario.
Time and again, our built environments are tested in changing conditions of political, social, and economic environments. The effect of these changes could be minimal on infrastructure.
On the contrary, in the event of an unexpected, natural calamity, a more significant impact is produced. It can rip apart the fabric of any region it hits, causing irreversible damage. In this contemporary climate, threats of natural disasters have escalated and accidents have become recurrent.
How can we protect the communities at risk?
Fig: 2 - Destruction from hurricanes has been known to devastate the livelihood of coastal communities.
Climate change is an issue created by humankind that is disturbing the balance in nature. The constant deterioration of the environment has provoked catastrophic disasters in the process. Different regions are facing the backlash of ecosystem imbalance, which is resulting in earthquakes, wildfires, flooding, tsunamis, hurricanes, and so on.
A hurricane is a cyclone, characterised by strong winds, thunderstorms, and heavy rain. The disaster caused large-scale devastation and loss of life in coastal and inland communities. Climate change has increased hurricane recurrence and intensity.
But over time, the information gathered from such experiences has made it possible to protect communities from its harsh impacts. There is a need to reinforce construction and build resilient structures to shelter people in the event of a disaster. Local communities must be equipped with the knowledge, manpower and infrastructure to ensure their survival.
Fig: 3 - The floods have left local communities with no means of shelter, nourishment, or safety.
Brief: The challenge is to design a civil protection centre that can become a shelter for town people during hurricane emergencies. It will operate as a command centre for agencies responsible for citizen protection, rescue, and management.
The structure must be fortified to stand against the hurricane hazards of storms, flooding, and flying debris. Hurricane-proof materials and technology must be explored. In the process of boosting hurricane resistance, the quality of design must not be compromised.
The aim of the design is to be a multifunctional space that is used by service agencies as well as the public for activities. It must also serve as a training facility for hurricane preparedness. It can be used as a facility for storage of amenities and dispersal of emergency services, in the aftermath of a disaster.
Agile: The design of the module must be compact with easy installation and dismantling.
Resilient: The centre must be able to withstand in the event of a hurricane.
Multifunctional: The spaces in the centre must accommodate a range of activities.
Context: The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.
The site is located in Houston County, Texas, United States. Houston County has a population of 23,732. The county is made of six cities and is vulnerable to hurricanes. During the hurricane season, locals are asked to evacuate their homes for safety concerns.
The last disaster to hit the area as Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The event destroyed 300,000 structures under flood, killed 68 people, and caused more than $120 million worth of damage. There are many interventions that are being taken by the authorities and local communities to help rebuild the towns in the aftermath of these events.
The site is located in Crockett, Texas. The location is central, surrounded by a mixed-use neighborhood. Its prime location beside the city hall offers an advantage for convenient dispersal of services.
Site area = 3272 sq.m
Height restriction = 9 metres
Maximum Built Up Area = 3272 sq.m
Ground coverage = 30%
Setbacks (as per CAD plan)
Coordinates = 31°19'10.6"N 95°27'27.0"W
The main objective of the civil protection centre is to provide shelter to the locals in the event of a hurricane or surge storm. The shelter can be made into a communal space and be used for multiple functions all around the year. Space can be used for communal gatherings, meetings, or local events acting as an extension of the adjacent town hall.
The centre can also accommodate the infrastructure of the fire department, sanitation department, police, and security or offices of local governmental agencies like alpine rescue and so on.
Additional activities can be added to the typology with adequate justification.