In disaster-prone areas around the world, it is often those in rural villages who are most vulnerable to the devastating effects of natural events such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Resilient Homes is an international design competition run by World Bank Group and Build Academy that aims to respond to the issue of low-cost housing that is susceptible to damage from high winds, earthquakes, and flooding. The aim of the competition is to design a dwelling that is low-cost, easy to build and sustainable for areas which are likely to experience these natural disasters. The geographical typologies included designing for island, mountain, and coastal regions.
We have teamed up with one of the competition winners, KZ Architecture, to help deliver their winning design. The predominant construction material of the prototype, bamboo, is a low cost, highly sustainable, lightweight material which is ideal for the criteria set out in the brief.
Bamboo is well known for its high strength to weight ratios and is commonly used as a building material in several places around the world such as Colombia, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Structures built in bamboo are typically built with experience and precedent rather than a calculated approach. There is very little codified guidance on the structural properties of bamboo and so one of the key aspects of the project included carrying out in-depth research to the structural properties of the material and the typical connections that feature in bamboo structures.
Once the team had established a set of structural properties and general design principles, the team began to develop the design with a focus on a strategy that would allow the structure to withstand high-winds and seismic accelerations. The natural limitations of bamboo means that designing the dwelling to remain fully intact under full hurricanes forces and extreme earthquake events is impractical and betrays the low-cost, easy to build criteria.
Therefore, except for a small safe-zone in the centre of the building, the structure is designed to fail incrementally. To relieve pressure on the primary frame under high-winds, the roof and wall cladding systems are designed to be constructed in small pieces which can break away most importantly, fail before the pressures on the primary structure become excessive. This strategy was reached as it was considered that by minimising the risk of collapse of large elements this would reduce the danger to human life and also reduce the cost of rebuilding, should a hurricane occur.
A single-storey dwelling, the Resilient Home’s structure is relatively simple, comprised of 6 roof trusses which rest on columns connected with horizontal elements and cross bracing for stability. The building is elevated from the ground, resting on a series of concrete piers which provide resilience against flooding.
The next steps for the Resilient Home design team include working with local bamboo contractors in order to create the first prototype. Part of this process will include testing of the bamboo connections in order to understand their capacities.
Low-cost, durable housing designed to withstand extreme weather conditions
World City Bank