Resilient Design in Architecture

Resilient architecture and sustainability connect– genuinely sustainable buildings can withstand disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, as well as the test of time. As natural disasters become ever more prevalent, architects and builders must think about resilient architecture when building new structures and improving old ones.

Resilient design isn’t solely for individual buildings; cities built around this idea would benefit the most from resilient architecture, especially during natural disasters. However, before architects begin creating resilient structures, there are several factors they must consider in the design.

The first is the significance of the building’s function within the community, and its role said function fulfills in the business or institution is a part of. The second thing to consider is the effect of the damage from a disaster and the recovery for the community and environment. And last, the economic importance of a timely recovery.

While there are other factors that architects must consider in the design of resilient structures and cities, these are important because some buildings, such as hospitals, are crucial to the function of cities. It is also essential for architects and builders to think about the future stress buildings will have to endure. Climate change means that past data cannot be relied on as often and future trends must be the primary consideration.

Resilient design isn’t just important in the event of catastrophes. It can also improve the function of buildings on a day-to-day basis. For instance, green roofs and walls help slow the absorption of rainfall and collect storm runoff that could otherwise overwhelm drainage systems on the street. Green roofs and walls also have the added benefit of providing extra insulation and improving air quality for city dwellers.

Developments in building materials for durable and resilient structures are also on the rise. As technology improves, better and stronger materials will emerge on the market making resilient design a viable candidate for building design and city planning.

Stronger building materials such as impact glass like the kind used in cars can also provide durability during intense storms. Bendable glass, which is currently in its development stages, would also provide added resilience against high winds during hurricanes by bending rather than shattering.

Another material that could potentially become more common in resilient architecture is ultra-high-performance concrete or UHPC. This new type of cement is six times stronger than its regular counterpart and, like bendable glass, has some give when rocked by buffering winds.

However, materials like the ones listed above are often a lot more expensive than standard construction materials and may require extra licensing and training, especially in regard to UHPC. This could be a turn off for builders who want to cut costs wherever possible. 

There are many reasons why cities and individual buildings should transition to a more resilient design. As climate change accelerates the damage that natural disasters cause, a shift towards this form of architecture will have to occur. It is the best way to protect citizens around the globe and make a recovery as smooth as possible.

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