Disaster Relief Structural Framework: Transitional to Permanent

Nawari O. Nawari; Michael Porter; Tilson L. William
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused enormous devastation of homes, property, and infrastructure over vast coastal areas in more than eight countries in the region. The need for adequate shelter became an emergency of an unprecedented scale. Such a large scale of devastation presents an opportunity for engineers and architects to design without the normal restrictions of surrounding context and affect social change through good design. Disaster Relief has been traditionally thought of in the realm of temporary structure, a structure that must be transported and erected at the place of the disaster. With the glut of aid, the humanitarian aid response to the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was 14 billion US dollars. It certainly seemed to be the easiest answer to spend much on a structure, transport it and simply build it on site as the most efficient and timely answer. The failure comes in the ill consideration of the site and lack of appropriate sustainable solutions for a permanent shelter. This research seeks to provide a solution for disaster relief that addresses a path from a provided transitional structure (usefulness measured in years not months) to a permanent architecture. It has also been shown that “…transitional” may be a misnomer, since many people never leave these homes, nor are “the homes upgraded”. Relief structures have failed to anticipate needs of growth and daily life sustaining activities that go beyond the immediate need of shelter. The needs of shelter are predictable: roof, enclosure, windows, doors, etc… but there are shortfalls in considerations for expansion and needs for clean water, food storage and cooking and other life sustaining functions that go programmatically beyond “shelter”. This gap in the goal and reality of aiding the affected people will attempt to be bridged by a modular framework that provides the flexibility to grow, improve and respond to make a quicker path to their normal permanent lifestyle. The framework will address multiple needs in negotiating the requirements of a non-permanent transitional structure. It will accept numerous infill methods, both provided and vernacular. In addition to those basics, more frameworks can allow the plan to grow and be adapted to the different programs of each occupant and different typologies altogether, from individual to community level concerns. Special attention is given to such concerns as security, food cooking and distribution, and sanitation that are all typically omitted in a shelter design.
Disaster Relief Structure; Structural Framework; Transitional Structure; Permanent Structure Relief Shelter; Disaster Relief Architecture
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