Weathering the Storm: Hurricane Resiliency in the Florida Keys

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Virginia Tech


How can architects let their buildings interact with the water while protecting occupants from the potential danger? The two intents are very different and often compete with one, either protection or recreation, as the primary program in one project.

Water draws people, everyone likes being near water. People visit waterfalls and the beach just to experience moving water, they go boating and kayaking just to be on the water. Water views and access are considered an amenity that drive up prices in buildings. Whenever possible architects should strive to connect their architecture and water and to let occupants interact with the water.

However, water can be dangerous too. Overfull rivers wash away roads and cars. Floods inundate entire cities, and hurricanes devastate huge islands. In addition to catastrophic damage sea levels are rising around the world causing damage and rendering low lying land uninhabitable. Architects must protect against these dangers. If designed correctly buildings can offer shelter from storms and resist rising water of all kinds.

For my thesis I decided to study how to reconcile these two conflicting approaches to water.



Hurricane, Resiliency, Self-Sufficiency, Sea Level Rise, Flooding, Timber, Elementary School, Florida Keys