PRELOADING : A Transformative Approach to Flood Preparation and Relief
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For islands and coastal cities, the body of water that nourishes the land can easily become a leading source of threat. Natural disasters are mostly unpredictable and often have devastating impact on life and property. Although intensive tsunami inundations rarely occur, annual recurring flooding caused by rising water levels and coastal inundation is a common problem. People are often repeatedly trapped in flooded homes or are forced to quickly evacuate to inadequate temporary shelters. Two common approaches to flood threat are to build permanent barriers or to physically distance people from the water. However, as the water is essential to the livelihood of islands and coastal cities, these approaches often create more harm than good, destroying the normal beneficial relationship between the people and the water. Damage to homes and the destruction of communities are often inevitable, and thus require large amounts of material and time for post-disaster reconstruction. Since external resources are expensive and difficult to transport during times of need, the lack of immediate internal response to sudden natural disasters can cause severe delays in the disaster relief process and hinder the future redevelopment of the community. Consequently, the urgent issue is how to incorporate flood readiness into the built environment. How do we prepare ourselves for the occurrence and recurrence of flooding in coastal cities? This thesis proposes that, in designing for disasters, the architect’s objective should be to design buildings that can respond to, recover from, and be resilient against water inundation. This thesis investigates a new strategy for flood protection and relief within the context of Port Alberni, British Columbia. The aim is to establish interconnected relationships between pre- and post-disaster buildings, materials, and resources. This means designing existing architecture in public space to contain the material and programmatic capacity to partially withstand flooding and strategically transform into spaces for flood relief. These, in turn, contribute to the rebuilding of a resilient community. Daily public interactions with these architectural elements can also preload the residents with disaster awareness and knowledge for disaster relief. The design aims to reduce the gap between the urgent need for shelter and the speed of reaction to flood events, at the same time, create an architectural syntax that constructs place and brings people back to the water.
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Anqi Zhang (2019). PRELOADING : A Transformative Approach to Flood Preparation and Relief. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14389