The Role of Architecture While Facing Disasters

The Role of Architecture While Facing Disasters

Buildings mainly serve, among other purposes, as shelter for humankind. Thus, architecture and engineering need to incorporate safety as one of the basic aspects when planning a building. This becomes increasingly complex when we take in consideration the variations in qualities and hazards from one geographic location to another. Disasters are a critical aspect that can never be ignored, even less now with the intensification of climate change. How do we build in order to face these disasters?

Each building is a fragment of the urban environment that the city is as a whole. This means that it’s not enough to just plan each building to be safe by itself: we need to aim towards safer cities, safer environments. Cities must be built with resilience principles using all of the tools that architects and engineers have nowadays.

For this to be fully achieved it’s important to plan in advance, to anticipate disaster as much as it can be anticipated. All the implications and hazards that each particular region has must be considered in order to choose the best materials, techniques and structures. Every step, from the design to the construction and maintenance, must be executed with a profound understanding of the way in which materials and structures respond to certain conditions. 

Architects and engineers must remain creative and receptive to adapt all the technical resources they have to the region’s requirements. Nowadays, for example, the use of biomaterials is being tested due to its plasticity that can really make a difference in the resistance of buildings located in seismic zones. These materials are also being used as compostable alternatives for the quick construction that is sometimes necessary for relief of disaster zones. Artificial Intelligence is also being used for the evaluation of risks and the calculation of hazards.

The architects’ job is to create the best urban environment that society can have, a mission that can turn more complex at times. Even though we can try to take all the hazards in consideration, unexpected things such as the current pandemic can always happen. This is when our discipline and resilience must act at its best, when creativity must emerge and the architectural community must really meet the needs placed by the times we’re living. This past year and a half has been a true lesson on adaptability and perseverance, and the community has really thrived in the creation of solutions. YOU MUST READ World Architecture Day 2021: Joining Forces For a Healthy World

  • Reiner de Graaf, “How Architecture Should Adapt to Climate Change”, Time, https://time.com/4950746/architecture-buildings-climate-change-hurricane-earthquake-destruction/
  • “Role of an architect in disaster management”, Re-Thinking the Future, https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/designing-for-typologies/a4189-role-of-an-architect-in-disaster-management/
  • “Architecture for natural disasters”, Azure Magazine, https://www.azuremagazine.com/article/architecture-for-natural-disasters/



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