The past month has been devastating for millions of people. The ravages of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria in addition to two Mexico earthquakes have killed hundreds of people and forced thousands of families from their homes. Our hearts go out to everyone affected.
When a hurricane hits, it’s hard not to think of all the beautiful projects we’ve contributed to that were impacted. Though building safety is usually in the architects domain, there are things we can do as interior architects and designers that can help our clients ward off serious damage and keep them safe.
Strong Interior Doors
Obviously people will close the exterior doors and windows. But the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety recommends that you also close all interior doors. Great winds can result in great pressure – enough to cave in the roof – and let the storm in. Having strong interior doors and closing them will disperse the pressure, weakening the storm’s effects on the home or business.
A Safe Room
If the property is located in an area prone to hurricanes and tornados, consider designing a storm shelter into the home or business. There are commercial solutions available, like the DuPont StormRoom. Anchored to the foundation of the building, it can withstand the power of a Category 5 hurricane and wind speeds of 250 miles per hour. These can be outfitted with plumbing and electricity to guarantee reasonable comfort during the storm.
As designers, we can do more to keep people safe. Let this month remind us to think about how natural disasters may impact the homes and businesses we work with. With a little forethought, we can improve the chances that people are protected in every environment we design.
Just a note – we are very proud of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and their efforts to call upon our community to help those who were in Hurricane Harvey’s path. They have set up a page with ways interior designers (and interior architects) can do their part. Please visit them and do your part in bringing normalcy back to the people of Texas.
Photo credits to Brian Flores and Daily Mail