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A scientific approach should be used to find better ways of building against natural disasters

14 September, 2017

• FOR people in Camden who have relatives in the Caribbean the recent hurricanes must be deeply distressing.

As an architect I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the design of the houses in these islands and in southern America. As soon as there is a wind of any force, the roofs blow off and the thin panelled walls fly away (in contrast to the palm trees which bend right over but spring back up again once the hurricane has passed).

Cars get lifted in the air and end upside down. It seems to me that there should be a fundamental redesign of this infrastructure by leading scientists and engineers.

There should be wind-tunnel tests of structures held together with diagonal wire cross-bracing and metal straps. Maybe even earth banks should be piled up against the walls to strengthen them. Arched designs should be considered where the forces of the wind are driven into the ground.

It is also noticeable that while motor cars and boats are flung about their curved metal and fibre glass bodies are not blown to bits in the same way as the pitched roof panel buildings.

Curved structures, such as the corrugated iron hangers of World War Two, might suggest alternatives for wind-tunnel tests.

If a storm was forecast, cars could be bolted down to blocks of concrete in the car park paving and law enacted to ensure all chassis are provided with bolting down lugs. Caravans in Scotland are bolted to the ground in this manner.

In other words there should be scientific thought and action given to these areas before the wolves again huff and puff and blow the whole lot down again.

NICHOLAS WOOD
South Hill Park Gardens, NW3

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