As an architect (or at least, a former student of architecture) I have an interest in new ideas people have about building. Ok, mostly I am interested in residential building. Corporate and industrial structures have little interest for me – they’re less structured to adapt to people. I find the robotized warehouses of parts not made for people distinctly claustophobic and wrong, despite the fact that they may be highly useful and space efficient. So – with my intense people-scale residential interest – I was delighted to see a new hurricane house testing project on a massive level. Of course, it’s aptly named The Three Little Pigs Project. Never say they don’t have humor in Canadia.
But what is most interesting with the project – outside of its name – is its process. They’re taking their time figuring out exactly why a hurricane collapses a building, and how. The ultimate goal is still prevention and building better houses, but it’s deliberate over the long term, which I kinda like. Pinpointing stressed areas does have a certain validity for the grand work of making houses stronger. And the way most roofs attach to houses and the way walls themselves are constructed, ‘balloon framing’ has a whole new meaning. In addition, after New Orleans and all the legal scutwork of various insurance agencies, even research involving exactly why and how a house fails is extremely important. Go Little Pigs!
Since they seem to have everything pretty well covered and are very technologically sound (way to build your house out of bricks, guys), it almost makes me feel bad to be the hurricane. I think they might need more of a Big Bad. How about adding some earthquakes, locusts, diseases, or other ravages to the experiements? I’d be happy to contribute a bit of huffing and puffing myself, if that could scientifically help.