Man Vs. Nature: A Battle between Architecture and Hurricane Irma
In the right corner we have Hurricane Irma.
In the other corner we have Florida.
The showdown starts today... Lets Go!
Hi DesignBloc Fam. It's Erica -- As many of you know from my announcement on the Instagram on Thursday, I was shutting down for a bit to stay focused on preparing for the storm coming. However, now that I'm settled in a safer area (Orlando), and have some downtime before Ms. Irma arrives, I'm feeling like a post is necessary right now. For those who don't know, Miami is home of The Design Bloc, so the visit by Hurricane Irma this weekend hits close to home....literally.
IRMA NEARING MIAMI // The winds and sea are whipped up off of the Rickenbacker Causeway in Miami as Hurricane Irma approaches on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. ( Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
South Florida in general is a special place -- especially for designers, artists, architects, and passionate creators. It's a place with vibrating energy and life.
The towers that create it's skyline are the icon that will live in the minds of millions of those who get to experience it. The skyline is nothing short of iconic, and is growing faster than I can dance to my favorite Pitbull song.
On another note, with a fast growing city comes disadvantages that may affect those who stay behind during the storm. Lets break it down:
The Buildings vs. Irma (Architecture and the Storm)
1) Many active construction sites with debris
3) The New Local Building Code enforced after Andrew
Man Vs. Nature:
A Battle between Architecture and Hurricane Irma
1) Active Construction Sites
A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the coast of Florida and barrier islands, including Miami Beach, based on zones most at risk for flooding. My area was evacuated, but the numerous active construction sites that surround my building make me nervous.
Due to all of the active sites, materials and equipment pose a big threat. Miami's skyline is fully equipped with a sea of cranes that soar high next to famous towers by star-chitects. Across Miami, construction sites have also been put on lock down, so materials that could potentially fly away can be taken away or secured.
2) Cranes: The Silent Giants
The City of Miami issued a statement on Twitter warning citizens of the potential toppling danger of the 30-40 cranes in the city. "These tower cranes are designed to withstand winds up to 145 miles per hour, not a Category 5 hurricane. Lucky as of today, Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a Category 3 but that doesn't change the posed danger.
Unfortunately, taking the cranes down is not an option. As many of you know, cranes take about 2 weeks to install and roughly the same to take down. Responding to questions on Twitter about dismantling the cranes before the storm hits, the City of Miami said "there is not enough time." Due to this danger, it's encouraged that those in buildings next to the cranes leave.
"The crane's arm has to remain loose; it is not tied down," the statement said. Yes, that means it will be spinning -- It's actually safer that way. "The arm's counterbalance is very heavy and poses a potential danger if the crane collapses." -- A collapse that I don't plan on being around to experience.
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3) The New Local Building Code: Learning from the Past
This will be the first time that many of the buildings in Miami have been through a major hurricane. You see, Miami went through a destructive hurricane in the past: Andrew in 1992. Andrew was the costliest hurricane to make landfall anywhere in the United States until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. This hurricane not only affected the lives of many South Florida residents, but as Katrina did, it affected the way the cities were re-built.
A New Code
Windows in towers are now required to have impact resistance windows (minimum requirement at the first 4 feet), and are to be able to combat wind-speeds that come along with a Category 3 hurricane.
Luckly The Miami Building Code is designed around this parameter, so I'm sure that its residents have an added a level of comfort now that the storm has been downgraded.
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Conclusion: The Dual Starts Tonight for South Florida and Beyond
So here in Florida, we are facing a battle tonight and for the rest of the weekend. I truly hope the clear winner will be our beautiful cities. With the storm stretching over 400 miles it's going to be a tough match, but I hope that everyone in its path has good vibes and stays safe. Those who are lucky enough to not be in the path of Irma, please keep Florida, surrounding states, islands, and all those affected in your thoughts!
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