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In the Aftermath of Odette, We Rethink How We Design our Homes

After Typhoon Odette (Rai) swept over 10 regions in our country last December 14, many Filipinos were left homeless and devastated. Many scrambled for food, water, and basic essentials, without shelter and electricity in their communities. This wasn’t how people imagined spending their holidays.

While there is proof that the storm has been weathered, the real challenge is surviving on what was left. Not only were livelihoods wrecked, but so were the infrastructures and many were left without a place to call home.

Approximately 597,000 residences were damaged by the typhoon, according to the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.

The Situation At Hand

Given that the Philippines is geographically located in the Pacific typhoon belt, our country encounters five destructive tropical cyclones out of the average 20. Our coastal communities also make up 60% of our population, and that these zones suffer the most damage during and after every storm. Given these, iIt’s safe to say that disaster preparedness remains an essential focus in design, but this challenging job is easier said than done.

Sustainability as the Key

We all want a place we can call home. We all need a sanctuary that will keep us safe and secure, especially during times like Typhoon Odette. Living in a country visited by several storms a year doesn’t desensitize us or make us fear less for our and our families’ safety. Here are some approaches that can be implemented to the design of our homes.

Natural Lighting and Ventilation

As much as you can, allow enough light and air into your home by design, and this is not just for comfort.

After Odette, people were fumbling in search of fuel for their generators, because while they were safe in their homes, they couldn’t see well indoors - even during the day. This is proof that our reliance on technology and tools is taking its toll, and it’s time we make use of resources that are readily available in nature.

While these openings may be a cause for worry during the strong winds, this is where louvers or storm shutters can come in handy.

Structural Stability as a Priority