Architects Without Borders-Seattle
Ready To Rumble
Competition Brief: "Will you be ready when the next earthquake strikes Seattle? To help promote earthquake awareness and readiness, Architects Without Borders-Seattle is hosting an open design competition to change the way we think about earthquake preparedness in the Puget Sound area. AWB-Seattle challenges you to propose a potentially life-saving tool, method, system, or product to help our neighbors and community members get ready for the big one."
Inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the struggles faced by New Orleans, Seattle’s Earthquake Preparation Plan (SEPP) aims to prepare the city for large-scale destruction. A number of elements contributed to the devastation of New Orleans. Power outages took out communications preventing city, state, and government officials to communicate effectively and efficiently handle evacuations or resource distribution. SEPP is an urban intervention which highlights safe zones within the city and delegates buildings which can be used for refuge. These buildings would need to be retrofitted to be self-sustaining, or as close as possible, through the use of water filtration and recycling systems, solar panels, and wind power. The energy generated by the solar panels and wind turbines would prevent the loss of communication abilities allowing officials to coordinate recovery. Buildings that are delegated for refuge are spread throughout the safe areas of the city to maintain accessibility. SEPP highlights buildings that are used as primary and secondary sites of refuge as well as identifying which areas are used for resource drop zones. Because of Seattle’s dependence on bridges and tunnels, it is important to consider the possibility of isolation. With the scale of destruction predicted for Seattle, prevention is impossible but preparation is not. SEPP is a preparation system aimed at making recovery quicker and as efficient as possible.