Friday, October 19, 2012

Croatian Firm to Design Istanbul’s First Disaster Prevention and Education Center


 Natural disasters, time and again serve as reminders of the fact that despite the advancements that humans have made in terms of technology, the nature's fury retains the power to reduce man made creations to rubble. The effect is even more pronounced in a state of unpreparedness which is very often due to a callous attitude towards the might of nature. Preventing these disasters is not quite in human hands but if considerable effort is put in, to train people in facing such situations and to put the technology available to use, the damage can certainly be minimized. Turkey's first Disaster Prevention and Education Center in Istanbul is a step in the same direction, given the kind of damage to life and property the recent earthquakes in Turkey brought about.


The design for the center was chosen from among the various proposals received from across the world as part of a competition that was organized for the purpose. The winning design, by Radionika Arhitekture, a Croatian firm, seeks to create an identity of its own for the structure. The design is in clear contrast with the high rises surrounding the area.
The selected design envisages a park, or a courtyard with trees, in the middle. The facilities for the center will take shape on the periphery of this park. The park, in keeping with the extremely nature oriented feel of the place, carries a lake with a high water fountain. The fountain will serve as the identifying for the center in the midst of the buildings in the vicinity.
Emphasis on renewable sources for power
A perfect harmony of tradition, modernity and science is on display in the proposed structure. The roofs will be dome shaped, thus the architecture depicts tradition but the domes will carry solar panels to generate power. Furthermore, systems employing geothermal energy constitute the heating and cooling facilities for the center. The design supports minimal use of power during the day by allowing for natural light to reach the interiors of the structure. Roofs and facades with glass brise-soleil do the trick here. Natural light supplants other sources because natural light can enter the structure so built. The intensity is enough to keep the center well lit but barriers have been put in place in a manner that the sunlight does not increase the temperature of the structure. This gives the center the further advantage of being energy efficient.
As the very premise of the structure is to enhance the degree of preparedness against natural disasters, with the use of technology, the facilities on offer will be in keeping with the same. The simulation systems for different natural disasters will allow the people to get an experience that is akin to being trapped in places struck by earthquakes, tsunami, hurricane, etc. People can thus learn to cope with such situations by following the right course of action. It is apt that the center is being built in an age when nature's fury is taking increasingly deadlier forms.

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