Radionika Arhitekture from Croatia won an international design competition to design Instanbul’s Disaster Prevention and Education Center, which is hoped to create more public awareness about earthquakes in particular.
In the last two months, two large earthquakes in Turkey claimed a total of 670 lives – deaths that might have been prevented with better disaster preparedness and more resilient building design. In response to these ongoing natural disasters, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality commissioned the ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture 2011 International Design Competition to select a suitable design for the country’s first Disaster Prevention and Education Center. Radionika Arhitekture from Croatia won with this sensible low-rise program, which uses passive Arabic design and alternative energy to keep its energy footprint to a minimum. Step in for more images and details.
While many other designers put forward 3D block designs and other flashy proposals, Radionika Arhitekture was awarded for taking a more realistic and understated approach. It is also one of the “greenest”of the proposals – in many senses of the word. Consisting of a series of domed buildings reminiscent of Islamic architecture, the entire center huddles around a large leafy courtyard with water features that keep the area cool during the summer.
Each of these domed buildings have solar panels on the sunny side, and are also heated and cooled by a geothermal energy system. The roofs and facades are permeable, which enables both natural lighting and ventilation, while a mini-forest of trees planted strategically provides protection against excess solar gain. Additional shading is created with curtain rails.
Radionika Arhitekture’s design is decidedly lo-tech and doesn’t try to compete with the high rises that surround it. Instead, the designers intended to “ignore” these buildings with their low-rise domes, although once visitors step inside, the place has a distinct and unique atmosphere.
The Disaster Prevention and Education Center will feature the most up-to-date technology and facilities – including simulation systems that will allow visitors to experience earthquake, hurricane, fire fighting, smoke, liquefaction, tsunami, first aid and emergency communications – so that the city will be better equipped to handle future disasters. It will also host various courses, congresses and seminars.
It is hoped that the center will generate greater public awareness so that when the next earthquake strikes there will be fewer casualties.