History can help design better structures – UAP

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A group of architects have stressed the need to review historical facts and to employ more advanced technologies in developing the country’s structures.

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Architect Sonny Rasal, national president of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), said that innovations on structural integrity should have been made by most Filipinos, since the country is visited by tropical cyclones about 20 times a year.

He cited as an example the houses of the Ivatans in Batanes, which are usually made of adobe stones for the walls and thick cogon for the roof. These types of homes have in Batanes have withstood strong typhoons for many years.

Also, he stressed that materials to be used for construction of houses should be strong enough to avoid being wrecked and transformed into debris, which could also result to loss of more lives.

Architect Bong Recio of Habitat for Humanity mentioned the practices of Hong Kong and Italy, where in the case of storms, people either put packaging tapes or install boards onto windows to prevent shattering or damage.

‘P200,000 not enough’
Meanwhile, Recio stressed that the government must focus on strengthening buildings which serve as evacuation centers.

He said this amid the proposal of the Philippine government to build typhoon- and earthquake-proof permanent shelters for the survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda with a budget of about P200,000 per house.

“It is a tough challenge for architects to build such houses with a limited budget,” he said, adding that, “Rather, the government must focus on fortifying our schools, our churches, our gymnasiums, which serve as evacuation centers.”

He and UAP member architect Topy Vasquez also said that there must be a constant update on and strict implementation of the laws pertaining to land use, starting at the level of local governments.

The officials of the architect’s group said that such measures should be done, because of the occurrence of natural disasters in areas that were not previously identified as disaster-prone.

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