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Homes of the future - tornado proof designs revealed



Since it is very unlikely that we will be able to completely avoid the dangers of tornadoes, our only remedy is to build in such a way as to reduce our risk from the damage of being on the tornado’s path. This is where the Hong Kong-based 10 Design comes in, they are working on a proposal for a tornado-proof house that easily belongs in the realm of a Star Trek movie. With the help of hydraulics, a high performance shell and solar power, the tornado-proof house retracts down into the ground at the first warning of an impending twister.


10 Design is basing their hopes on kinetic architecture and technological innovations to turn this futuristic dream into a reality. The tornado-proof house coalesces by taking inspiration from a large underground cavern, a flower emerging from the ground and a turtle with a survival mentality. A pod-like cylindrical living space cantilevers off a hydraulic tower foundation that emerges from underground. Down in the cavern, other domestic support areas, utilities and storage remain buried, while the home itself enjoys the open air, views, breezes and daylight.
Solar cells on the exterior rotate and flex to maximize solar power generation, while the skin itself is composed of a translucent insulation sandwiched between two layers of Kevlar. This high performance exterior provides maximum insulation, a weather tight barrier, super strong protection and a translucent skin to let light diffuse in. 10 Design is also exploring photo-catalytic coatings and carbon nano-tubes on the skin to absorb toxins, pollutants and CO2, which in turn would be used to power the hydraulics.

Sensors in the area and on the house monitor weather conditions constantly in preparation for stormy weather. At the first sign of severe storms, or potential tornado conditions, the home’s exterior collapses and the home retracts down into the ground. A tornado may pass over without casing any damage and water and rain are simply repelled off the house and drained away. 10 Design has a grand vision of entire communities built with these homes, which are interwoven with sensor networks to monitor weather data. The company is currently working on a prototype in collaboration with group of ship builders in the US and Africa.

If this prototype is adopted then we could possibly see many American families in “tornado alley” consider it as a viable option. That is if they can afford it, as we know with these kinds of projects they do not come cheap.




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