Resilient design takes stock of the hazards a project is likely to face—earthquakes, storms, extremes of temperature, floods, fires, or a combination—and builds in the capacity to adapt and recover. In Maritime Southeast Asia, where hazard exposures span a wide range of type and intensity within a small, densely populated area, three current projects respond to risks at three levels of urgency.
In the disaster-prone Philippines, a sports complex is designed to double as an emergency shelter. In Indonesia, the region’s largest economy, a super-tall office tower and adjacent mosque are designed to remain functional even if the city’s power grid fails. And in developing Brunei, a master plan based on biomimetic (synthetic methods that mimic biochemical processes) principles will enable the capital city to mitigate flood risks while strengthening its identity and sense of place.
Regardless of geography or urgency, the questions guiding resilient design are the same, says Luke Leung, PE. Leung is director of sustainable engineering at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and an author of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) new pilot credits in resilient design. The first question, he says, is always, “What are the vulnerabilities?” Project teams need to make a realistic assessment of the types of hazards their project may face. Then, depending on the nature of the project, the second question is “how to design/plan for the potential threats?” This can include questions similar to: What are the plans for the top challenges at the site? How long can the building provide thermal comfort for its occupants if it loses power? Will the occupants survive when there are no utilities from the outside?