The tornado-proof house is a Kevlar skinned house supported on a series of hydraulic lifts that slide into the ground during extreme weather- both flood proof and tornado resistant. (Pics)
It may be unlikely that we will not be able to avoid tornadoes completely, our only solution is to build in a way that will reduce the risk of damage or of being in harms way. 1o Design, based in Hong Kong, is working on a proposal for a tornado-proof house that looks like it belongs in the realm of a Star Trek movie. With the help of hydraulics, a high perfomance shell and solar power, the tornado-proof house retracts down into the ground at the first warning of an impending tornado.
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 photocatalytic coatings and carbon nanotubes 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 inclimate 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.