published in 2007 in DMG Thesis Archives
The twenty first century is an era of invention and innovation of new technologies in building automation. Automation is utilized in almost all phases of the building’s life cycle. This thesis investigates the utilization of building automation technologies during calamities such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and etc. Many measures have been taken to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on buildings and human life. There are bylaws that architects have to follow while designing a building in earthquake zones or flood prone areas. However, it is not enough; channeling the emerging technologies into the design process can be useful to cope with natural disasters in a more efficient and better way. The inspiration is driven from Nature: sense, respond, and adapt. The thesis demonstrates a proof of concept for mitigating natural disasters by designing buildings that act as sensing, responding and adapting structures. Two aspects of disaster mitigation have been addressed: to create effective warning systems using ad-hoc networking; and b) to demonstrate a solution to prevent flying debris resulting from building elements, which is a prime problem during hurricanes. On the whole, the discussions reveal a framework for utilizing building automation systems for various naturally occurring disaster scenarios.