'Designing for Disaster' details buildings meant to withstand quakes, hurricanes and floods
Allan Sprecher, courtesy of the National Building Museum
Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires — no part of the United States is immune to natural disasters. While no one can prevent these hazards, people can prepare for them. “Designing for Disaster” at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., showcases how scientists, engineers and government officials work together to guard the country’s infrastructure against Mother Nature’s fury.
On entering the exhibit, visitors are immediately confronted with tangible reminders of the destruction that natural disasters can inflict: The door of a home drowned by Hurricane Katrina stands near the exhibit’s entrance; a few pieces of a Japanese dock lie on a table, having washed ashore in Washington state after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake; a battered tornado siren from Kansas hangs from the wall.
The rest of the exhibit focuses on how engineers design and build disaster-resistant structures. The University of