hurricane journal

“If Ivan hits Central Florida on the current projected path, it would be the third hurricane to hit the region in four weeks, Local 6 News reported.”

I graduated from Virginia Tech and moved to Orlando in 2001. Up until this month, I hadn’t experienced a hurricane. This weekend will mark the third hurricane I’ve had the opportunity of enduring in a month’s time. But, what I love the most about times like these are the innovations and opportunities that arise out of great peril. These attributes however are also the result of shortcomings and weaknesses with existing systems.

Bill Nye, the science guy, was a guest speaker on a news broadcast sharing his comments just recently explaining the basics of hurricane science. It was his personal opinions that truly aroused my industrial design instincts. He mentioned that there will be more hurricanes in the future which seems perfectly obvious but he also mentioned that Florida and other states seemed to be ill-prepared for handling this natural phenomena. Basically that the surrounding architecture and other man-made environments didn’t reflect a hurricane-friendly landscape. And I have to totally agree with his comments. Houses built here look like houses built in non-hurricane states, and they probably shouldn’t.

There are numerous links on the internet of priceless design research images. I just want to share some here:;s=40;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b

These structures, called Florida rooms, are commonly found throughout the state. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re hurricane proof:;s=47;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=39;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b

For the second hurricane, I decided to leave the Orlando area. Upon returning, convoys of these vehicles were not unusual:;s=41;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b

hmm…I see a theme here:;s=73;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=43;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=34;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=64;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b

How can a proactive design approach to window coverings prevail over a reactive approach?;s=100;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=95;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=75;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=66;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=70;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=101;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=105;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b

What can we learn from trees?;s=108;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=124;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b;s=126;p=news;dm=ss;w=320;tn=b

Hurrican Ivan should be making landfall sometime this weekend. In the meantime, I plan on shooting some of my own pix and would like to welcome all to share their comments. Just as those communities who live in earthquake regions, areas in hurricane prone area should have a higher standard of built environments if the resources can allow it.

More to come soon…

On a similar vein, I’ve often wondered about architects and building codes that didn’t take into account the local weather.

Here in Vancouver, there were hundreds of California style condominium complexes that were not designed to handle the annual rainfall. In the USA’s tornado alley, they still allow trailer parks, when these seem to be provide the greatest number of fatalities.

Good examples would be homes with high-apex roofing to shed snow and earthquake proofing in fault zones.

In the end, we pay more for good design and more dearly for bad.


Well, as a designer in Florida, the hurricanes have been quite an experience. To begin, putting up the shutters or plywood on the windows is a hasle, time consuming, complicated for most people and absolutely horrible and depressing to look at.
After the job is done, what you have left is complete darkness and a sense of uncertainty of “what the hell is going on out there” because you can’t see anything happening outside your door. If you survive, the problem now is not only taking down the shutters but where do you store them?
They are way too bulky.
I agree with the absurdness of houses not being built to tolerate hurricanes, the un-practicality of shutters and the lack of pre-planification for this events, specially if you rent, not own (there are no laws for landlords to provide rental apartments with proper hurricane shutters)

I think there is a lot to be done.
Maybe we should start constructing dome houses…
and digging ditches around them to collect the rain water and prevent flooding…
Hey, why not?

for those designers willing to help some battered residents.

you could maybe even contribute some thoughts to your future retirement residence cuz YA KNOW you’ll be living right in the backyard of the “happiest place on urf”:

do it for your slap happy gran pappy.