Monday, February 4, 2008

Defying Earthquakes

Living in California means dreading the Big One -- the earthquake that could turn us into islanders, and our buildings into mush.
Could this be a solution? "Originally published by Science and Mechanics, in November 1931, the depthscraper was proposed as a residential engineering solution for surviving earthquakes in Japan," writes Geoff Manaugh on the BLDG BLOG. "The structure, whose frame resembles that of a 35-story skyscraper of the type familiar in American large cities, would actually be constructed in a mammoth excavation beneath the ground." More here.

While the ingenuity of the concept is undeniable, it is unappealing at best. As Manaugh adds, "In the midst of a long, and fascinating, tour through the 20th century's wartime underworlds, Vanderbilt writes of how 'the confined underground space becomes a concentrated breeding ground for social dysfunction as the once-submerged id rages unchecked.'" A nightmarish vision -- without the view.
illustration via BLDG BLOG