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Building Resilience: Architectural Strategies for Weathering Storms in Dubai

Dubai, a city renowned for its towering skyscrapers and avant-garde architecture, recently faced the brunt of a severe storm, leaving behind a trail of destruction. This unexpected tempest serves as a poignant reminder of the critical need for resilient design and construction practices in a region prone to extreme weather events. Architects and designers must not only address the immediate aftermath of such storms but also proactively implement measures to mitigate future risks. Here, we delve into corrective and precautionary measures, accompanied by a best practices checklist, to fortify both exterior and interior constructions against the forces of nature.

Understanding the Recent Storm Conditions

Dubai, nestled amidst the Arabian Desert, typically experiences an arid climate characterized by soaring temperatures and minimal rainfall. However, sporadic storms, fueled by the city's proximity to the Arabian Gulf, can unleash ferocious winds and torrential downpours. The recent storm that swept through the city brought winds of unprecedented strength, resulting in structural damage to buildings, infrastructure, and landscapes.

Corrective Measures for Exterior Construction

Design Phase: Foundation of Strength

Site Analysis: Assess vulnerability to extreme weather conditions, considering factors like wind direction and exposure.

Collaboration: Work closely with structural engineers to design buildings capable of withstanding high winds and heavy rainfall.

Material Selection: Choose robust materials like Alchimica Hyperdesmo® for liquid-applied waterproofing membranes and Berger Weathercoat All Guard for exterior coatings.

Detailing Phase: Precision in Every Detail

Meticulous Design: Pay special attention to openings, ensuring they are properly sealed and reinforced.

Door Precautions: Specify weather-resistant doors with tight seals and secure fastenings.

Window Considerations: Opt for impact-resistant glass and secure framing to protect against wind-driven debris.

Skylight Safety: Use reinforced materials and install proper flashing to prevent water infiltration.

Contractor Appointment: Building with Confidence

Experience: Select contractors with a proven track record in constructing resilient buildings, particularly in addressing openings.

Quality Control: Emphasize adherence to design specifications, especially regarding door and window installation.

Communication: Ensure clear communication and collaboration between all parties involved in detailing and installation.

Execution Phase: Bringing Designs to Life

Regular Inspections: Conduct thorough inspections of openings during construction to verify proper installation and sealing.

Quality Assurance: Use high-quality products like Jotun Jotashield Flex for exterior coatings and Jotun PVA Primer for interior finishes.

Prompt Corrections: Address any deficiencies in opening details promptly to maintain integrity and resilience.

Existing Properties: Strengthening the Foundations

Assessment: Evaluate existing openings for vulnerabilities and prioritize retrofitting measures.

Retrofitting Solutions: Reinforce doors and windows with impact-resistant materials and upgrade seals and weatherstripping.

Maintenance: Establish a regular maintenance schedule to ensure openings remain secure and weatherproof over time.

Conclusion: Forging a Future of Resilience

In the face of increasingly frequent and severe weather events, the importance of resilience in architecture cannot be overstated. By incorporating corrective and preventive measures at every stage of the construction process, from design to execution and beyond, architects and designers can create buildings that not only withstand the forces of nature but also stand as testaments to human ingenuity and innovation. Together, we can build a future where our structures are not just shelters from the storm, but beacons of strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

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