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Pakistan Flood Pavilion

Overview

The Flood Pavilion was designed in response to the devastating floods experienced by Pakistan in 2010.

Addressing the immediate short term needs of the community, the design response seeks to provide essential food and medical aid in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, while making available essential tools to assist in the reconstruction of the village once the flood waters had subsided. After reconstruction, the pavilion continues to serve as a community hub and medical centre for the village, and is fully flood-resistant in the event of future reoccurrence.

The project analysed past failures in emergency response and the inherent problem with aid assistance in the long term.

Date

March 11, 2009
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Context

In late July 2010, Pakistan suffered one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. Following weeks of heavy monsoon rains, with water tables already well-saturated could absorb no more, an unprecedented 274 millimetres of rain fell in the space of 24hours in the province of Peshawar, and over 200mm in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, breaking the previous record of 187 millimetres of rain recorded only the previous year, in April 2009.

The floods were reported to be the worst in 80 years, with the total flood area covering approximately one-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area. By 30 July 500,000 or more people had been displaced from their homes. The greatest damage was sustained in the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the main city of Peshawar and the districts of Swat and Shangla completely cut off from the rest of the country.

Floods submerged 17 million acres (69,000 km2) of Pakistan’s most fertile crop land, killed 200,000 livestock and washed away massive amounts of grain. A major concern was that farmers would be unable to meet the autumn deadline for planting new seeds in 2010, which implied a loss of food production in 2011, and potential long term food shortages

The loss of life, at around 1,800 fatalities, exceeded that of the Pacific Tsunami of 2014 and Hurricane Katrina combined. Many of those hit hardest by the flooding were the rural poor who live in flood-prone areas because they cannot afford safer land.

Gallery

Design Response

The final response is carefully-considered in terms of building performance in the short and longer term, and of material performance, in terms of sourcing locally available materials. Moreover, it is sensitive to the local community, sympathetic to its culture and traditions, and dignified in its approach to the situation, allowing the community to rebuild their lives.

The structure for the pavilion comprises in 2 distinct parts; a base structure and upper shelter structure.

The base structure comprises a space-frame platform structure constructed using lengths of locally sourced bamboo or wood, connected with resistant plastic connectors, provided as part of the emergency kit-of-parts. The base structure, once assembled, can be made buoyant in the event of future flooding with the installation of recycled water containers. The upper shelter structure comprises a light, easy-to-erect umbrella structure, strengthened with the installation of locally-sourced bamboo. A stretched fabric canopy of resistant cotton provides the finishes the structure, giving lateral stability.

Addressing the immediate short term needs of the community, the design response seeks to provide essential food and medical aid in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, while making available essential tools to assist in the reconstruction of the village once the flood waters had subsided. After reconstruction, the pavilion continues to serve as a community hub and medical centre for the village, and is fully flood-resistant in the event of future reoccurrence.

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