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Review: Designing for Disaster

Architectural Record, May 13, 2014

In the weeks before the exhibition Designing for Disaster opened on May 11 at Washington, D.C.’s National Building Museum, a wildfire in Oklahoma forced 1,000 people to evacuate and tornadoes ripped through the South and Midwest, killing 34 people. In the U.S., the threat of natural disaster is always with us.

As the exhibition (open through August 2, 2015) makes clear, our strategies for preventing disasters and lessening their impacts have evolved a lot over the past quarter-century. The show smartly brings these to the fore and makes them tangible, letting visitors unleash gusts on miniature houses in a replica hurricane testing lab, or activate expansion joints to move as in a quake.

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