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The goal of the Building Performance Knowledge Community (BPKC) is to promote architects as leaders in the application of technical design for building performance; in the use of high-performance design criteria, codes, and standards; and in programming, designing and managing building performance. To advance, disseminate, and advocate—to the architecture profession, AIA members, building owners, the construction industry, the academy, and the public—design practices that create buildings that are healthy, energy efficient, and durable.

  • 1.  Resilient Design AIAU

    Posted 08-06-2015 17:06
    This message has been cross posted to the following Discussion Forums: Technical Design for Building Performance Knowledge Community and Housing Knowledge Community .
    Today I received an invitation to have a course about Resilient Design. My surprise was to see that Katrina triggers acceptance that the use of concrete can produce Resilient structures.

    To me it was a funny occurrence, because I have wide experience of using concrete for dwellings. About 40 years ago I designed and built 7,500 houses, 8 schools, and a shopping center in Mexico City, where earthquakes are frequent, using masonry concrete because there was a quarry close, and it was convenient to make the homes affordable. It took 15 months to do it, and we were delivering 25 units per day.  In a recent visit to the development I found that the owners using workers who learned the system added one and two stories to a high percentage of the houses. No damages, not even cracks, and people still living safely and enjoying their properties.  In Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, where hurricanes are the hazard I designed and built several concrete dwellings and a  3 story hotel.

    Here, in the US, fellow architects told me that I would never obtain a building permit for concrete houses.  I have recently built two concrete houses and have the building permit for a concrete architectural studio at my residence.  I am using reinforced concrete T-beams to build walls and roof, a system I patented in 2013. T-beams can be designed for heavy loads and large spans, as in parking structures; they are often prefabricated and assembled by heavy equipment, making them impractical to use for building one house.  I use T-beams cast in place, with formwork for the faces and blocks of rigid expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) to create the T shape.  The EPS provides high insulation R-value to walls and roof. 

    Now I am pleased that the building permit for my studio was issued using the most recent ICC IBC 2012 codes.  I hope to show people that concrete can be designed in any style, shape, size, texture and be capable of resisting wild fires, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, even mold and termites, and be sustainable.  I have videos of the process if anyone is interested in seeing it.

    Eugenio Aburto AIA
    Eugenio Aburto, AIA
    Palm Desert CA