Greensburg, Kansas just got wiped out. There is need in the tornado-belt
for tornado-proof houses. I think it can be done and done cost affordably.
The grain elevator survived. It is a cylinderical concrete structure.
That is a clue.
The specs for this new type dwelling is Cat.5 and grapefruit size hail
protection level 100% with only "paint damage" allowable. In fair weather,
it should provide attractive, comfortable and economical living for a
family of six. Larger and smaller models would follow.
A cylinder topped with a dome like a nuclear reactor containment might
work. Another approach is a three sided pyramidal structure, made of
reinforced concrete. A sphere on a low pedestal is another design.
Such a building design could be tested in a wind tunnel after being
mathematically evaluated by structural engineers. It would be build on site
in huge inverted molds, using factory-preformed steel reinforcement and
poured. Then, the cured structure would be hoisted by crane and bolted to
a well-anchored slab foundation. Windows would be equipped with steel
storm shutters and the garage would be built into the North side with 3
block walls forming the auto storage space. A steel roll-up door would
protect the garage opening.
The object is to build for not exceeding a $5 per sq. ft. premium. Lowered
insurance costs and a government stipend of about $1,000 a year to owners
willing to open up their dwelling to neighors for shelter in tornado
attacks would substidize the additional cost of acquisition.
The government could be convinced to underwrite the R & D of this project
to a 50% level. We need a small team of about 20 to do this: architect,
engineer, lobbyist, patent attorney, contractors, real estate developers
and so forth. The project should begin at Greensburg.