Lab 04


Hurricanes Irma and María, devastated Puerto Rico’s primary power grid causing an island wide power outage. Clean running water was not readily available in many communities across the island. The main communication companies lost their infrastructure leaving the island without connectivity. The idea of Emergency Cores (EC) is to consider the possibility of centers of service, both permanent and temporary, that would be prepared to address the needs of the people in the event of a disaster. Given projections of progressively warmer waters in the Caribbean Basin and that the probability of such strong storms is on a rise, these Emergency Cores become a real need. The permanent ECs would be located in the historic town centers of the municipalities to ensure that they are easy to locate, i.e., places where people naturally go. The temporary ECs, Containers for Communities (C4C) are repurposed shipping containers prepared as communal spaces located in communities in need of these services. Once the community is back on the grid and has running water, the temporary EC will be moved to another community in need.

A holistic approach to EC design must consider:

  • communal spaces available to all citizens.
  • on public property or land owned by a not-for-profit community-based organization.
  • solar-powered with energy storage systems.
  • rainwater collection systems.
  • satellite wifi.
  • food, water and medical supplies.
  • accessibility in all design proposals, as close to the ground as possible for physically challenged, elderly and infant populations.

Additional criteria for the temporary ECs are:

  • should have wheels to facilitate relocation.
  • rainwater collection systems that could double as shade mechanisms, an important concern when dealing with repurposed containers that are susceptible to overheating.
  • memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure they remain temporary.
  • adequately anchored.
  • simple foundations, stabilizing mat.
  • Project Sites & Development: For the permanent ECs sites in the traditional town centers that are well known to the residents. For the temporary ECs the prototypes are developed to be adaptable to multiple site conditions to then focus on remote locations that have lost easy access to primary road­ways. Consider their democratic distribution across the Island.

    TEAM LEADERS: Stephen Bender (University of Florida)
    TEAM CONSULTANTS: Jorge Ramirez | Dr. Lucio Barbera | Humberto Betancourt (UT) | Jonathan Marvel
    TEAM ONE: Matt Krajewski (NYIT) | Esteban Sennyey (UPR) | Ricardo Acuña (UPR) | Eugenio Ramirez (UT) | Rebecca Campos (UT)
    TEAM TWO: Farzana Gandhi (NYIT)) | Yazmin Crespo (UT) | Jose Rafael Ramirez (UT)