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Disaster relief buildings and guidelines for coastal resilience in the Philippines: a proposal for reconstruction on the coasts of Tacloban in the aftermath of the typhoon Yolanda

Carlo Alberto Follo

Disaster relief buildings and guidelines for coastal resilience in the Philippines: a proposal for reconstruction on the coasts of Tacloban in the aftermath of the typhoon Yolanda.

Rel. Roberto Giordano, Laurent Mouly. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile, 2016



The choice of the thesis stems from the desire to conceive an architectural work that can deal with distant realities and mindsets from those European we are used to be confronted with, as well as from the personal need to address a topic full of dynamic and enriching social implications.

My desire was also to study and learn more about foreign constructions techniques and materials, and this thesis has been to me a good opportunity to explore these issues, albeit in the discussion it only emerges a part of all the things I have learnt and studied thanks to this work, guided by the curiosity aroused by the infinite chain of the possible interconnected subjects on the issue.

During the last years of university it was born in me the clear will to treat as a subject of the final thesis a topic related to disaster relief architecture, which has always particularly moved my sensibility. The idea of being able to make use of my architectural training to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged people has always strongly excited me and this took me to analyze several cases of humanitarian emergencies that occurred in recent years, in order to examine the one on which I would have preferred to deepen my studies.

During my Erasmus year in La Coruna (Spain), I was lucky enough to make friends with a person who has joined the humanitarian missions in the southern Philippines in support of the victims of Typhoon Bopha, who has instilled in me a great interest for the Filipino culture and their relationship with nature, the climate and natural disasters, and I promised myself to take part in humanitarian action once concluded the university studies. Almost simultaneously, speaking of my architectural aspirations with friends from France, I had the opportunity to be put in touch with the engineer Laurent Mouly, a professor in the Faculty of Architecture in Rouen, France. The professor has been recommended to me for his knowledge and passion in construction using materials typical of the Far East and Africa, he carries out workshops for constructive experimentation with rammed earth and bamboo. From this came the idea to develop the thesis in Paris , relying simultaneously on the knowledge of Professor Mouly in the field of construction in rural areas of Asia and the mastery of sustainable architecture practices and techniques of professor Roberto Giordano from Polytechnic of Turin, whom I already had the fortune to know as teaching professor during the three-year degree in English in Turin.

The thesis deals with the issue of emergency recovery from natural disaster, a subject that involves professionals of various kinds, among which architects, which may have a key role in reconstruction process.

The challenge of recent years is represented by the possibility to confer a sustainable approach to disaster relief strategies. The consequences of the destruction of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philip-pines have been raised as case study for the rethinking of the strategies of governments with respect to serious calamities.

I believe that in some cases the destruction could represent an opportunity for shifting to "sustainable reconstruction", through which we give a long-term vision in the reconstruction process, enhancing quality of life, environment, livelihood, social equity, education, taking into consideration participatory processes throughout all the phases of the project.

The general objective of the thesis is to provide the reader with an analysis of the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, which struck the Philippines in December 2013. After studying the causes underlying the sheer extent of the damage inflicted by the natural disaster, a sustainable reconstruction system will be proposed. This system actively addresses the conditions of the fishing community in the area, given the fact that most of the victims were members of the community.

The perspective is that of a counterproposal, an improvement in the recovery system which was implemented by the Philippines' government, in light of the ability to critically analyze the results obtained from the reconstruction and recovery strategies implemented in recent years.

The methodological approach consisted in the collection, consultation and analysis of the documentation and all the preparatory data needed to understand better the problems in its many facets, in order to consequently make considerations on the subject and develop a proposal that could experiment the adoption of new solutions, the improvement of existing strategies and assess the inconsistence of some measures undertaken in the past.

The work is hopefully meant to serve as a case study to whomever got involved in the subject, aiming at contributing to the emerging literature on the topic of sustainable reconstruction following natural disasters with a different point of view, especially on the subject of reintegration and safeguard of fishermen in the society of Tacloban.

The paper consists of three phases, the first part portrays the general situation of the Philippines, taking into analysis its inherent components that can help in the understanding of the problem, with particular attention to the study of the climate of the archipelago and its vulnerability to natural disasters.

The second phase is primarily concerned with explaining events after typhoon Yolanda, to shed light on the actions taken by the government and its recovery policy, analyzing its impact, and the social, economic and environmental.

The third section is devoted to the project proposals for the redesign and reconstruction of the "Barangay 64" district in Tacloban, the city most affected by the disaster, with the intention of providing a model for the development of the coastal area of the city, and as an example of possible intervention applicable in many other coastal areas afflicted by natural disasters.

Relators: Roberto Giordano, Laurent Mouly
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: G Geografia, Antropologia e Luoghi geografici > GD Estero
G Geografia, Antropologia e Luoghi geografici > GH Scienze Ambientali
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Per Il Progetto Sostenibile
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-04 - ARCHITECTURE AND ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/4891


1.The Philippines, a disaster-prone country

1.1.The Philippines

1.1.1.Key figures

1.2.Political system

1.3.Local Government Units and spatial planning system

1.4.The Local Government Units

4.5.Economy and resources


1.7.Environmental risks

1.7.1.Definition of risk

1.8.Climate or weather-related hazards

1.9.Geophysical Hazards

1.10.The hazard maps, mapping the Philippines' vulnerability

1.11.Causes of vulnerability


1.11.2.High urbanization rate


1.11.4.Environmental degradation

1.11.5.Climate change


1.12.1Incidence in the Philippines

1.12.2.The Philippines' most destructive typhoons of all time

2.Typhoon Yolanda (Hayian)

2.1.The timeline of the disaster

2.2.Key figures of the devastation

2.3.The plans for recovery and rebuilding

2.4.The livelihood issue

2.4.1.The farmers' situation

2.4.2.The fishermen's plight

2.5.The housing problem

2.6.Build-back-better, the projects

2.6.1.The emergency shelter

2.6.2.The ICRC-PRC model of core-house

2.6.3.The Row-House project

2.7.The results of the recovery process

2.8.The Debris Management

2.8.1.Common waste disposal practices

2.8.2.Hazardous wastes

2.8.3.Case study of successful debris management, recycling and reuse: the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake response of the japanese government

2.8.4.Estimation of the C&D debris produced in the city of Tacloban by the destruction caused by supertyphoon Hayian of percentages of collapsed buildings for each building sector of the building typologies collapsed of the quantity of debris produced for each typology estimation in C&D Debris of the total amount of debris of recycling and reuse of the C&D debris

2.9.The coconut palms: a precious resource for reconstruction

2.9.1.The grading of cocolumber

2.9.2.Seasoning and treating of cocolumber

2.9.3.Durability of cocolumber

2.9.4.Estimation of the coconut lumber available after the typhoon through the disposal of downed coconut palms

3.A Proposal for reconstruction in Barangay 64, Tacloban

3.1.Introduction to the project proposal


3.3.Barnagay 64 and the Shed

3.4.The traditional vernacular architecture in the Philippines

3.4.1.The Bahay Kubo or Nipa Hut

3.5.MappingTacloban and Barangay 64

3.6.The fishermens' lifestyle

3.7.The coastal planning of Tacloban

3.8.The strategy

3.9.Guidelines for the new masterplan of Barangay 64

3.10.Strategies for resilience

3.10.1.Prevention from floods and coastal erosion breakwaters reforestation gabion walls of debris

3.10.2.Resistance to strong winds and cyclones

3.11.The new housing prototype for fishermen

3.11.1.The expandable unit and the auto-construction

3.11.2The structure

3.11.3.The constructive phases

3.11.4.The wall panels

3.11.5.The bamboo market

3.12.Lessons learnt and conclusions




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