Wave testing at Oregon State University
courtesy Oregon State University Wave testing at Oregon State University

Researchers from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., are investigating the response of wood-frame structures in simulated hurricane waves and flooding conditions when located in low-lying regions. One model was elevated and one was on-grade; they had comparable strength and stiffness and were built at 1/6 the scale of residences impacted by Hurricane Sandy in Ortley Beach, N.J., and by Hurricane Ike on Texas’s Bolivar Peninsula. The models were placed in the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, in Corvallis, where they faced "waves and water depths replicating conditions of Hurricane Sandy," according to a press release from OSU. Although both models sustained damage, the elevated model could sustain higher water levels than the on-grade model. [Oregon State University]

In the months following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominiums in Surfside, Fla., The New York Times continues to investigate what exactly happened. A recent story by reporters Mike Baker and Michael LaForgia investigates the towers' developers, finding a history riddled with the "tumult that occurred on the job site and the brazenness of the developers behind the project." [The New York Times]

A study from the Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit research organization in New Mexico, has found that "bigger cities also produce more income inequality," according to an SFI press release. The researchers examined data from urban centers across the country and found that the top 10% of earners "gain an increasingly large portion of the wealth" and that "housing costs increase at a faster rate than lower-decile income." [Santa Fe Institute]

Rice University provost Reginald DesRoches spoke with The Washington Post's Post Reports podcast to discuss construction techniques in Haiti following the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that caused mass destruction in the country. Since Haiti's last earthquake in 2010, DesRoches has traveled repeatedly to the Caribbean island, studying local building practices and developing potential strategies for more resilient building. One observation: unreinforced masonry structures, common to the country and often made with concrete weakened with a high water-to-cement ratio, generally perform poorer than light-frame construction in earthquake conditions. [Post Reports]

Climate report
courtesy Cove.Tool Climate report

Have you met the winners of ARCHITECT's 15th Annual R+D Awards? This year's jury selected six projects including Cove.Tool, an app designed to optimize building design sustainability, and Hospital COVID La Margarita, a 40-bed health care facility in Puebla, Mexico, designed and constructed in 60 days. [ARCHITECT]

Net carbon-storage potential (negative values) of building materials as compared with the cradle-to-gate emissions (positive values) associated with their manufacture.
Source: F. Pomponi, J. Hart, J.H. Arehart, B. D’Amico. "Buildings as a Global Carbon Sink? A Reality Check on Feasibility Limits." One Earth 3(2), Cell Press, Aug. 21, 2020. Net carbon-storage potential (negative values) of building materials as compared with the cradle-to-gate emissions (positive values) associated with their manufacture.

The fact that buildings contribute nearly 40% of global emissions is a common data point, but would increasing the market share of timber in construction have a substantial impact on the carbon sequestration capabilities of infrastructure? ARCHITECT columnist Blaine Brownell, FAIA, investigates. [ARCHITECT]

This article has been updated since first publication.