18 August 2012

Students finally able to "duck and cover"


A student and his professor at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem have designed a desk that can withstand 1 tonne of vertical force -- what they call an "earthquake proof table" that students can use to "duck and cover" during an earthquake.

It seems like an interesting concept, especially in developing countries where building construction is often sub-par.  However, the article featured on GOOD suggests that these tables can substitute for the more costly measures of wall reinforcement or reconstructing schools to be more earthquake-resistant.  While I agree that this kind of furniture could save lives and save money in light of more difficult infrastructural and architectural changes, I wonder if it might become a way to not improve construction methods because desks essentially provide the safe roof overhead.

The table is still a pretty great design innovation, in spite of these larger questions of feasibility and intention in the longer run.   It's also certainly creative and makes me rethink what really is part of the build environment that can be leveraged for life safety while being well designed.