Tornado Proof Building | Hurricane and Tornado-Resistant Concrete Houses

The first good looking Tornado-proof building


A typical house, made of wood, can be destroyed by tornado in a total time of four seconds only. The dismantling begins with the spreading debris and crushing the windows, followed by the rushing air, entering through every opening of the house, blowing the roof of house. Then after the roof is gone, the walls collapse. In the final second, all the things in the house, like furniture, books, mementos, are blown away.

The speed of destruction is so fast that it’s always difficult to design for the engineers to build tornado resistant buildings. The people from the areas of Missouri and Joplin, areas that are highly affected by tornadoes, are still looking for such a design of home which is good looking as well as resists the forces of tornadoes. Tornado-proof building designs are available at markets, but they give a look of bunker in normal days, as a result, locals do not prefer them.

So the designer have to keep the resiliency to livability ratio constant in designing the tornado resistant buildings just like they do in other disasters like flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes.

“If you try to make a full earthquake-proof building, you will be ended with a 2ft thick box type structure with just one opening to let you in,” according to famous architect of California, Michael Willis. “You can design a 100% tornado-resistant structure, but it will not meet the requirements of the users.”

So the main objective to be kept in mind while designing in disasters affected areas is to keep the balance between safety and serviceability.


So a competition was announced under the title of “Designing Recovery” for three different kinds of natural disasters, Hurricane, Tornado and Super-storm, one for each. The most interesting was tornado-resistant building, as it faced a complete different scenario in parts of the country where natural conditions are unfavorable in building basements and tornado cellars.

Details of Plan

Q4 Architects came with an idea of creating some safe place inside the home changing the trend of creating safe places under the home, just like a building inside a building. This idea can be implemented anywhere in tornado affected area. Almost 600 sq.ft area made of high quality concrete with tornado doors and hurricane shutters, a place enough to keep the family as well as there valuables safe in tornadoes, covered with several rooms of timber.

The plan given by the Q4 Architect is shown in figure. In normal days, the family is able to use car porch (No. 7), airy breezeway, light-filled great room (No. 5) and bedroom wing. Where as in case of tornado, the residents can move to the core of the building, which also have Murphy beds, bathroom, kitchen.

The main idea behind creating such plan was to keep the cost of house below 50,000 dollars. One may simply ask that why not to build the entire house with the same concrete material.  The answer is that it will again give a look of bunker and also construction cost will be too high. And the main thing is that the locals not want to live there, whereas with this idea, u can wrapped as many rooms with numerous styles as you want.

So this idea kept the resiliency to livability ratio constant in case of tornado-proof just like we kept it constant in other natural disasters proof buildings.


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