Tsunami Shelter

The San Andreas transform fault plagues California with frequent earthquakes. These tectonic movements can cause underwater landslides, which in turn create tsunamis. Venice Beach is in a tsunami danger zone, the inundation line of the water is well past and above the boardwalk for a medium sized tsunami. The tsunami shelter project provides refuge for the fleeing public, as well as maintaining an operational program during a non-tsunami threat. Transformable space, minimal contact with the ground level, strength and unobstructed access were key factors in the design process. Primarily made from pre-cast concrete, the shelter would be assembled in pieces on site and post tensioned through the vertical columns.


The regular program is that of a Schrebergärten or a community garden. Underneath the structure provides parking as well as temporary lots for street venders to occupy. Coreslab Structures sponsored this studio collaboration between architecture students and engineering students. The design process consisted of constant mathematical calculations as well as computer model simulations. Efficient formwork design was also taken into consideration. The design itself took after a cribbing form, to minimize surface area to create a porous design while maintaining redundancy and proper resistance to tsunami loads.