French Polynesia: Designing Hurricane-Resistant Roofing
The MTR (Maison Territoriale de Reconstruction) has become the primary form of social housing in French Polynesia. First designed by the Territorial Agency for Reconstruction as an emergency response to the cyclones that hit French Polynesia in the early 1980s, MTRs are able to withstand winds of 200 km/h. With their inexpensive and easily built prefabricated design, MTRs are no longer temporary solutions; they have become ubiquitous, long-term family homes. The French Polynesian government has charged its Office of Polynesian Housing (OPH) as the agency responsible for the design and dissemination of MTRs. The MTRs are sold commercially by OPH as an affordable, cyclone-resistant, housing option for the local population. The OPH would like a more sustainable MTR design that maximizes thermal comfort, reduces carbon footprint, addresses aesthetic considerations, and respects cultural traditions, whilst maintaining or improving cyclone resistance and affordability.
We wish to conceive an innovative, elegant design that will optimize six aspects: cyclone-resistance, carbon footprint, thermal comfort, cost efficiency, green jobs, and socio-cultural impact. The goal is to utilize the winds to help adjust the thermal comfort inside the house, and enabling the use of more locally available materials and with more traditional style instead of purely imported materials and foreign designs. Our work should complement a concurrent project that is dedicated to determining how locally available natural resources might be utilized in house construction. Our study will generate a detailed structural and thermal analysis for the proposed roof design that follows the Florida Building Code requirements. Experimental testing of a small-scale model of the MTR in a wind tunnel might be considered based on schedule, availability of resources and proper testing facilities.