Responding to disaster: how architects can help communities rebuild

Listen to the episode

How architects can help when disaster strikes

As architects, planners, and designers, we’re often asked questions about creating new spaces and buildings or preserving hundred-year-old buildings. It’s less often that our role in rebuilding after disasters is discussed in classrooms and newspapers. However, this is a critical role we can play to help families and businesses recover after their lives and livelihoods are upended.

Helping a Kansas farm recover after tornado damage

On this episode of our podcast Treanor Talks, we catch up with Pendleton’s County Market owners Karen and John Pendleton to discuss their experience recovering from an EF-4 tornado that ripped through their farm in Lawrence, Kansas, in May of 2019.

“It was dark in the west, and I could hear the tornado sirens coming out of Lawrence. And that’s something you don’t hear out this far very often.”

John Pendleton, Owner, Pendleton’s Country Market

Joy Coleman, principal and architect at Treanor, assisted the Pendletons with assessment and renovations after the tornado and joins this episode to talk more about the project.

“Everything I do is on older and historic buildings,” says Joy. “And sometimes, as happened with the Pendleton’s house and the other structures, they get kind of damaged and twisted about, if not blown over.”

How to become a certified disaster assessment professional

Architects have the opportunity to serve as emergency second responders by certifying as disaster assessment professionals through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), which is the national standard for certifying architects, engineers, and code and safety professionals to provide assessment reports. Will Robarge, an associate principal and architect at Treanor, is one of just a few certified trainers through Cal OES.

“The whole concept of our program is to get people out into the field after a disaster, once the search and rescue efforts have concluded. We can very quickly assess the damage and report back to the Department of Emergency Management.”

Will Robarge, Associate Principal, Treanor

Will is also currently serving his third term on the AIA National Disaster Assessment Committee, which is tasked with educating architects and engineers to prepare and respond when a disaster occurs. Will joins us on this episode to share more information about these initiatives.

“With everything changing in our climate, we’re seeing more disasters,” says Will. “What can we do to mitigate disasters? How can we recommend good design so that it’s more robust?”

Listen to the full episode to learn more about the Pendleton’s inspiring story navigating the assessment and renovation process after the tornado, as well as how trained disaster assessment professionals like Will can help respond and assist.

Voices in this episode

Joy Coleman

Principal, Specialty Leader

Will Robarge

Associate Principal

Megan Cooper

Communications Manager

Related content

Stay on the leading edge

Stay up to date on emerging trends, research, hot topics, and more delivered conveniently to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields

Treanor specialties I'm interested in
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.