Etna ski resort
LOCATION. Etna, Italy
Natural phenomena are incredibly complex in cause, effect and experience. A single pattern or systematic logic is inadequate for modelling/simulating a contextualized (or system within system/environment) natural phenomenon such as a volcanic eruption.With pre-emptive design strategies much more can be done to maximise the architectural effect of natural phenomena whilst minimising the disruption caused by natural disasters on both lives and infrastructure.
Volcanic eruptions occur on an extreme scale from minor lava flows to cataclysmic
explosive environments. At present, anticipatory strategies go no further than computer
simulations on existing terrain and testing of plume and gas dissipation. No
populated -volcanic area has a policy or disaster management plan to increase
the survival of its infrastructure, agricultural plots and services and most
rely heavily on mitigation strategies and evacuation contingency plans once the
volcano has begun erupting. These strategies are one-off exercises controlled
by scientists and engineers and follow civil defence programmes involving vast
earth-moving procedures that more often than not have a relatively minor impact
on the disaster.
The north flank of Mount Etna is used as a case study to investigate the highly complex locale of the lava flows through examining its specific movements and understanding the series of complex paths and conditions depending on viscosity, gradient and texture of the terrain over which it is travelling, its temperature and the way in which it cools.
Through computational investigations it is possible to create 3d terrains with countless generations upon which to experiment and create variation. These terrains can be tested through particle flow simulation programmes enabling the terrain to become optimized and react efficiently to the possibility of channelling and filtering the behaviour of the lava in an intricate, more controlled manner. What results from this may be further interweaving of current ground conditions, imposed terrain manipulations and new liquid lava terrains. There is no single optimal solution to this natural phenomenon, but through experimentation and expert knowledge complex relationships can emerge.