Industrial Design - Architecture

Hydrological Disasters: Designing to Shelter in Place

coastPES - Coast Pod-Elevation System

MIT Undergraduate Thesis

FALL 2019 - FEBRUARY 2021


For my undergraduate thesis I chose to pursue a design challenge in disaster resilient architecture. The seriousness regarding hydrological disasters is proven by increasing trends in natural disaster occurrence and increasing reconstruction costs. My thesis focuses on hydrological disasters.

Mission + Vision

Using several literature sources, my thesis analyzes various aspects of natural disaster response and education. This paper achieves its goal to increase awareness about flaws in government risk management and outlines the lack in awareness + curricula amongst architecture institutions.

**(LEFT) Idealized, not final iteration


This poster (LEFT) was my initial thesis proposal during Junior year, detailing the scope of research and gives an idealized first pass at a design solution. This first design iteration was intentionally bordering on science fiction as an artistic approach to spark conversation. Redesign for the final thesis was realistic and based on structural load analysis (RIGHT).

Ideation + CAD

coast Pod Elevation System (coastPES) is the alternative flood and wind resistant housing model. coastPES is designed to withstand high wind speeds. The pod modules rest on buoyant platforms designed to adjust to rapidly changing water levels. The diagrams throughout this page outline various features and force loads that were considered.


User Testing + Research

The design process begins with hazard-risk identification and then outlining important building regulations. FEMA Coastal Construction Manuals along with other sources were useful in understanding necessary mitigation measures required for coastal development designs. Design inspiration was drawn from similar existing technology and the need for innovative, resilient, and economical designs. My thesis hopes to use idealized designs to start more conversation about natural disaster defensive architecture.


Design Features: coastPES is equipped with all essential features. Adequate vertical supports, flexible pipes, no glass, flotation speed regulation, industrial-marine grade flotation blocks.

Pod Design: Each pod is also carefully designed. Polycarbonate windows. (reduced flying glass hazards) Collision force reduction using rubber and EPS Geofoam. Thermoplastic timber made from recycled plasctics, and a lot more!

Construction: coastPES aims for rapid and modular construction. Pods are modular and can be pre-assembled offsite. EPS buoyancy blocks supported by funicular, thermoplastic timber sub-structure.

Selected Works

Lil' LabmatesProduct Design

Maravillas ConstructionProduct Design

MIT Project ManusProduct + Experience Design

Terrarium - VR DesignProduct + Experience Design

Triangúla ChairProduct + Experience Design

Vástago LampProduct Design