CDP-Sponsored Designing for Disaster Exhibit Opens

“Designing for Disaster” Exhibit will Bring Disaster Preparedness Home at National Building Museum on May 11

 The Center for Disaster Philanthropy sponsors event to spark dialogue about approaches for designing safer and more resilient communities

WASHINGTON, DC (May 8, 2014) — Recent events—from the tornadoes that have swept through our nation’s heartland, to the devastating landslides in Afghanistan and Washington State—highlight the need for our society to better design infrastructures to reduce the human cost of natural disasters. A new National Building Museum exhibit entitled “Designing for Disaster,” which is sponsored by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, will open on May 11 and explore design solutions to some of the most pressing hazards of our time.

“The nation’s capital, a leading destination for domestic and international travelers and leaders alike, is a fitting place for hosting this exhibit,” said Robert G. Ottenhoff, President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. “We’re excited to help spark dialogue about the simple solutions we already have access to for increasing survival rates when disasters strike. This exhibit brings those ideas to ideas to life for the public and leaders to explore.”

The exhibit will include artifacts from past disasters as well as technologies for reducing the toll of future events. Participants will experience first-hand:

  • A partially deconstructed FEMA-specified “safe room”—one of the few defenses against a tornado or violent storm—to illustrate how it withstands tornado-force winds and flying debris.
  • A “wall of wind,” where visitors will test roof shapes against simulated hurricane-force winds, to see which shape performs best.
  • A button-activated moving staircase to show how expansion joints within the seating bowl at the University of California, Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium would perform in the event of an earthquake.

“We’re proud to have the Center for Disaster Philanthropy—which is such a beacon for advancing preparedness for long-term recovery and resilience—as an event sponsor,” said Chase W. Rynd, Executive Director of the National Building Museum. “This exhibit includes the latest in disaster preparedness thinking and technologies. It’s a playbook that more of our leaders, practitioners and residents must reference to promote safer built environments for us all.”

Exhibit Details

The exhibit will be on display at the National Building Museum at 401 F St NW in Washington, DC through August 2, 2015. Admission to Museum exhibitions is $8 for adults, $5 for youth, students, and seniors, and free for National Building Museum members and children under three. Visit to purchase tickets online.

Public Programs

Several public programs are planned for topics such as: the effects of hurricanes in urban areas; the “Rebuild by Design” to revitalize the region affected by Hurricane Sandy; the rising waters of the Chesapeake Bay; and the importance of resilient landscapes, among others. For details, go to: Media passes are available upon request.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy mobilizes philanthropy to strengthen communities’ ability to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur. It provides expert advice and resources while managing domestic and international disaster funds on behalf of corporations, foundations and individuals through targeted, holistic and localized grantmaking. Find out more at and on Twitter @funds4disaster.