Title:
TORNADO RESISTANT HOUSE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tornado resistant structure which includes a base and a building structure positioned on the base, The building structure includes a plurality of deflection walls and reinforced corners and a plurality of skylights carried on a roof of the building structure, wherein each skylight includes a tapered sidewall. The building structure includes an entrance and a drain positioned proximate to the entrance.



Inventors:
Marroquin, Carlos (Mesa, AZ, US)
Application Number:
12/172923
Publication Date:
01/15/2009
Filing Date:
07/14/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/79.4, 52/236.1
International Classes:
E04H9/14
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
TRIGGS, ANDREW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARLOS MARROQUIN (MESA, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. A tornado resistant structure, comprising: a base; a building structure positioned on the base, wherein the building structure includes a plurality of deflection walls and reinforced corners; and a plurality of skylights carried on a roof of the building structure, wherein each skylight includes a tapered sidewall.

2. The structure of claim 1, wherein the building structure includes an entrance and a drain positioned proximate to the entrance.

3. The structure of claim 1, wherein a portion of the building structure is below ground.

4. The structure of claim 1, further including a plurality of posts positioned proximate to the outer perimeter of a roof of the building structure.

5. The structure of claim 1, further including a light emitting element positioned within the deflection wall.

6. The structure of claim 5, wherein the deflection wall includes a channel positioned to receive light from the light emitting element.

7. The structure of claim 1, wherein the building structure includes a plurality of rooms, wherein each room is in optical communication with a skylight.

8. A tornado resistant structure, comprising: a base; a building structure positioned on the base, wherein the building structure includes a plurality of angled deflection walls; a reinforced corner positioned between each adjacent deflection wall; a front entrance extending through one of the deflection walls; a first drain positioned to receive water flowing through the front entrance; and a skylight carried on a roof of the building structure, wherein each skylight includes a tapered sidewall.

9. The structure of claim 8, wherein the deflection walls each include an interior wall and an angled outer wall.

10. The structure of claim 9, further including a light emitting element positioned between the interior wall and angled outer wall.

11. The structure of claim 10, wherein the interior wall includes a channel for receiving light from the light emitting element.

12. The structure of claim 9, wherein a portion of the interior wall is positioned below ground.

13. The structure of claim 12, wherein the angled outer wall is not positioned below ground.

14. The structure of claim 8, wherein the building structure includes a back entrance and a second drain to receive water flowing through the back entrance.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/949,639 filed on Jul. 13, 2007, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to buildings and, more particularly, to buildings designed to be resistant to tornadoes.

2. Description of the Related Art

Particular geographical areas are known to suffer from tornadoes. Generally, tornado-prone areas occur at middle latitudes where cold, dry air at a high altitude in the atmosphere meets warm, moist tropical air closer to the surface of the earth. For example, the central United States is prone to tornadoes because cold, dry air from the Rocky Mountains often meets moist, warm air from the southeastern United States. The damage to buildings from tornadoes is costly and it is inconvenient and time consuming to rebuild. Additionally, people are often injured from total or partial collapse of a building and from flying debris if they are not able to find shelter.

To reduce tornado injuries, people often find shelter in the basement of their homes. For people who live in a structure without a basement, such as a mobile home, there are many different types of tornado-resistant shelters and construction techniques. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,955,166 discloses an underground shelter to protect people from tornadoes. U.S. Pat. No. 4,126,972 discloses a tornado protection room integrated within a building construction. However, these forms of tornado protection are limited because they require time for people to obtain shelter therewithin after they realize a tornado is approaching. This is difficult because of the unpredictable nature of tornadoes and the speed with which they form and travel. Thus, there is a need for a tornado-resistant building design that encompasses an entire building structure and provides a comfortable residence.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a tornado resistant structure which includes a base and a building structure positioned on the base, The building structure includes a plurality of deflection walls and reinforced corners and a plurality of skylights carried on a roof of the building structure, wherein each skylight includes a tapered sidewall. The building structure includes an entrance and a drain positioned proximate to the entrance.

The present invention provides a tornado resistant structure, which includes a base and a building structure positioned on the base. The building structure includes a plurality of angled deflection walls, a reinforced corner positioned between each adjacent deflection wall, a front entrance extending through one of the deflection walls, a first drain positioned to receive water flowing through the front entrance and a skylight carried on a roof of the building structure, wherein each skylight includes a tapered sidewall.

Further features and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, taken together with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top front perspective view of a tornado-resistant structure, in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is a top rear perspective view of a tornado-resistant structure, in accordance with the invention.

FIGS. 3a and 3b are sectional views of a tornado-resistant structure taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 1, in accordance with the invention.

FIGS. 4a and 4b are partial top rear perspective view and top front perspective view of a tornado-resistant structure, in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 5 is a top perspective view of a tornado-resistant structure with its roof removed, in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 are a top front perspective view and a top rear perspective view, respectively, of a tornado resistant structure 100, in accordance with the invention. Tornado resistant structure 100 includes a building structure 101 positioned on a base 102. Base 102 is positioned on a ground 103. Building structure 101 can be constructed in many configurations and shapes, such as a dome. Here, building structure 101 is a rectangular shape that includes a front deflection wall 104a, a rear deflection wall 104c, a side deflection walls 104b and 104d, a reinforced corners 105a, 105b, 105c, and 105d, and a rooftop 106. An interior 107 (not shown) is bounded by rooftop 106, deflection walls 104a-d, corners 105a-d, and base 102. Interior 107 can include many different rooms and arrangements. In this embodiment, interior 107 consists of nine rooms, including a rear room 130a and frontroom 130b (FIG. 5).

The materials used to make deflection walls 104a, 104b, 104c, and 104d, reinforced corners 105a, 105b, 105c, and 105d, and rooftop 106 can be of many types, but the materials used should be able to withstand the strong winds of a tornado, such as bricks or steel-reinforced concrete. Further, deflection walls 104a, 104b, 104c, and 104d, reinforced corners 105a, 105b, 105c, and 105d, and rooftop 106 can have many shapes and arrangements, such as curved or dome surfaces, although here they are flat.

Front deflection wall 104a and rear deflection wall 104c are positioned spaced apart from and opposing each other on base 102, with side deflection walls 104b and 104d positioned therebetween. Front deflection wall 104a and rear deflection wall 104c are each positioned roughly perpendicular to side deflection walls 104b and 104d, with reinforced corners 105a-d positioned at their ends. For example, front wall 104a is perpendicular to side wall 104b, with reinforced corner 105a extending between one end of front wall 104a and one end of side wall 104b. Reinforced corners 105a-d are provided to strengthen the connections between walls 104a-d and thus strengthen building structure 101. If building structure 101 is stronger, it is less likely to be damaged by strong winds during a tornado, and is thus safer for people within building interior 107. Exterior deflection walls 104a-d and reinforced corners 105a-d are also sloped to deflect the strong winds from a tornado and to prevent wind damage during a tornado, as will be discussed presently.

Exterior deflection walls 104a-d and corners 105a-d extend upwardly and inwardly from base 102 and ground 103 to rooftop 106. In this manner, walls 104a-d and corners 105a-d are at an angle greater than zero degrees and less than 90 degrees relative to base 102 and ground 103. In this manner, walls 104a-d and corners 105a-d are sloped, an example of which is shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 3a shows a sectional view of structure 100 taken along line 110 of FIG. 1. Interior angle θ is formed between wall 104b and plate 102 as shown. In this embodiment, angle θ is greater than zero and less than 90 degrees. By positioning side deflection wall 104b so that interior angle θ is greater than zero and less than 90 degrees, wall 104b will deflect the strong winds from a tornado away from wall 104b. Similarly, by positioning walls 104a, 104c, 104d, and corners 105a-d with an interior angle greater than zero and less than 90 degrees, they will deflect the strong winds from a tornado away from walls 104a, 104c, 104d, and corners 105a-d. Hence, walls 104a-d and corners 105a-d are sloped to deflect the strong winds from a tornado away from structure 100. Deflecting the strong winds from a tornado away from structure 100 will prevent damage to building structure 101 and will prevent injury to people in building interior 107. It should be noted that FIG. 3a shows an embodiment with deflection wall 104b positioned against an interior wall 107b, bounding a volume 107c. In other embodiments, deflection wall 104b, interior wall 107b, and volume 107c can be combined to be an integrated deflection wall 104e, as shown by substitution arrow 115.

Rooftop 106 extends above walls 104a-d, and thus bounds and covers interior 107 in accordance with the invention. Rooftop 106 can be of many types. In this embodiment, rooftop 106 is a substantially flat, rectangular surface. Rooftop 106 is a flat surface so it more accessible to people and so that rooftop 106 and structure 101 will have a low profile. By being a low profile, structure 101 and rooftop 106 are less likely to be damaged by the strong winds of a tornado. By being more accessible to people, rooftop 106 can be used for other purposes than a roof, such as to grow a garden or for a deck. In this embodiment, rooftop 106 includes a posts 120, a cables 121, and a skylights 122, as will be discussed presently.

Posts 120 are positioned around the perimeter of and extend upwardly and away from the top surface of rooftop 106. Posts 120 can be of many types, such as round pipes, but here they are square with a pyramid-shaped top. Cables 121 are connected to and extend between posts 120. Many numbers of rows of cables can be connected to and extend between posts 120, but here there are two. Posts 120 and cables 121 prevent people from falling off rooftop 106 and allows rooftop 106 to be safely used for purposes other than a roof, as discussed above.

Skylights 122 are positioned on rooftop 106 and extend therethrough. Skylights 122 each include a window 123 and a frame 124. Window 123 allows light to pass through each of skylights 122, through rooftop 106, and into building interior 107. In this manner, skylights 122 can illuminate building interior 107. Skylights 122 can be positioned on rooftop 106 to be aligned and illuminate specific rooms within building interior 107. Windows 123 can be of many materials, such as shatter-resistant glass, but here they are a transparent plastic. The exterior walls 124a-d of frame 124 are sloped to deflect the strong winds of a tornado away from frame 124 in the same manner as the sloped deflection walls 104a-d of building structure 101 discussed above. Thus, the exterior walls 124a-d of frame 124 deflect the strong winds of a tornado away from skylight 122. Deflecting the strong winds of a tornado away from skylight 122 will prevent window 123 from breaking, which will prevent the strong winds and flying debris of a tornado from entering building interior 107. This will prevent injury to people residing within building interior 107. In addition to skylights 122, building interior 107 can be illuminated by interior lighting, as will discussed presently.

FIG. 3b shows an embodiment of a sectional view of structure 100 taken along line 110 of FIG. 1. In this embodiment, structure 100 includes a height Hroom extending between the bottom surface of roof 106 and the top surface of plate 102 and a height Hstructure extending from the bottom surface of plate 102a to the top surface of roof 106. Structure 100 includes a facilities channel 109 and a light emitting element 108. Facilities channel 109 can provide many facilities to structure 100, such as ductwork for HVAC and electrical wiring. Light emitting element 108 is provided to illuminate interior 107. Light emitting element 108 can illuminate interior 107 in many ways, such as through a wall fixture mounted flush with wall 107b. Here, light emitting element 108 illuminates interior 107 through a window 111 positioned in wall 107b. In this manner, interior 107 is illuminated by light emitting element 108 shining through window 111 similarly to a home that does not have an exterior deflection wall 104b. Further, by positioning light emitting element 108 and facilities channel 109 within volume 107c instead of within interior 107, the available living space within volume 107c is increased. By increasing the available living space within interior 107, Hstructure can be decreased and Hroom can be increased. By decreasing Hstructure, structure 100 is less susceptible to damage and provides better protection to occupants of structure 100 during a tornado. By increasing Hroom, the comfort of the occupants residing within interior 107 is increased. In this manner, the position of light emitting element 108 and facilities channel 109 within volume 107c increases the protection and safety of structure 100 during a tornado and increases the comfort of structure 100. To further increase the protection and safety of structure 100 during a tornado and increase the comfort of structure 100, structure 101 can be recessed, as will be discussed presently.

In this embodiment, plate 102 of structure 100 includes a ground level portion 102a and a recessed portion 102b connected by portion 102c as shown in FIG. 3b. A ground level 103a is the level of the ground surrounding structure 100. Portion 102a is positioned above ground level 103a, and portion 102b is positioned below ground level 103a. A height Hexposed extends from level 103a to the top surface of roof 106 on structure 100. In this manner, plate 102a and a portion of interior 107 and structure 100 are positioned above ground level 103a. A height Hrecessed extends from level 103a and the bottom of plate 102a to the bottom of plate 102b. In this manner, plate 102b and a portion of interior 107 and structure 100 are positioned below ground level 103a. By positioning a portion of interior 107 and structure 100 below ground level, Hrecessed decreases the height Hexposed and/or increases height Hroom for a structure 100. By decreasing height Hexposed, the amount of structure 100 exposed to the strong winds of a tornado will be decreased. By increasing height Hroom, the comfort of interior 107 will be increased as discussed above. In this manner, Hrecessed increases the protection and safety of structure 100 during a tornado and/or increases the comfort of structure 100. It should be noted that by positioning a portion of interior 107 and structure 100 above and below ground level 103a, interior 107 and rooftop 106 of structure 100 can both be easily accessed. Rooftop 106 and the building interior 107 of structure 101 can be accessed in many ways. In this embodiment, they are accessed using a door and a combination door, as will be discussed presently.

FIG. 4a is a partial top rear perspective view of structure 101, in accordance with the invention. Structure 101 includes a rear entrance 135 that extends through rear deflection wall 104c into backroom 130a of interior 107. In this manner, rear entrance 135 provides access to backroom 130a and to interior 107 of structure 101. Rear entrance 135 can be positioned in many ways, but here it is positioned with a bottom edge flush with base 102 to allow the low profile of structure 101 as discussed above. Backroom 130a can be of many types, but here it is a garage to contain a vehicle 131. Structure 101 includes a door 136 that is sized to cover rear entrance 135. Door 136 is repeatably movable between a closed position that covers rear entrance 135, preventing access to backroom 130a, and an open position that does not cover rear entrance 135, allowing access to backroom 130a. In this manner, door 136 closes and opens to prevent and allow access to backroom 130a and interior 107 of structure 101. It should be noted that door 136 can be positioned and shaped in many ways. In this embodiment, door 136 is roughly square and is positioned to be flush with wall 104c. Door 136 is flush with wall 104c so it will be sloped, and will thus deflect strong winds from a tornado in the same manner as the slope in deflection wall 104c discussed above.

FIG. 4b is a partial top rear perspective view of structure 101, in accordance with the invention. Structure 101 includes a front entrance 137 that extends through front deflection wall 104a into frontroom 130b of interior 107. In this manner, front entrance 137 provides access to frontroom 130b and to interior 107 of structure 101. Front entrance 137 can be positioned in many ways, but here it is positioned with a bottom edge flush with base 102 to allow the low profile of structure 101 as discussed above. Structure 101 also includes a combination door 139 that is sized to cover front entrance 137. Combination door 139 is provided to allow and prevent access to front entrance 137 and roof 106. It should be noted that combination door 139 can provide access to roof 106 in many ways, such as through an external ramped surface. In this embodiment, combination door 139 includes external stairs 139a to provide access to roof 106. In a closed position, combination door 139 covers front entrance 137 to prevent access to frontroom 130b and allow access to roof 106. In an open position, combination door 139 does not cover front entrance 137 and allows access to frontroom 130b and prevents access to rooftop 106. It should be noted that combination door 139 is repeatably movable between the open position and the closed position. In this manner, combination door 139 opens and closes to allow and prevent access to frontroom 130b and interior 107, and rooftop 106, respectively, of structure 101. It should be noted that in addition to providing access to roof 106, the stairs on combination door 139 provide a surface that will deflect strong winds from a tornado in the same manner as the slope in deflection wall 104a discussed above.

FIG. 5 is a top perspective view of tornado-resistant structure 101 with its roof removed, in accordance with the invention. FIG. 5 shows interior 107 with rooms 130a and 130b as discussed above. Rooms 130a and 130b each include a drain 132. Drains 132 can be positioned in many ways, but here they are positioned on and extending through plate 102, away from openings 135 and 137 in rooms 130a and 130b, respectively. Drains 132 are needed to remove excess water in the event of flooding that may occur in rooms 130a and 130b. Flooding in rooms 130a and 130b may occur due to the low profile of openings 135 and 137 discussed above.

The embodiments and examples set forth herein were presented in order to best explain the present invention and its practical application and to thereby enable those of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention. However, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the foregoing description and examples have been presented for the purposes of illustration and example only. The description as set forth is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the teachings above without departing from the spirit and scope of the forthcoming claims.