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Santorini and hurricanes: The construction methods of houses and buildings in Santorini are being studied closely by architects worldwide, especially those who deal with buildings in the hurricane-prone areas of the US and Caribbean islands. Santorini does not suffer from major hurricanes, but the settlements nestled along the coast of the island can be damaged by the storms. In fact, this has helped in the evolution of a unique building technique.
The damage resistant status of the structures is due to the thick brick walls and steel reinforced concrete roofs. While wooden reinforced roofs of the west can be split and torn off by the strong whirlwinds, concrete roofs stay put and prevent leakages.
Santorini architects have a special skill in shaping the structure, so as to minimize the effect of the winds. The roofs are constructed by pouring thick concrete on to densely arranged steel beams to create a heavy concrete slab. Roofs can be shaped in dome, vault or flat terrace shapes as appropriate to the design. The slopes let the water runoff along the sides and allow smooth wind passage.
Construction of such roofs requires skilled labor and competent supervision to prevent future leakage or cracks. The beams must be densely and neatly arrayed before pouring concrete, while the roof should be kept moist through water for a week after construction. The fast evaporation rate of the concrete can result in the development of cracks. Other options include water resistant material or tiles.
Using metal shutters on the main entrances of the house is also common in Santorini. This helps in detracting internal damages to the structure. Having a roof terrace, which is not a common feature of western homes, gives you space for a garden or a small party. Once the tedious construction of the strong concrete structure is finished it leaves you with peace of life without having to worry about repairing the roof or good resale value.