On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey stalled over the greater Houston area for four days, producing historic amounts of rainfall and resulting in catastrophic flooding in over two-thirds of the area. Unfortunately, the Baldwin-Boettcher Library in Humble, Texas, north of Houston, was significantly damaged during the storm event.
The library, located on the Mercer Botanic Gardens campus, was constructed within a flood plain and was inundated by five feet of water inside the building. According to Edward Melton, Harris County Public Library director, the library suffered $916,253 of damage to technology, books, furniture and supplies, and remained closed for about a year.
Originally, the team was thinking of relocating the library to another site as a solution, but, due to nostalgic and sentimental reasons, many patrons asked for the library to remain in its current location. So, county officials decided to rebuild it, but this time, as a flood-resilient structure.
Since the building could not be elevated or moved, officials met with the team at Collaborate Architects to come up with a plan for rebuilding Baldwin-Boettcher library that would account for the fact that flooding will happen again in the future. The building needed to be constructed with a flood-resistant design that would reduce the impact of water intrusion and costly damage to the walls and structure of the building. These design improvements would allow for the facility to return to service quickly after a storm event.
In the search for innovative building materials that would help meet the requirements for this resilient design, without impacting the project’s budget, architects found and selected Bautex.
The Bautex Wall System was a superb material choice for the flood-resistant exterior walls for this project. The system includes the Bautex Block and the Bautex Air and Moisture Barrier, which, together, create a moisture-resistant, durable wall that is highly resistant to mold and mildew.
Bautex is a reinforced concrete construction that does not degrade when wet and maintains its original performance even after getting wet during a flood. The Bautex Wall System has all the vital elements of a flood-resistant wall: The durability and strength to resist water intrusion during a flood, the resilience to allow for quick and easy surface cleaning after a flood without removal of materials, and the ability to continue to perform the same as when the building was originally constructed despite having experience flooding.
“If we build back the same way, well shame on us because that doesn’t make any sense. So, we’re going to be rebuilding it, expecting the water is going to happen,” says Jim Nutter, interim director of Mercer Botanic Gardens. Source