Tsunami House built to handle nature's worst
From Hurricane Katrina to the Polar Vortex which has buried large swathes of North America under snow, we're frequently reminded that when extreme weather hits, the results can be devastating. Tsunami House, by Designs Northwest Architects, has been built to withstand the worst nature can throw at it: high winds, storms, and yes, even a tsunami.
Located in a flood-prone section of Camano Island, Washington, the recently completed two-story (plus loft) waterfront home sits atop 1.5 m (5 ft) high pilings designed to take abuse from a high velocity tsunami wave. The ground floor, dubbed the "flood room," is a multi-use space which sports walls designed to break away if a tsunami hits, thus leaving the integrity of the upper areas intact.
The main living area is on the second floor, accessed via tough bent plate steel stairs. It contains bathroom, kitchen and dining area, master bedroom, and a loft bedroom accessible via ladder. The decor is distinctly low-maintenance and industrial, with concrete and glass the order of the day. However, Designs Northwest Architects strove to add some warmth to the main living areas with the use of cedar wood and plenty of windows to assure ample natural light.
Of course, we'll only ever really know for sure if the design of Tsunami House is successful should the worst happen. Hopefully that day never comes.
Source: Designs Northwest Architects via ArchDaily
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I'm not sure if it would stand up to a "worst in recorded history" tsunami. I think the concrete pillars would be damaged from a boat hitting the house or something.
I basically don't think there is any way to defeat weather unless you live in a bunker.
I'm probably being over negative because I don't like to taunt nature.
There is no reason not to have a proper staircase. Who wants to climb up the ladder, every time they want to go upstairs?
There is such a large frontal area, which in the event of a tsunami would act like a sail and the whole house would get washed away. I would certainly make the sea-facing wall pointed like the bow of a ship. Hopefully the windows would be made of polycarbonate.
No doubt this house is very expensive, and to my mind not fit for purpose. Caveat emptor!
In reality, this house is a modern version of a house built on stilts like you'd find down in the Keys.
I think the house would quell most storm surges, given it's concrete wall oceanside that would block the brunt of the impact and you'd have to remember to open the garage doors to let the water flow through.
The wind from a hurricane would be an interesting factor, though. I'm guessing the "wedge" built for the oceanside wall on the main living area is supposed to deflect some of that impact?
Not sure how well it'd go against a tsunami though, given the relatively recent images from Japan.
Polycarbonate windows sound good but are visually fragile, i.e. scratch easily unless protected with replaceable ? film.
Another design would be a Noah's Ark approach - a v. sturdy ferro-cement hull made to float in high water, moored with cables for normal use.
Bucky Fuller talks about design for rare events in "No More Second-Hand God".
-A few meters thick and 5-6m (15-18ft) high concrete wave breakers were broken completely at some places. The force hitting the concrete is literally tons, I understand. Many houses were swept away from the concrete foundation on up. Tsunamis can easily cave underneath.
-Washington State shows it was hit by a massive tsunami before humans settled there, and if I remember right, the height of the tsunami would have easily swallowed this house.
-There were many earthquake proof houses in Tohoku that stood gutted after the tsunami. Since glasses will be broken regardless of what they are made of, if the second floor is filled up with water, you have no chance of survival.
First, notice the clear material on the bottom floor.
Unless that clear material (possibly glass) is not ultra strong and ultra reinforced it certainly is NOT going to stand up to a wall of water moving at 50 miles an hour.
Get real. Write better, more honest, articles. Don't you care to have pride in your work? Please stop telling the masses falsehoods. Thanks, so much.