This Home is Designed to Stand Up to a Tsunami

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Little can actually be guaranteed to survive the high-velocity wave walls and pummeling winds of a tsunami—but this house will at least put up a damn good showing.

Designed by Dan Nelson of Designs Northwest Architects, this building has become known as the Tsunami House. Its structure has been carefully created to withstand 7.8 scale earthquakes and 85 mph lateral winds, as well as the flooding that comes with the territory.

It was achieved by positioning the two vital living floors two metres above the ground, so the main part of the house stands on massive support columns, reinforced by steel framing. Gaps in that framework are then filled with glass doors that close like roller shutters, which look great but also break preferentially during flooding, relieving force on the building by allowing water to flow through. Essentially, they take one for the team.

This Home Is Designed to Stand Up to a Tsunami

They also happen, though, to make the ground floor feel like an ordinary room, as opposed to redundant space. In fact, that ground floor—also known ominously as the 'flood room' and pictured above—is very much useable. It's decorated a lot like any other stylish living space, expect each and every item within it is certified waterproof so they won't be ruined by floodwaters.

The house is located in Camano Island, Washington State, USA—which is no stranger to tsunamis—and some of its elements look set to be used elsewhere, including New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Hopefully, though, the house's abilities will never be truly put to the test. [Houzz via Smithsonian]

Images by Lucas Henning