Architects Create a Tsunami Resistant Home, But is it Safe?

tsunamihouse

Following the horrible catastrophic damage caused by last year’s Hayan Typhoon and the disastrous Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, architects have been hard at work coming up with designs for homes that can withstand the force of tsunami waves. One such proposal, submitted by architect Dan Nelson and his team at Designs Northwest Architects, features a home that is elevated 9 feet from the ground, held up by concrete-encased, steel-frame-reinforced pillars.

While the design looks good on paper, there are two issues that work against it. The initial is that the first floor of the home has no power outlets and all the furniture and fixtures are waterproof, limiting the design capabilities. However, the lack of outlets reduces electrical risk during a storm, and potentially keep the home’s power supply from shorting completely.

The second issue is that the sides of the bottom floor are enclosed in glass sheets. These sheets are designed to break away should they be hit by a stone, effectively being washed up into the water which will pass through the house, rather than take it along. The main issue, as it was explained on Core77, which recently featured the house, is that while, “…having breakaway walls might be good for the house, it might not be so good for objects outside the house that are going to have a glass garage door slam into them.” The article argues that in a tsunami, the addition of a few pieces of glass wouldn’t make that large of a difference.

That is, unless you happen to be the, “object outside the house,” in that case, it would make all the difference in the world.

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Category: Architecture