A Tsunami- and Earthquake-resistant Home

This house design is not merely a concept. It exists in the real world, in a “high velocity flood zone” on the northern end of Camano Island, in Washington State. The house is designed to resist damage from floods, tsunami, earthquakes, high winds, and zombies. Well, maybe not zombies. It looks great (and expensive).

But what interests me, as a prepper, is the survival features of the house. A lot of thought went into preparing the house for various natural disasters. To make the house resistant to flooding and tsunami, the lower level is essentially water-proof. The flooring and walls are architectural concrete, which I think just means nice-looking concrete. There are large windowed garage doors that can open to let flood waters through. The wood used on the floor is water-proofed. So if the first level is flooded, not much water damage occurs. A tsunami would break the glass on the large doors on the lower level. But that just lets the water through, so that there is little pressure on the sides of the house. The house is supported with reinforced concrete, to resist pressure from “high velocity flooding”.

I also like the murphy bed concept for the lower levels. When in-laws visit, you tell them about the great view from the first floor and make them stay there.

Designing the house to resist high winds, but still look great is a case of form plus function. A “survival” house does not need to look like a fortress. And the earthquake proofing is another prepping-type feature. On the other hand, is a small island on the coast the best place for a prepper to live? There are pros and cons to the location. But that’s another matter.

Now this house would be expensive to build anywhere, especially given its relatively small size. But a lower-priced house could use some of the same concepts. The lower level of a two-story house in a flood zone could have water-resistant flooring, instead of carpet. The walls could be aerated concrete or a similar material, rather than ordinary drywall. And the choice of furniture and other items on that floor can be a consideration. Keep your book collection and any antique or expensive furniture on the second level.

I’m not an architect or general contractor, but I suppose that many different home design considerations could take into account damage and recovery from possible natural disasters. A house in which I formerly lived had a basement that was below-grade on three sides of the house, but the fourth side had a driveway cut into the hillside. So if the basement flooded from heavy rains, the water could flow out the garage door, into the driveway, and down the hill. Another house I lived in was not so well designed for flooding. The first floor of the one-story house was a few inches above grade, and the lot was perhaps a few feet above sea-level. For flood resistance, you are better off with a set of stairs going from grade to the first floor.

See the Gizmodo article: A Home Designed to Stand Up to a Tsunami and lots of pictures here: The Designer: Houzz.com. Architectural Daily did a write up with some more information.

I’d like to see more home designers and homeowners take possible natural disasters into account when building homes.

– Thoreau

One Response to A Tsunami- and Earthquake-resistant Home

  1. Hmm, very interesting but will it also stand up against the wildfire racing down from the woods behind them??