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Compact waterfront home in Washington designed to withstand a Tsunami

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Designs Northwest Architects is responsible for the creation of this compact waterfront home designed for a family of five on Camano Island, Washington. While no structures are tsunami-proof, some can be designed to be resilient to forceful waves. The challenge presented to the architects on this 3,140 square foot site in a high-velocity flood (V) zone was to design for the event and design for beauty.

The footprint of this structure was limited to a 30’ x 30’ pad. Spread out over three levels, the main level encompasses 887 square feet of living space and had to be located five-feet above grade. Foundations were designed on pilings capable of weathering high-velocity tsunami wave action. Consisting of 748 square feet, the lower level area was designed to have breakaway walls and flood vents in the event of a storm surge.

Accolades: The Tsunami House won an Honor Award for design excellence from the Northwest Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

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The design strategy was to locate the main living level nine-feet above grade and leave the lower level to be used as a flexible multi-use space dubbed the “Flood Room.” Clear glass overhead doors open up to the waterside deck facing north, and translucent overhead doors open to the entry courtyard facing south, allowing privacy from the road.

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The depth of the lot is only 50-feet deep, necessitating an above ground sand filter drain field that was ten feet wide. In order to integrate the sand filter into the limited site, it was encased in three-feet high architectural concrete walls and covered with a pervious sun deck on top of the drain field. The drain field/sun deck also acts as a visual barrier between the road and the house providing privacy when all the overhead doors are open.

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The exterior facade of this dwelling uses materials that are durable and low-maintenance. Architectural concrete columns were left exposed, while the siding is a mixture of composite and galvanized standing seam panels and aluminum windows.

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What We Love: This compact waterfront home designed to resist a storm surge and tsunami is a great way to be prepared and mitigate a disaster. Living next to the ocean is very idyllic, but inhabitants need to live with the peace of mind of knowing that their home could survive a disaster. We think the architects did a great job of not only ingenuity in design for a small footprint, but also creating an attractive design for this family of five.

Tell Us: Do you think the architects did a good job of creating not only a design that could withstand a tsunami but also an aesthetically pleasing design? Please share your overall thoughts in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at another incredible home tour that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of the architects of this project: Modern-rustic home designed to withstand wildfires in the North Cascades.

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A steel stair constructed of bent plate steel leads up to the main living area, encompassing an open plan kitchen, living, dining area. There is also a 198 square foot third level sleeping loft boasting waterfront views.

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On the lower level, the architects selected polished concrete for the flooring with integrated radiant heat. The ceiling is clad with western red cedar to infuse warmth to the otherwise industrial feel of this living space.

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Above: To the left of the living area, a wall of custom cabinetry features two Murphy beds, allowing for extra sleeping space to accommodate overnight guests.

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Above: A guest bathroom designed underneath the staircase is a great way to save space. Translucent glass enables privacy while filtering in natural light. Sink: LaCava. Faucet: California Faucets

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On the light-filled upper level, you will find a more refined palette, featuring porcelain tiles on the floor and western red cedar on the ceiling. A sculptured “wave” plaster panels from Modular Arts and milled finished steel trim surround the fireplace. Grounding the space is an Angela Adams area rug that has a pattern mimicking the waves of the ocean. Furnishings include an Area 51 sofa and Eames Lounge chairs from Herman Miller.

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Above: The shed roof design allowed enough space for a loft, which is accessed via a mill-finished steel ship ladder. The railings along the loft are also mill-finish steel. This retreat is the daughter’s space.

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Throughout the interiors, you will find references to the natural world.

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Large sliding glass doors in the open plan living, dining, and kitchen create a seamless indoor-outdoor connection while bringing in fresh breezes from the ocean.

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Above: The master bedroom is adjacent to the great room, boasting sliding translucent doors that let light into this space while opening it up to the water view.

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Above: Behind the bed is a closet, which serves a dual purpose as an attractive headboard. Wall-mounted sconces keep the space clean and clutter-free.

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Above: The geometric lines of this compact waterfront home lends a modern feel, yet the warmth of wood gives an inviting look. The exterior is clad in metal and Vivix Architectural Panels by Formica Group in Elegant Rosewood. The product is an engineered exterior facade paneling that has a decorative surface on both sides. This lightweight rainscreen cladding combines excellent weather and UV resistance properties for enhanced durability and low-maintenance.

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contemporary-waterfront-home-exterior

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Photos: Lucas Henning

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