Tsunami House / Northwest Architect Designs
Text description provided by the architects. The Tsunami House is a waterfront home located on a 3,140 square foot site in a high speed (V) flood zone at the north end of Camano Island. The building footprint was limited to a 30 ‘x 30’ slab.
The 887 square foot main living level was to be located 5 feet above ground level and the foundation was to be designed on stilts capable of withstanding the action of high speed tsunami waves. The lower 748 square foot space was to be designed with walls capable of detaching in the event of a storm surge.
Our design strategy was to locate the main living level 9ft above ground level and let the lower level be used as a flexible multipurpose space dubbed the “flood room”. Clear glass overhead doors open to the north-facing waterfront deck, and translucent overhead doors open to the south-facing entrance courtyard, allowing privacy from the road.
The depth of the land is only 50 ‘deep and required a 10’ wide above ground sand filter drainage field. In order to integrate the sand filter into the restricted site, it was encased in 3ft high architectural concrete walls and covered with a permeable solarium above the leach field. The leaching field / sun terrace also acts as a visual barrier between the road and the house providing privacy when all overhead doors are open.
A steel staircase constructed from folded sheet steel leads to the main living room, which is designed as a large room with the kitchen, living room, dining room and a 198 square foot mezzanine on the third level facing the water. The master bedroom located off the great room has translucent sliding doors that let light into the space and open up to the water view.
The exterior materials of the house are durable and require little maintenance. The architectural concrete columns are left exposed and the exterior cladding is a mixture of composite and galvanized standing seam panels and aluminum windows. The floor of the lower level is polished concrete with radiant heat to the floor and the ceilings are covered in western red cedar to add warmth to the otherwise industrial atmosphere of the lower level.
The upper level is more refined with porcelain tile on the floor, western red cedar on the ceiling and a sculpted “wave” plaster panel and milled finished steel trim surrounding the fireplace. The interior vessel ladder and attic railings are all steel with a machined finish. References to the natural world are made in all interiors.