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 velocity (V) flood zone on the north end of Camano Island. The building footprint was limited to a 30′ x 30′ platform.
The main living level of 887 square feet was to be located 5 feet above ground level and the foundation was to be designed on pilings capable of withstanding the action of the high-velocity tsunami waves. The 748-square-foot lower space had to be designed with walls capable of coming loose in the event of a storm surge.
Our design strategy was to locate the main living level 9 feet above the ground and let the lower level be used as a multipurpose multipurpose space called the “flood room”. Clear glass overhead doors open to the north-facing waterfront deck, and translucent overhead doors open to the south-facing entry courtyard, allowing privacy from the road.
The depth of the lot is only 50′ deep and required a 10′ wide above ground sand filter drain field. In order to integrate the sand filter into the limited site, it was encased in 3-foot-tall architectural concrete walls and covered with a permeable deck above the septic field. The septic field/solarium also acts as a visual barrier between the road and the house, providing privacy when all overhead doors are open.
A steel staircase constructed of bent sheet steel leads to the main living area, which is designed as one 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 low maintenance. The architectural concrete columns are left exposed and the exterior cladding is a mix of composite and galvanized standing seam panels and aluminum windows. The lower level floor is polished concrete with radiant floor heat and the ceilings are clad in western red cedar to add warmth to the otherwise industrial feel of the lower level.
The upper level is more refined with porcelain tile on the floor, western red cedar on the ceiling, and carved plasterboard in the shape of a “wave” and machined finished steel trim surrounding the fireplace. The interior ladder of the ship and the railings of the loft are entirely in finishing steel. References to the natural world are made throughout the interiors.