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Tsunami-proof Waterfront House

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Located on Comano Island in Washington state, this waterfront house was built to resist strong tsunami waves and heavy weather. Its immediate waterfront position makes it very vulnerable to flooding, and this is the main element Design Northwest Architects had in mind when designing the house. The house was built with strong and low maintenance materials, such as concrete, metal, wood and glass. The lower level, also called the “flood room” is made in concrete, while the facades at the upper levels are a mixture of composite and galvanized standing seam panels and aluminum windows, plus red cedar wood. One constraint the architects had was having to integrate an above ground sand filter drain field to the already small site. The solution they found was to locate it on the street side of the house and cover it with a sun deck. This way the house gets some privacy from the street and benefits from a sizable outdoors terrace. The lower floor is a very versatile space, with concrete walls and overhead glass doors on all sizes. The overhead doors facing the sea are in clear glass, allowing the views, while the others are in translucent glass, for more privacy. The middle and main floor of the house is designed as an open living space with kitchen, living room and dining room, while the upper floor is a sleeping loft.

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The so called “flood room” is a very versatile space, ready for immediate evacuation in case of danger. When the overhead doors are closed, the space can be used as bedroom or living space. When the doors are open it becomes more of an semi-outdoors lounge, with access to both the beach and the sun deck on the other side.

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This lower level can be used as an extra bedroom when necessary. Two fold-away twin beds are integrated in one of the walls. Alternatively, the space can become a lounge, with beautiful open access to the water.

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The middle floor is the main floor of the house. This bold design defies and welcomes the waves at the same time. The wave motif is integrated in one of the walls of the living space, and repeated in the pattern of the living room rug.

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The living space benefits from a lot of natural light also thanks to its double height. The sitting area is turned towards this wavy wall that integrates a fireplace and a flat screen.

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The open kitchen is simple but functional. The dining table in raw wood and metal is surrounded by chairs on three sides and by a similar raw wood bench on the kitchen side.

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Besides the open living space, on this floor we also find the main bedroom, closed behind sliding translucent glass doors.

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The sleeping loft is accessible via a metal and wood ladder, and overlooks the living space. The only separation is a metal railing.

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