Dreaming of a home by the ocean, where the breeze will gently swipe you off your feet and guide you down to the beach? Then take a look at the Tsunami House on the northern end of Camano Island, in the Washington State. Despite its name, this is a home that withstands not only a tsunami, but also offers a contemporary, minimalist living environment.

Designed by Designs Northwest Architects and photographed by Lucas Henning, the waterfront home rests on a 3,140 square foot site in a high velocity flood zone. Its location in such a dangerous area limited the construction’s footprint to 30’ x 30’. Within this space, the architects constructed a contemporary home that would focus the attention of its straight design lines and use of warm wood rather than on … the possibility of a tsunami.

Tsunami House by Designs Northwest Architects  (2)

Still, considering the probabilities, architects imagined and built a strong foundation:

“The 887 square foot main living level had to be located 5′ above grade and the foundations had to be designed on pilings capable of withstanding high velocity tsunami wave action. The lower 748 square foot space had to be designed with walls that were able to break away in the event of a storm surge. Our design strategy was to locate the main living level 9′ above grade and leave the lower level to be used as a flexible multi use space dubbed the “Flood Room.”

Tsunami House by Designs Northwest Architects  (3)

Glass – both transparent and translucent – construct a dreamy atmosphere reminiscent of the naturally wild surroundings outside. Interiors hide heating technologies to make up for the aesthetic coldness: the whole lower level floor displays polished concrete with radiant in floor heat, while western red cedar covers the ceilings in an attempt to warm up the atmosphere of the rather industrial level. Beautiful details like the interior ship ladder and loft railings which are mill finish steel throughout make the interiors special. The rest of the house serves as both a private and a social space, all focusing on dramatic views over the water:

“A steel stair constructed of bent plate steel leads up to the main living area, which is designed as a great room with the kitchen, living, dining, and a 198 square foot third level sleeping loft facing the water. The master bedroom located adjacent to the great room has sliding translucent doors that let light into the space and open up to the water view.”

Do you think the architects manage to create a dream home in a harsh environment?

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