Hurricane proof houses

Although we are blessed by living in this part of the Atlantic, there are people who suffer year after year hurricanes that destroy or inundate their homes.


While not a usual phenomenon in Europe there have been some exceptions, especially in Europe where there have been grave inundations in the past years, but if we talk about certain coasts in the Pacific or the Atlantic things change and much, as we saw with the Hurricane Irma, declared the largest and most powerful storm ever recorded this century, destroying 90% of the structures in the island of Barbuda.


There is no doubt that in these areas, constructions must always contemplate the resistance to these phenomena and this is the case in countries like Japan, but the idea of Arkup in conjunction with the architect Koen Olthius is something more original and perhaps more colourful. Some have called them liveable yachts although it is not about ships, but floating houses.

These yacht-houses would be able to withstand strong swells and winds of up to 251 kilometres per hour (156 miles per hour), which are classified as Category 4 hurricanes without any power cut and without any damages to the property.


How does it work?

It is well explained in the “Inhabitat” portal. Apparently they have invented a hydraulic system that would elevate the houses more than 12 meters before the storm occurred using solar panels on the roof (30 kilowatts and batteries of 1,000 kilowatts / hour).  The house will use in addition high strength glass to withstand high winds without breakage.

The elevation is provided by the four hydraulic pump under the yacht-house, which will also help in stabilizing it against those ferocious winds. Mind you, the system can also be used in case you don’t like the views with the push of a switch you can start your 136-horsepower electric motors which would allow you to move it to a speed of 7 knots to a new location or neighbourhood.


Respectful with the environment

One thing that stands out is that these houses would be respectful with the environment by resorting to solar energy and not to fossil fuels, without polluting emissions around the location. In addition, they would be equipped with a rainwater purification system and a waste management system, that will take care of the grey waters, but having to have the solid parts to be extracted by specialised cisterns lorries once a year.


As for the design, the houses are modern looking but adjustable to the taste of the future owner also in terms of dimensions. The average sizes of these houses are about 400 square meters (4,350 square feet), not small by our European standards and will comprise four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a toilet, together with a terrace of about 7 x 3.5 square meters (24 x 12 square feet).


A challenge for the wolf and the three little pigs

Although it is an architectural concept, ideas of this kind are normally exposed to the world and then may come true at least in the form of a show house. But perhaps the most important point is the capability of the design to resist hurricanes. I would have thought that the ability of the house to move would be a major intrinsic advantage of this house since it could be rotated to present the minimum resistance to the wind.

There benefits that may compensate its high cost, and that will be not being a building on land, owners could avoid paying certain taxes, but then we should consider the possible fees for anchoring the house in one place or another. There is also the supposed energetic saving if the solar panels and the water tanks compensate some of the extra cost here it would be determinant the location and its climatic conditions.


Not for all pockets

Although we have here what it is considered an architectural proposal and they have not been tested in a hurricane, but that does not mean that it may not work. According to the architect he estimates that each of these yachts-house may cost between 1.6 and 2.5 million euros, for a 400m2. A house of 150m2 may be around 750.000 euros and I am sure you will obtain a huge discount on your home insurance.

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