After the Japan tsunami in 2011, architects and developers alike turned their attention to tsunami-proof homes. Though living in a tsunami-proof house won’t offer complete protection from the devastation, it can go a long way towards giving you the best chance of surviving the ordeal unscathed and with your home still somewhat intact. But just how do architects go about designing a tsunami-proof home? Keep reading to find out.
Designing a Tsunami-Proof House
Avoid Building Close to the Coastline
The very first thing architects and planners should do when designing a tsunami-proof house is consider location.
Tsunamis can affect areas a great distance from the coast, but it’s buildings that are closest to the coastline that are most at risk. Not only are they the first to be hit when a tsunami strikes, but they’re also the ones most likely to encounter the bulk of the strong winds and storms.
As detailed in our guide to building in flood zones, elevation is key. Given the ferocious heights of tsunami swells, it seems the taller the better.
A suspended floor which accommodates water flow underneath the building will greatly reduce damage. This is why homes in flood zones like coastal California are built on top of car garages, complete with collapsible doors to allow for the major force of the water to flow through.
While timber structures are heavily favored in earthquake resistant architecture, any kind of wood material is disastrous for a tsunami situation.
Timber structures are easily uprooted. What’s more, timber floats, and thus may cause further damage to other buildings. As an alternative, architects could opt for concrete or reinforced steel instead.
Did you know that rough terrain reduces the momentum of waves, slowing the flow of water down?
As such, it’s a good idea to allow the surrounding vegetation and reefs to grow freely. Mangrove swamps in particular have proven effective in counteracting the force of a tsunami.