Texas Hurricane Houses

By CR Sanchez

These three new cottages on Galveston island are designed to withstand hurricanes and replace four houses destroyed by Hurricane Ike.

Las Casitas project is on Galveston Island, on the Texas Gulf Coast. The three coastal cottages replace four that were lost in Hurricane Ike, 2008. This project is enrolled in the U S Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED for Homes and Energy Star program with the certification goal of Platinum.

Smart coastal design and resiliency were priorities when designing to rebuild on the property that had been wiped clean with the 12' storm waters that came with the worst Hurricane to hit Galveston since the Great Storm of 1900. The finished floor is 4' above the FEMA requirement, with a 12" deep glulam diaphragm that connects the top plate to the front and back walls. A unilateral hip roof at 30 degrees is perfect for solar and wind deflection. Energy Star rated impact resistant windows and doors keep the storms out and the coolth in. All of the utilities were buried underground from the main road, about 250', to the houses.

The interiors are Zero VOC with non toxic finishes, paperstone counters and formaldehyde-free cabinets and furniture.  Reclaimed antique doors were used throughout the house.  LG mini-split heat pumps zone cool each room, three heads with one condensor, 21 SEER.Las Casitas are surrounded by coastal marsh and enjoy a priveledged place in the migration path of many species of birds. Rainwater catchment tanks irrigate the native grasses and plants that are home to the coastal birds we share the site with on seven acres.The greatest challenge was making the decision to rebuild on the fragile and beautiful barrier island we call home.

Read more:http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/29586/las-casitas#ixzz32B14kA1h
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Originally Published in Fine Homebuilding

05/19/2014