The Weather Channel interviewed designer William Edward Summers about how to create a disaster resistant building
The traditional American single-family house is not designed to withstand disasters. Ideally a house should offer good protection from floods, fires, earthquakes, storms, civil unrest and financial difficulties. Most houses today are designed with substantial input from building contractors who have the primary goal of selling for the highest price.
The disaster resistant building project by William Edward Summers, a San Francisco, and British Columbia based design theorist, explores ideas about how residential and small to mid-sized commercial buildings can be designed to be disaster resistant.
1) Use attics or half stories, rather than roof trusses, to add substantial, usable square footage to your building for very little additional cost.
2) Build at least one full story above the one hundred year flood plain and consider building the first floor walls in concrete.
3) Allow room for a potential future rental unit even if you never intend to have tenants. If not used to create cash flow, it still might come in handy for use by friends or family members, or as quarters for a live in nurse or domestic assistant.
This house in the North Berkeley Hills neighbourhood of Kensington has a spectacular, panoramic view of downtown San Francisco, and the Golden Gate bridge. William Edward Summers completed the house in 2001. the design has cubist elements, which is a motif of Summers, set in the lush greenery of the hills. Here is shown the plan, then construction, and finally the completed house.