The old school way to ensure a home is hurricane-proof is to simply site it away from the ocean - that’s what the old sea captains did. However these days, if we can afford it, we want to live right on the water. And when we build our homes fronting beaches or dunes, we’re putting them in harm’s way.
In a recent WCAI (90.1 MHz) interview, John Bologna, PE discusses design considerations for hurricane-resistant construction with an environmental reporter Pien Huang and architect Sibel Asantugrul. John and Sibel are working on a new home on a bluff overlooking Pleasant Bay in Orleans. The home's contemporary architecture is all about bringing nature in while keeping the elements out. This goal is achieved by utilizing lots of impact-resistant windows (made with two layers of glass bonded by plastic resin) supported by steel beams.
The house is designed and built to deal with Category 4 storms with winds over 130 miles per hour, so it won't be a problem if, say, a lawn chair comes flying at the house. Metal-reinforced connections tie the roof to the walls, and the walls to the foundation. But once the walls are up, all you see will be big, open rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s a fortress masquerading as a simple home with a stellar view.