Page N4.1 . 27 July 2011                     
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    Palladio Awards 2011

    by ArchitectureWeek

    Hurricanes were a primary concern for Michael G. Imber Architects when the firm designed a traditionally styled home for the new Beachtown development in Galveston, Texas.

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    Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the vacation-home development combines New Urbanist architecture and planning with systematic fortification against the fierce storms.

    Meeting both of those objectives, the 4,000-square-foot (370-square-meter) Beachtown House by Imber's firm — a magazine show home — emulates the delicate carpenter-gothic style of surviving turn-of-the-20th-century Galveston homes while employing contemporary engineering for hurricane resistance.

    The house's living spaces are located 23.5 feet (7.2 meters) above base flood elevation. Concrete piers and concrete-plank decking were used to create a solid base to resist storm surges, disguised with traditional plaster piers and a lighter wood shuttered infill that forms blow-out walls at street level.

    Steel shear walls and shear bracing provide additional structural reinforcement, and mildew-resistant materials, such as concrete siding, were used in case of submersion in a flood.

    The home's mettle was tested a mere fortnight after completion, when Hurricane Ike struck in October 2009. Although other parts of Galveston suffered catastrophic damage, the Beachtown House experienced only cosmetic damage, losing its lower-level blow-out panels and garage doors to the 15-foot (4.6-meter) storm surge.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Designed by Michael G. Imber Architects to endure flooding and strong winds, the three-story Beachtown House in Galveston, Texas, survived Hurricane Ike soon after completion in 2009.
    Photo: Courtesy Michael G. Imber Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The Beachtown House stands in the Beachtown resort development near the eastern end of Galveston Island, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
    Photo: Courtesy Michael G. Imber Architects Extra Large Image


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