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November 14, 2017

With hydraulic stilts and solar power, this ‘hurricane-proof’ home defies nature

by John_A

After a decade of relatively tranquil seas, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was literally one for the books. Nearly two months after Irma ravaged Puerto Rico, more than half of the country is still without electricity — a true testament to the power of this storm system. Unfortunately, as surface ocean temperatures continue to rise, we can only expect more powerful storms in the future. With this in mind, perhaps this ingenious floating “hurricane-proof” home will allow humanity to better weather the challenges of a more tempestuous planet.

Architect Koen Olthuis and housing startup Arkup recently unveiled a series of “livable yachts” at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Olthuis’ architectural firm, Waterstudio, has produced floating structures for the past decade. We’ve covered flood-proof homes in the past, but these floating structures have been designed to handle not only rising waters but also the powerful winds (up to 156 miles per hour) associated with Category 4 hurricanes.

A hydraulic system allows the unit to rise more than 40 feet during a surge, and a series of rooftop solar panels will enable each of these floating homes to operate completely off the power grid. These glorified houseboats will also incorporate a rainwater collection and filtration system, allowing them to fulfill basic plumping needs in situ. Currently, Olthuis and the team anticipate these hurricane-proof homes will cost somewhere between $2 million or $3 million, with the first prototype set hit the Miami River in 2018.

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