Designs Northwest Architects have recently completed the Tsunami House, located on Camano Island in Washington State.

The Tsunami House is a waterfront home located on a 3,140 square foot site in a high velocity flood (V) zone on the northern end of Camano Island. The building footprint was limited to a 30’ x 30’ pad.

The 887 square foot main living level had to be located 5 feet above grade and the foundations had to be designed on pilings capable of withstanding high velocity tsunami wave action. The lower 748 square foot space had to be designed with walls that were able to break away in the event of a storm surge.



Our design strategy was to locate the main living level nine feet above grade and leave the lower level to be used as a flexible multi use space dubbed the “Flood Room.” Clear glass overhead doors open up to the waterside deck facing north, and translucent overhead doors open to the entry courtyard facing south, allowing privacy from the road.




The depth of the lot is only 50 feet deep and required an above ground sand filter drain field that was 10 feet wide. In order to integrate the sand filter into the limited site, it was encased in 3-ft high architectural concrete walls and covered with a pervious sun deck on top of the drain field. The drain field/sun deck also acts as a visual barrier between the road and the house providing privacy when all the overhead doors are open.


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