Disasters seem to hit just about every part of our country and although we get better at protecting ourselves, they continue to produce tumultuous results. Deaths are often the by-product, homes are destroyed beyond recognition and survivors often left with nothing and nowhere to go.
According to weather experts and some in the scientific community, global warming is creating natural disasters more frequently and is something we should all expect to see more of in the future. Yet structures in most parts of the world were not designed to withstand many of the most damaging disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis.
Over the years, architects have developed a variety of disaster-proof homes intended to protect the inhabitants from the local or regional perils and we've selected a few that are still in the conceptual stages and others that have already withstood the test of time and natural disasters.
13 Tudor Farms
This is a great disaster getaway as it includes 11 bedrooms, 10.5 baths, eight fireplaces and includes every amenity one could want if stranded in emergency conditions. For example, it includes a fully equipped gourmet kitchen, insulated walls and 6,250 acres of wildlife.
It was built to withstand extremely harsh winters and is located in Cambridge, Maryland. This large structure was originally built for Paul Tudor Jones, mega-wealthy hedge fund manager.
12 Sister Rock Island
Sister Rock Island is a home-island that is located in the Marathon, Florida Keys area of the country. It's around 1.5 acres in size and is only 1/4 mile off-shore. The home itself is approximately 5,000-square-feet and has ocean views from every vantage point. The amenities are so plentiful, owners would feel as though they were living in their own private resort. Here are just a few: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, fireplace, garage, helicopter launch pad, guest house, pool, high ceilings all within a Bahamian-style environment. Of course, it also comes with its own boat, dock, BBQ area.
Here is what makes this structure so safe: concrete block and brick - plus it has a full basement. The helicopter pad allows the guests to take off at the first sign of a disaster.
11 Upstate Castle
This castle used to be a former National Guard armory in Amsterdam, New York and is 36,000-square-feet of safety. The 10,000-square-foot gym is large enough to house other survivors, rations, equipment and more. There is also a fall-out shelter for added protection. It was built in 1894-1895 and was architecturally designed with a medieval-looking exterior to make it look foreboding.
Currently, the structure is being used as a personal residence and Bed & Breakfast and called the "Amsterdam Castle". It has 2 guest suites with king-sized beds, a rifle range, wi-fi, cable TV, parking for 40 and is located only 3 hours outside of New York City and other state attractions.
10 Earthquake-Proof "Coral Reef Island" for Haiti
When a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, over five years ago (2009), buildings were flattened and the 3 million inhabitants were left with lives turned upside down. Over 300,000 people were killed, the same amount injured and around 2 million became homeless. It was one of the most horrific natural disasters ever experienced.
The "Coral Reef" project is the brainchild of architect Vincent Callebaut, who has come up with his idea of a solution. One-thousand modular homes within two wavy buildings that are built on seismic piles. The homes would run on the energy the waves could provide and would provide efficient means for supply delivery and common amenities.
9 Soccer Ball-Shaped Floating Houses
These little earthquake-proof homes look like geodesic spaceships. They have 32-sides made of urethane and they are developed to maintain their upright position no matter what disaster might occur - such as a tsunami. The dome's base is designed to keep the residents floating in safety, as much as possible. This particular brand and model - the Barier - is 540-square-feet in size and is considered a "floating rescue ship".
8 Noah's Ark - A Floating Hotel
Noah's Ark is a glamorous-looking hotel that provides safety, as well as an exotic destination. Can you imagine being taken to your hotel in a boat and spending days overlooking the ocean or sea from your room? The best thing about this design by Remistudio, is it is built to remain stable during an earthquake. It is also designed to accommodate survival for its guests, if need be. Solar panels and rainwater collection are included along with its ability to create a fertile environment for food production. Although it is stationary, it is capable of detaching from its base to float wherever, as needed. We think this is an ultra-smart idea.
7 Earthquake-Proof Solar-Powered Volcano Towers
These are truly bizarre-looking, yet have an earthy and aesthetic appearance. OFIS Architecture developed this concept they call the All-Seasons Tent Tower. This alien-Hobbit design is solar energy powered around its volcano-looking tower, which functions in many additional ways. Plus, the concept includes a most-efficient and unusual feature: its temperature is consistently regulated due to the way the exterior's mesh skin filters the rays from the sun. The internal concrete system protects the inhabitants from earthquakes and is a free standing city, complete with apartments, shops, restaurants and entertainment.
6 Lilypad Floating City Concept
Vincent Callebaut is the inventor-architect of these mega floating cities. The concept was to provide a self-sufficient city that could include 50,000 residents along with the livestock and plant life to feed them. The bulbous part at the bottom is where the rainwater gets filtered to provide fresh water for multiple uses. It is intended to be the perfect location for future climate-changes.
5 Hurricane-Proof Dome House in Florida
This is a hurricane-proof home that sits on a 6,000-square-foot lot in Pensacola Beach, Florida. Brainchild of Mark and Valerie Sigler, they are calling it the "Dome of a Home". Its futuristic and modern appearance are part of its innate safety feature. The views are of the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound, so the peacefulness practically rivals its safety features. The owners used advanced concrete and steel for its structure, which has successfully survived four hurricanes.
4 The Citadel: Floating Apartment Complex in the Netherlands
This design, by Netherland-based Koen Oltuls of Waterstudio, is called The Citadel and is a part of a new development - New Water. Evidently, there are environmental canal changes, and canals account for much of that body of land. So Koen's concept includes this 60-luxury-apartment complex that will provide floating roads, boat docks and a car park. The floating structures will all change with the water levels rather than stand against them.
3 Anti-Atomic Shelter
Batman cave, anyone? This structure looks like a luxurious hybrid of a batcave and a bomb shelter. This is actually a real structure and is built under the rocks of Vita Berg in Stockholm. It has been turned into an office and cabins and provides enough natural light to make residents feel like they are in a normal environment. It was built in the 1970s to protect government necessities in the event of a nuclear strike. Of course, it can withstand both earthquakes and severe storms because it is underground.
2 Styrofoam Dome Homes
These structures, believe it or not, are earthquake resistant mainly because of the building material. Since they are made from styrofoam, there is little chance that the structures would harm the residents from falling walls, ceiling or other debris. It doesn't rust or rot and acts as an temperature insulator. Countries and geographic areas that are especially earthquake-prone are ideal for this type of structure.
1 Chateau Artisan
This eight-bedroom, moated castle sits on over 14 acres of lush grounds and is located in rural Miami-Dade County. It features all of the luxury amenities one would expect from a castle that is over 20,000 square feet in size, such as a wine cellar, barbecue gazebo, huge kitchen, pool and gorgeous gardens. As you can see, it is a veritable fortress and was designed to withstand nearly any natural disaster. Charles Sieger is the architect responsible for this design and is noted in a Forbes article as saying, "In particular, I bought the property because it was on the side of a canal, which also provides protection."