Chronicles of the Design & Construction of Two Waterfront Hurricane Proof Dry Stack Modular Green Custom Homes
1. Villa Lagoon, Wilder Italian Style Home
2. Nasello Italian Style Home

Third course of blocks on the first floor (7th course total).

Notice the nice variations in color.

Welded aluminum shelf Aluminum support for air conditioner and generator

Grill looking thing: A welded aluminum support bracket to hold 3 AC Units plus a generator. The generator is for back-up for when we lose power. This is going to be wired to the refrigerators/freezers, AC for 3rd floor, and outlets for the great room/kitchen floor. Our primary TV will be on this floor too - football is BIG in Alabama !!

This aluminum shelf is the bracket was designed to be bolted to the DAC-ART blocks in the tower and has a support rod to mount to the house wall, so basically it will be in a corner.

Italian style decorative face concrete blocks Detail of Italian banding on concrete blocks

This row of blocks has a decorative band design that will go all around and add visual interest. It softens the severe look of the extreme height of this house, typically Italian.

Hurricane proof southern wall Hurricane proof home construction

This is the south wall, and the south-west view of this wall.... the direction any potential storm surge might come from. The blocks that stand out are 24 inches thick and weigh over 1000 lbs each --before they are backfilled with concrete in their cores. They are sitting on pilings that are 20 ft deep, capped by a 2 ft thick, 5 ft wide reinforced concrete piling cap.

Many houses down here use a totally different approach to lower walls, Many use what are called 'break-away' walls on the ground floor. This is a 'what else ya got, bring it on ' wall....if this wall goes, we all have big trouble. This wall is heavier that most condominium walls. The AC & generator support shelf will go on this corner of the house, just above where you see the green thing in the above right photo. We may try to build a DAC-ART chase wall to provide protection for the AC unit and the generator. It is not uncommon for hurricanes to blow away air conditioning units, generators, electrical boxes or anything left exposed. 

First floor of hurricane proof house

We keep a stack of PVC conduit around that is used to carry both electrical and plumbing thru the blocks. It is added as the blocks are stacked. Rebar comes in standard 20' lengths so 99% of the time when you are running rebar under a window you will be required to cut it off at the base of the window, and the PVC is intentionally run to the base of the window as well. Please note you do run rebar under a window in this type of construction, especially when the bottom of your window is within 20" of a change in floor levels. All rebar must be lapped regardless of where it is located.

Faux limestone blocks ready to be stacked.

Mike, who is in charge of block stacking now, referred to as a 'point man' by Ted Dial, likes to go ahead and place the blocks that he knows he will need for a course on the floor in advance. The floor will support the weight of the blocks according to Anil Badve , the structural engineer on this job. 

Photos by Jerry Nasello