Magnificent Metal Monday – Hurricane Resistant Steel Home

With the start of Hurricane season and the approaching Tropical Storm set to sweep across Florida this week, let’s look at the use of metal in building a hurricane resistant home. According to Architect Magazine, “When designers Holly Zickler and her husband, David Rifkind, a professor of architecture in Miami, FL, built their home in South Miami in 2011, the couple envisioned it as ‘a laboratory for socially and ecologically sustainable construction and planning in South Florida.’” They wanted a hurricane resistant house that was durable enough for the harsh Miami climate while staying different from the city’s traditional art deco style.

The couple partnered with EcoSteel, a company that has made a name for itself by partnering with high-end architects and developers to complete commercial and residential projects, each one with an original look and feel. Founded in 2004 and based in California, EcoSteel provides the world’s most advanced eco-friendly pre-engineered steel buildings for commercial, residential, and multi-family or mixed use projects. By using a combination of commercial-grade steel framing wrapped in steel insulated panels, their unique approach provides optimal strength, versatility, and energy efficiency while maintaining the ability to design freely without limits.

For the Miami “Tin Box” project, bolted steel connections easily met Miami Dade’s strict 140 mph wind loading code, while a treated steel exterior stands up to the ongoing humid climate. The home features an exposed interior structure as a design and engineering element, along with solar panels and a planted green roof. Summary of the design elements:

  • Bolted steel connections easily meet Miami Dade 140mph wind loading code
  • Solar panels incorporated into design
  • Planted green roof
  • Metallic exterior non-traditional to Miami neighborhood
  • Exposed interior steel structure to shave cost and as design choice

While building a “net-zero-energy” home was not their goal, the 2,725-square-foot, single-story contemporary home was built mostly of recycled materials, and features a 5-kilowatt photovoltaic system that meets about 75 percent of the structure’s energy demands. The steel frame and prefabricated exterior panels consume just one-seventh of the energy needed to fabricate and erect a conventional concrete-block home in the area. The panels and steel frame are also known for their durability and resistance to the termite infestation common to the area. The lower embodied energy of the steel comes in part from its high recycled content and accounts for approximately three-quarters of the structural steel and almost all of the light-gauge framing.

To view more of EcoSteel’s metal building homes, offices, and commercial buildings here, click HERE.

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