Perhaps the most famous image to come from the devastation of [Hurricane] Katrina is the iconic image of a single home standing strong and structurally intact, while literally nothing was left for blocks around except bare concrete foundations. The photo was taken by John Fleck, working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), flying over Pass Christian, Mississippi, just days after the disaster.
The home is an ICF home, owned by Scott Sundberg, and ICF enthusiast and professional engineer. “At the time the home was being built, it was just about the only ICF project in the region, and nobody knew much about them. Of course, now they’re a lot more common”. In addition to his engineering work. Sundberg works as an ICF designer and architect, and has designed replacement homes for several of his neighbours, including one just across the street. As for the famous house in the FEMA picture, it survived relatively well, and was able to be repaired. The Shingles, blown away by 150mph (241 Km/hour) winds, have been replaced, as have the windows, which were hit with a 20-foot wall of water.
The exterior was completed last summer, and the interior shortly after. Sundberg says the repair work took longer than expected due to lack of qualified contractors in the area, and he ended up doing much of the work himself. The family moved back in the home just over a year ago. “I really look forward to these ‘glamour shots’ replacing our worst hour”, he says. “Those FEMA pictures have made their way to Canada, England, and China”. “The real part of the story to be told is…the quality of the rebuilding effort”, he continues. “We have a chance tp fill our clean slate- there’s a swath of 99.9% destruction from Claremont Harbor to Pascagoula- with strong safe homes that deserve low insurance rates. It’s a ‘golden opportunity’ if we somehow succeed, and the death of the migration movement if we build poorly deigned, poorly built buildings that fail”.
From Article Published by ‘ICF Builder’ in the (August/ September 2009) edition, volume 5 number 4.
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