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Amid increasingly intense hurricanes and other weather events, real estate owners are trying to get ahead of the curve by constructing new homes that can handle extremes.
Some of the latest examples in high-end real estate include disaster-prepared and energy efficient properties — but ones that don't mean retreating underground or building a bunker into a mountain. Take for instance a contemporary mansion in a tony Miami suburb that's listed by ONE Sotheby's Realty for $5.85 million.
Built this year, Casa Moderna (or Modern House) provides all the luxury expected of an estate in a high-end market. Still, the spec home also has disaster-ready features likely to be useful given its direct proximity to southern Florida's east coast. It's hurricane-proof and bulletproof and can endure a fire for up to four hours. Here's a look inside the pricey home.
The secret to Casa Moderna's endurance, and its energy efficiency, is in walls made of insulated concrete forms (ICF), hollow shells of expanded polystyrene foam insulation that are set into place like building blocks. They are then reinforced with steel rebar and filled with concrete to create the building's envelope. Nudura, a maker of ICF systems, claims the structures have wind resistance of up to 250 mph, making it possible to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, which has sustained winds over 157 mph.
With more than 15,000 square feet of living space, seven bedrooms, and 7.5 bathrooms, Casa Moderna can play host to extended family, friends and assorted acquaintances if disaster or extreme weather loom. With double height ceilings, the house is airy and bright but has fewer vulnerable windows overall than typical contemporary mansions.
The naturally lighted dining area is part of a $200,000 storm-proof kitchen, where the NanaWall-branded windows are constructed from glass that's resistant to wind and rain. The kitchen is designed by Dada, a premier name in Italian kitchens since the 1970s, and the appliances are Wolf and SubZero. Other Italian-designed features of the estate include an $80,000 Molteni & C closet in the master suite.
Like the main house, the freestanding guest cottage features a Dada kitchen — but this one is designed by Armani. Pictured in front of the guest house is the summer kitchen, with custom in-ground seating.
Casa Moderna can host a sizable hurricane party. The granite driveway and motor court can accommodate 50 cars, and the garage shelters four cars.
A walk-in wine cellar can double as a shelter during a bad storm, or other unthinkable disasters.