Hunkering Down Never Looked So Good
"Beachtown, planned by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company and employing architects who participated in the Mississippi Renewal Forum, withstood a bull's-eye hit from the winds and nearly 20-foot storm surge of Hurricane Ike in early September. By all accounts, the engineering performed brilliantly and the living spaces survived with barely any damage - while neighborhoods not far away suffered near-total destruction.
Only about 20 houses are occupied or under construction in Beachtown, so the quality of the urbanism has yet to be fully proven. However, developer Tofigh Shirazi and the architects are using ideas that enhance the human scale of buildings that are raised and fortified to survive a massive flood.
Beachtown has been the subject of positive local news coverage, with reporters using words like 'amazing' and 'a contrast to all of the devastation.' Over shots of destroyed neighborhoods and the strikingly different intact buildings at Beachtown, TV reporter Deborah Wrigley intoned: 'On the Bolivar Peninsula the devastation is near complete ... . Yet across the channel on the eastern point of Galveston Island is a stunning example of engineering against disaster. There's the old saying, they don't build 'em like they used to. Here [at Beachtown], homes are built better...'"