At the Santos home, breakaway walls were installed between the piles, around the foundation's perimeter. These walls are attached to the piles in ways that allow the connectors and walls to be swept away during a flood without damaging the structure or the raised living space above it. Ranging in design from louvered wood panels to unreinforced hollow concrete blocks that can be veneered with stone or brick, breakaway walls give homeowners the option of utilizing the space underneath an elevated house to store their lawn furniture, kayaks, bikes, or car. "We will essentially have an aboveground basement," Carlos says, "with a lockable door to keep it private. But we won't be keeping anything irreplaceable there."
Shown: Airy panels between piles tie the area below this house into the rest of the architecture. They allow winds and floodwaters a moderate degree of penetration before failing.