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Memphis Commercial Appeal
follow-up story on our
DAC-ART Hurricane Proof Home

Cottage stands the test of Ivan the Terrible

By Christine Arpe Gang

October 2, 2004

Cordova residents Lundy and Harry Wilder have always been thrilled with the hurricane-resistant cottage they built two years ago at Gulf Shores, Ala.

But because it sustained little damage after Hurricane Ivan passed right over it, they are even more bullish on the house and the DAC-ART construction system they used to build it.

"It did great," Lundy said last week from Gulf Shores. "I'm tickled to death."

Their home on Little Lagoon, an inland waterway close to but not on the beach, was featured in The Commercial Appeal's Home & Garden section shortly after it was built.

As soon as she was able to check it out after Ivan's test, Lundy discovered about a half-inch of water on the floor but very little serious damage.

"The water came in through the dryer vent," she said.

Water markings on the exterior indicate the hurricane's high tide was several feet above the foundation of the house.

Lundy selected furniture with legs and casters, just in case water seeped into the house during a hurricane. All the furnishings survived without damage, she said.

The wind ripped a utility box off the outside of the house and some of the shutters covering windows facing the water blew away. But none of the Weather Shield windows broke.

One of the concrete steps leading up to the porch is slightly ajar, but long screws and hurricane trapping kept the roof in place.

DAC-ART is a method of construction featuring dry stacked concrete blocks. After three or four courses are laid, concrete is poured into the blocks. The blocks are finished so that no drywall is used in the interior.

The construction method was developed by architect Ted Dial, who is based in Mobile.

DAC stands for Dial Architectural Components.

Dial has built several DAC-ART homes in hurricane-prone areas, but the Wilder house is the only one that has been in the direct path of a hurricane.

"I couldn't be happier with how the house did," said Dial.

He is recessing windows more in his newer homes, so shutters can be more tightly secured.

The side porch and porch roof of the Wilder house were unscathed, but a storage shed, not built with the DAC-ART method, was blown away.

Pieces of other people's homes ended up on the Wilder property.

The docks of neighbors on each side were destroyed.

Lundy, an accomplished photographer and computer buff, has posted before and after photos of her house and neighboring properties at /DAC-ART/hurricane-ivan-1.html.

She also is working for the citizens of Gulf Shores in chronicling and posting photos of property in the area.

"There have been lots of photos of damaged property," Lundy said, "but people also want to know about undamaged buildings, too."

-- Christine Arpe Gang: 529-2368

Captions Below--text under photos:

When Hurricane Ivan passed directly over it, the Wilders' retreat sustained very little damage.

Lundy and Harry Wilder of Cordova built their Italianate home on an inland waterway in Gulf Shores, Ala., using dry stacked concrete blocks so it would be hurricane resistant.

The article included photos from the original story in the newspaper and our Hurricane Ivan web page--click here

The Original Story in the Commercial Appeal by Chris Arpe Gang ran about two years ago


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