The earthquake home was conceptualized, and is today an artistic expression of, an architectural response to the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964. (see video)

Project Challenge

When the Great Alaska Earthquake—a magnitude 9.2, one of the largest ever recorded— churned Prince William Sound in 1964, devastation resulted in many surrounding Alaska towns. Anchorage sustained heavy property damage, and many homes were wrecked in ensuing landslides.

The earthquake home was conceptualized as an architectural response to the Great Alaska Earthquake, and today the home is an artistic expression of this formidable geologic event.

Architectural Solution

Imagine that pieces of the original 1964 houses survived the quake and ended up on the present-day home site, where the project team discovered them. Then imagine building a fresh, modern home around sections of the historic wreckage, filling in available spaces with contemporary architecture. That’s the idea behind designing a house that nearly memorializes, through its design, a piece of Alaskan seismic history. Although the concept is rooted in upheaval, the home’s steady, modern aesthetics dominate the design and present a cohesive twenty-first century appeal.

“I was always taught to take a concept and that’s your statement and everything you think about revolves around that statement,” said homeowner and developer Mark Pfeffer.

The home’s statement is ingrained in its modern architecture. JELD-WEN windows, 58 of which are unique corner units, feature prominently in the design and allow vigorous views of the landscape. Because of Alaska’s cold climate, thicker glazing of an inch or more is required which meant that the corner panes were joined with a black aluminum strip to make the corner angles virtually disappear.

JELD-WEN Custom Clad windows with Sage Brown exterior and Mahogany interior complement the home’s up-to-the-minute color palette. Narrow Reed and Obscure glass options allow for privacy where needed.

Most of the home’s corner windows point outward, but one corner window adjacent to a Custom Clad Wood Swing Patio Door is inverted, 90 degrees reversed from normal, so that the daylight opening lines up with the patio doors. It’s an atypical element, and one that JELD-WEN approached with gusto. JELD-WEN modified the patio door stock so that the units blend together seamlessly and the homeowner achieved the sought-after design.

Pfeffer gives Kudos to JELD-WEN for the determination the company showed in finding solutions. “I would give them an A+,” he says.

Product Details

  • Custom Clad-Wood Windows
  • Custom Clad-Wood Swinging Patio Doors

Project Team

  • Developer: Pfeffer Development
  • Architect: Koonce Pfeffer Bettis Architects
  • Dealer: Spenard Builders Supply