Los Angeles Architect Abeer Sweis is Building Fireproof Homes in Response to Climate Change



Climate change is affecting the West, and tragic wildfires are a reality that we need to learn to deal with. Could fire-resistant homes be the solution?

California has been experiencing its most destructive wildfire season to date, and research predicts that the number of wildfires in the West will further increase as a consequence of environmental changes. LA-based architect Abeer Sweis of SweisKloss has been working on a possible solution: fire-resistant homes. In fact, a fireproof home that she designed for the Ojai Valley, one of California’s notorious fire zones, survived the area’s 2017 Thomas Fire. “Now we are working on a lot of homes in fire zones,” the architect explains, “the Ojai home was one of the first.”  

The home in Ojai is constructed from all non-combustible materials: burnished concrete blocks, a steel frame, and heavy timber.

The home in Ojai is constructed from all non-combustible materials: burnished concrete blocks, a steel frame, and heavy timber.

Photo: SweisKloss

The Ojai Home

Sweis designed the Ojai home in 2012, and its construction held challenges beyond building in a known fire zone—the siting was restricted, and the project is located on a hill surrounded by oak trees. Fire safety was a huge priority, and Sweis incorporated fire-resistant materials that are both functional and beautiful—burnished concrete blocks, fire-rated exposed timbers, tempered glass that withstands constant heat, and a metal roof. When a wildfire struck in 2017, the home that Sweis designed survived while its neighbors burned.

The 1100-square-foot home is located on a hill surrounded by oak trees.

The 1100-square-foot home is located on a hill surrounded by oak trees.

Photo: SweisKloss

Fire-rated exposed timber soffits and steel decks are additional non-combustible elements.

Fire-rated exposed timber soffits and steel decks are additional non-combustible elements.

Photo: SweisKloss

See the full story on Dwell.com: Los Angeles Architect Abeer Sweis Is Building Fireproof Homes in Response to Climate Change

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