PLACE The Dome of a Home
1005 Ariola Dr
Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
Pensacola was sort of a surprise to me, It was more beautiful than I expected; with it’s white sand beaches, and more historically interesting; with it’s 19th century forts and beach resorts. However, while driving around, I was most taken with some of the architecture we discovered. Beach towns like this are often a mishmash of bungalows and cabanas and other poolside kinds of buildings, and more often than not they are up on stilts to deal with storm surges. Pensacola Beach has more than its share of these kinds of buildings, but it is also home to some pretty crazy experimental architecture.
The island is probably not more than 1000 feet wide at it’s narrowest. Since it is a barrier island and very low lying it tends to bear the brunt of hurricanes passing through the area. In 1995 it was struck by two hurricanes which did a fair amount of destruction to buildings on the island. As a response to all of this, Mark and Valerie Sigler built “The Dome of a Home”. It’s a 3 story curvy shell that looks like some kind of underwater alien architecture. It’s a striking building but most importantly, it works. Hurricane Ivan came along in 2004, and confident in the building’s engineering, Mark and a crew from MSNBC stuck it out through the storm. The island was completely covered in 6 feet of water from the storm surge, but the building survived, giving them all a glimpse of a hurricane that most people never live through.