Sand Palace stands up to Hurricane Michael, setting the standard for future homes

Image © Johnny Milano
Many buildings based on older and less stringent building codes were completely demolished. Image © Johnny Milano
Mexico Beach was a scene of devastation. Image © Bill Fauth, Mexico Beach, FL, USA

YouTube and other online video sharing sites are awash with personal movies filmed during freak weather events. But as a casual observer, it is remarkably easy to divorce yourself from what is going on, due to it happening six months previously or being thousands of miles away.

But now imagine what it is like to watch footage from an outdoor security camera broadcasting a Category 5 hurricane that is trying its very best to level your own house − one you have been working on for years. And due to your current location and the ferocity of the storm there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

This is exactly what happened to Dr Lebron Lackey, a US-based radiologist, who watched with obvious alarm, from 400 miles away, as Hurricane Michael made landfall very close to Sand Palace of Mexico Beach, the house he co-owns with his uncle Russell King, an attorney.

Hurricane Michael was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the mainland United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, causing an estimated $25.1 billion in damages, including civilian, military and government structures and infrastructure in a number of countries around the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Mexico Beach was a scene of devastation. Many buildings based on older and less stringent building codes were completely demolished. But in the middle of this disaster area, still standing and showing a remarkable lack of damage stood Sand Palace. Its survival testament to Dr Lackey and his uncle’s diligence in ruggedizing the design of the structure, and the deployment of advanced building concepts and materials, including Trosifol® PVB and SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayers from Kuraray in the home’s windows and doors.

“My uncle is an attorney and I am a radiologist, neither of us has an engineering background. This is the first home that either of us has built,” Dr Lackey explains. With regards to the inspiration behind the robust design of the property, he continues: “Depending upon the piece of the home that we might talk about, our source was a combination of personal experience and diligent study. For example, Russell had travelled quite a bit to Costa Rica and encountered multiple occurrences of concrete wall construction, albeit with varying methods and finishes. As a result, he was convinced we should build with concrete. We studied these methods and concluded that Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) was the preferred solution. We went through similar thought processes, whether it was something as seemingly insignificant as the width of the eave or the hardware used to secure the siding.


  • Hurricane/Tornado/Typhoon Protective Glazing
  • Facades & Curtain Walls


  • USA + Canada


  • SentryGlas®
  • Trosifol® Clear


  • Cardinal Glass

Glazing Contractor

  • Custom Window Systems

Building Owner

  • Dr Lebron Lackey & Russell King

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