A British design team has created an amphibious house that floats during times of flooding.
Baca Architects, specialists in waterfront architecture and flood-resilient aquatecture, have almost completed a home on the River Thames for a private client that is designed to rise with the water level and become buoyant.
It’s one of only a handful of amphibious homes around the world, according to Baca Architects.
The unique 2,400-square-foot home is located on an island just 33 feet from the stretch of the River Thames that passes through the town of Marlow in Buckinghamshire, which is a designated a Flood Zone 3B and Conservation Area.
Flood conditions here are probable, so it’s the perfect location for this amphibious home.
The way it works is that when the river levels rise, so do the island’s ground water levels. The light-weight timber home was built so that underneath the home is a concrete “dock” that fills gradually from the ground and gently raises the building with the water levels.
The home can float over 9 feet high on its own, well above the predicted flood levels and projected flood levels in the area.
But the home can’t just float away — there are specially designed guide posts or “dolphins” that extend 13 feet above the ground level so that the home is secured in the event of an even bigger flood.
The design team at Baca Architects does point out that because the house may not need to float for several years, it’s important for the owners to proactively test and maintain the base and lofting system.
Every five years, the dock will be pumped full of water to raise the house roughly 20 inches for a flotation test. The water will then be slowly released and the building can touch down again.
Apart from its ability to float, the house is modern, highly insulated, and water and energy saving. It has large windows that look out on the Thames, as well as a garden that acts as an early warning flood system with terraces at different levels to alert the occupants if the water is reaching a threatening level.
The amphibious house will be finished this November for its new owners, according to the Baca Architects team. Visit the website to learn more about the project.
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