A house that stands on land, but can also float on water. Sounds like a figment of imagination? Well, the experts at London-based Baca Architects have turned this rather ingenious concept into reality, in the form of the new Amphibious House. Built for a couple residing on a tiny island right in the middle of River Thames, this innovative dwelling is capable of raising itself in its docked foundation, remaining afloat even on rising floodwater. What is more, construction works at the site have recently reached completion.
Located close to Marlow in Buckinghamshire, the Amphibious House was designed such that it can deal with changing water levels, without the need for any flood defenses. Although resembling a normal family home in appearance, the timber-lined structure was erected inside an empty “wet dock”, fashioned using steel sheet piles and featuring a mesh-like base that allows the river water to escape naturally. The dwelling’s foundation was constructed using waterproofed concrete that acts somewhat like the hull of a ship. Speaking about the project, Richard Coutts, the man who founded Baca Architects alongwith Robert Barker, said:
During the flood event the whole house will raise gently like a boat and will keep all of the habitable spaces safe above the flood level… The benefit of an ‘amphibious house’ is that it looks in all intents and purposes like a normal house. Rather than having a house that’s up in the air you get proper engagement with the garden.
In the event of a flood, the dwelling is lifted by a total height of around 2.5 meters, thanks to the water entering its dock-like foundation that in turn pushes the house up. The structure’s vertical mobility is enhanced by four guide posts, also called “dolphins”, that flank the building on all of its corners. Clad in zinc shingles, the floating residence features a glass-lined gable that overlooks a garden. Flexible pipes, extendingup to 3 meters, perform the task of plumbing, even when the house is elevated in its dock. The developers added:
With flooding becoming a regular occurrence in the UK and elsewhere isn’t it time we started to learn to live with it?… we need to be a bit more proactive in building in measures to cope with flooding if it does occur rather than hoping that the flood defenses will protect people.
To know more Baca Architects and its various projects, head over to the firm’s official website.