Flooding has gotten worse in recent years, and, if the trend continues, new and improved architecture solutions will soon be needed for homes in flood-prone areas. Baca Architects are in the process of designing a unique home, called Formosa and dubbed the “amphibious house,” which is capable of floating on floodwater before being placed back down once the water recedes.
Formosa house is located only 33 feet from the Thames River in Buckinghamshire, UK, in an area that has a high risk of flooding. This area is also designated as a functional floodplain, meaning that water must be allowed to flow or be stored here at times of flooding. This presented a double challenge to the architects, since they had to design a home that is both flood-proof and also able to allow for the flow or storage of water in the area.
Formosa is designed to rise by up to 8.2 feet in the event of a flood, which, according to the architects, is well above the current and future predicted levels. In fact, such levels are only expected in the area in the event of a 100-year flood.
To build this flood-proof home, the architects designed Formosa house so that it is set into a wet dock with retaining walls and a base slab. There are four vertical posts, called “dolphins,” which are able to guide the house upwards in a stable manner when the water starts to rise. The home rests on a concrete base reinforced with ballast to make it more stable. They installed flexible pipes inside the house in the hopes that all will remain operational both during and after any flood. In short, Formosa house is capable of floating on the water while the inhabitants wait for the floodwater to recede. The home is also well insulated, and equipped with a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery System.
According to the architects, this type of construction could be extended for use on a much larger scale, perhaps even for designing floating villages and towns. Formosa house will be completed soon, at which time the design will finally be put to a real life test.