In case you haven’t heard by now, continued climate change means we’ll soon be living in a very wet world.
A few months ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released a report that said rising sea levels and increasingly severe weather will lead to a 45 percent increase in the areas of the U.S. at risk for floods by 2100. More recently, a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), found that “that sea level could rise by more than three feet by the end of the century if carbon emissions keep growing at a runaway pace,” bringing average global flood losses to $60 to $63 billion per year by 2050.
Since more Hurricane Sandys are almost definitely in our future, many designers are exploring “amphibious” design concepts for a world that’s partially underwater. The way we’ve built homes and office buildings for the past 100 years isn’t going to cut it. We need structures that can respond to quickly changing weather in a way that will save loves and reduce property damages.
In case you thought the words “amphibious” and “house” were mutually exclusive, we’ve rounded up five of the most promising of these flood-proof designs for your consideration:
1. Bamboo Floating House
Image: H&P Architects
Low-income families in developing countries have the most to lose from coastal flooding. For those in South East Asia, seasonal flooding is already a reality, creating unsafe, unsanitary conditions and destroying many homes in the process. This design, by H&P Architects, is made from low-cost bamboo and features oil drums in the base of each building. These drums provide buoyancy for the already light-weight material. “Each house is anchored to the ground with four steel rods, with the oil drums serving as the base that the house sits on. When the rains come, the house rises on its rods, stopping it [from] washing away,” reports Phaidon.
2. Winston Land-Locked Floating House
Image: Winston International
Not everyone lives in a bamboo house. That’s why Winston International has created the Landlocked Floating House. Using a system composed of telescoping piers set in concrete anchors, the system supports a catamaran floatation base attached to one, two or three story buildings. The system means that the house is capable of rising above any recorded flood, and will float back to its original position as the flood recedes.
3. House On The Water
As the name implies, this is a house designed to spend its life in the water. This self-sufficient 2 family home features a cantilevered design that includes an integrated floating dock (which rises and falls with tide levels), desalination water treatment system and technologies that harvest both tidal and solar energy. According to Forbes, and unlike others mentioned in the list so far, this house actually exists!
4. Floating Pre-Fab Neighborhood
In nations already familiar with the problems caused by flooding, such as the Netherlands, the concept of floating houses has been taken to the neighborhood level. “Using docks as sidewalks and the IJ Lake as a backyard,” this neighborhood of 75 dwellings “is a large-scale adaptive development,” reports Inhabitat. “Each house starts as a concrete tub which is then built up three stories with a metal frame… One to three homes are built in a single tub, with the lowest floor situated halfway below the water level.”
5. Pearl – Eco Open Seas Houseboat
Image: Orhan Cileli
If you’re starting to think that people living in houseboats might be a few years ahead of the game, you’re right. Traditional houseboats don’t have the ability to navigate the open sea, however. Inspired by the shape and buoyancy of a fishing bobber, The Pearl is designed to handle even sizeable waves. It also features a deck, greenhouse and solar and wave harvesting technologies.
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Lead image credit: Orhan Cileli