As water levels rise and floods occur there are few places to hide. Any large objects such as cars or houses in the floods path get drowned, and this can cause problems and serious property damage.
The British government’s Environment Agency is interested in looking at the idea of floating, or amphibious houses to try and avoid property damage during times of floods. The UK firm, Baca Architects, has just finished building the first of such homes on the banks of the River Thames, with the idea being, that as the river rises so does the house.
The concept of floating houses is not a new one. Variations on the theme already exist in Canada, Germany, the US, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. But the fact that the British government is taking an interest as well starts to suggest that countries are recognising the possibility of many more extreme weather events in the coming decades.
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The UK is looking to the Dutch for guidance and inspiration. Much of the Netherlands is below sea level, and as a result the Dutch have become world leaders in flood mitigation technology.
Several years ago the Dutch built some amphibious houses in Amsterdam to determine the potential for application across the rest of the country. Baca Architects have based their designs on these earlier concepts, and have built a house which floats above the river in times of flooding, yet is firmly secured in place by four posts driven deep into the ground, meaning that it can move vertically, but not laterally. The idea works very similarly to a floating pontoon.
If this technology takes off, could it lead to more widespread uses, such as floating energy infrastructure (power stations, substations, oil refineries, etc.)?
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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