As Hurricane Harvey demonstrated in 2017, huge swaths of the U.S. are increasingly prone to severe storms that knock out power and flood hundreds of thousands of homes. Architects have taken note, creating new types of floating and amphibious homes worldwide. Here are some of their protective features.
One of the ways to safeguard a house from floods is to move it up and out of the way. Dutch architect Koen Olthuis has designed floating homes in the Netherlands, Dubai, and China that can rise in order to dodge an encroaching deluge. Some of these houses rest on hydraulic systems that can lift them up to 40 feet above stormy waters and remain stable even in winds up to 156 miles per hour. WATERPROOF UTILITIES
An amphibious home on an island in the River Thames, built by U.K.-based Baca Architects, features terraced gardens that act as an early-warning system. If they flood, the owners know that the house is about to be threatened by water. When it rises up off its foundation, all of its utilities remain connected through elephant cabling—a flexible casing that carries electricity, water, and sewage. EFFICIENT SYSTEMS
Hurricane Katrina proved the importance of building for extreme conditions around New Orleans. The FLOAT House, designed by Morphosis Architects, can provide its own water and power. The specifically sloped roof funnels rainwater into cisterns, where a filtration system renders it drinkable. A geothermal heat pump cycles air to warm or cool the indoors with Earth’s
45- to-75-degree subsurface temps.