The UK’s First Amphibious House
The UK’s first amphibious house is now complete, forming a family home in the middle of the River Thames, located near Marlow in Buckinghamshire. The innovative new design has the unique ability to float on rising water – much like a ship in the dock – as an alternative way of combating the flood risks in the island. The house works by rising gently during the event of a flood, keeping all habitable spaces above the water level.
The house was constructed by Baca Architects, whose work on waterways with the UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs – named the LifE (Long-term Initiatives for Flood-risk environments) Project – approaches flooding by making space for excess water, rather than focusing on defences. This exciting new project allows the home to remain in keeping with its neighbours by avoiding an elevated structure, instead blending smoothly into its surroundings, with the amphibious features coming into play only in the event of a flood.
The ‘dock’ feature is formed from a reinforced concrete hull, with a lightweight timber-framed structure forming the house itself. The house attached to four posts that allow it to slide up and down the dock when it needs to move, with the lightweight materials that the house is made from allowing it enough buoyancy to float in rising water levels that weigh more in mass and volume than the house itself.
The landscape has also been designed with the risk of flooding in mind, with a terraced area that will act as a warning system of rising waters for the occupants, with the house starting to rise after the first two terraces fill with water.
The house has an estimated value of £1.5million, and will cost approximately 20% more than a conventionally built home of the same size in that area. However, Baca Architects note that the savings on insurance costs as a result of the unique design will be significant.
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