amphibious-house-3 Photos: Baca Architects

How does a riverfront house contend with rapidly rising water levels? By floating, of course.

Built on a small island in England’s River Thames, the three-story Amphibious House by Baca Architects sits on a floating concrete hull. In a flood, the house — made from lightweight timber — will rise up with its dock, which is held in place by guideposts on each side.

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“The house can rise up to 2.7 meters [8.9 feet] to cope with a 1 in 100 flood event,” the architects explain. “The guide posts extend almost four meters [13 feet] above the ground level such that in the event of an even bigger flood the house would still be retained between the posts.”

Fast Company reports the amphibious design is about 25 per cent more expensive than building a house with a normal foundation, but the architects argue it’s a reasonable solution for not only individual homes, but entire communities:

“Amphibious construction to date has only been used in small buildings, but it has the potential to overcome flood risk on a much larger scale by creating whole floating platforms, or even floating villages and towns,” says Deans. “This could provide a cost effective solution to regenerating or preserving important sites where relocating residents and communities would have dire social and economic consequences.”

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Watch Richard Coutts of Baca Architects explain the concept on UK’s Culture show.

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