Amphibious House

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The amphibious house is a building placed on the ground that, in case of flooding, lifts supported by the force of the water, floating and protecting the occupants.

Amphibious House
Arch. Carmen Granata
Arch. Carmen Granata

Floating house in case of flooding


Considering how often floods hit our country, the project described in this article could be an interesting starting point for our architects.

The English study Baca Architects has designed for a family in London a house that can rise up and float like a ship in its basin in case of flooding.
In fact, the clients had chosen to build their home island in the middle of the Thames, even knowing that it was a site subject to frequent flooding.

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The reason why it has come to this project is that man can not defeat nature, so the only way to defend themselves is to go along.

The house was also starred in an episode of the Channel 4's Grand Designs, broadcast in Italy from Laeffe.


What is an amphibious house?


The amphibious house, renamed by designers Formosa, is a building placed on the ground but, in case of flooding, its lightweight structure is raised in the basin, supported by the force of the water, floating and then protecting the contents and occupants.

From the structural point of view such a building brings together the knowledge of construction techniques with those of the shipyards, creating a secure building in the event of flooding.
Outwardly the floating part is not visible, and also the technology designed is designed to adapt to other sites. The project can be customized according to customer requirements.

casa amfibia

Thanks to the used technique we do not create problems to the static nature of the building and it was possible to build a house on three levels, for a total of 225 square meters and three bedrooms, instead of the 90 sqm and one level, existing previously.

casa amfibia The house also has high insulating performance and thus low power consumption and from the aesthetic point of view is integrated with the surrounding buildings, of which takes the forms.
In fact, being situated in an area subject to conservation, the designers had to comply with many restrictions, including that of typological, for which it was necessary to take the characteristics of the existing building.
Similarly, were respected all the dictates of municipal regulation in terms of heights and sizes.

The house is accessed via a flight of six steps leading to the first floor, where there are an open floor plan with living room, dining room and two bedrooms.
The master bedroom is in the loft and has a private bathroom and turkish bath.
Additional living space is in the basement, where there is also a cinema room.

The cost of construction is slightly higher than that of a house made with a conventional technology (about 20-25% more), but the system allows to build up in areas where otherwise it would be unthinkable.

How does the Amphibious House work?


The draft of the Amphibious House is based on Archimedes' principle: the mass and volume of the house is less than that of water, and what determines its buoyancy.

The secret of the house is hidden in its foundations: here we find a sort of basin where it is housed a real hull concrete anchored to 4 vertical axes that allow scrolling up, in case of flooding, bringing to a dry stage two floors of living space.

funzionalità casa amfibia

At the front of the house designers have created the so-called intuitive landscape, a series of terraces, which in case of flood, act as first obstacle and allow the inhabitants to notice the event in progress. Once these two terraces have filled the house starts to rise.

The lifting takes place thanks to a structure independent from that of the house, consists of flexible hoses capable of extending up to 3 meters.
The house is designed to rise to a level of two and a half meters.


Maintenance of the Amphibious House


The structure of the amphibious house only has few moving parts but requires maintenance periodically as all the houses and a series of tests as for cars or boats.

The house, in fact, can not float for several years, so it is important to test the floating parts and make sure the correct operation in case of flood.

For this reason every 5 years is necessary to perform a test, pumping water into the basin until the house is lifted of 50 cm and verify the integrity of the mechanism, then the water is slowly drained and the house can touch the ground again.

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