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Four home designs that protect against flooding by Jillian CariolaPublished: July 6, 2015Updated: July 16, 2015

See what measures people are taking to keep their families and properties protected from the destruction of floods.

With heavy rains frequently causing concern among Filipinos living in flood-prone areas of the country, moving to a higher location and far from bodies of water is often the solution. But what if the focus was trained on the design of your home?

Numerous groups all over the world have made it their mission to help homeowners avoid the troubles caused by excessive flooding. They do so by designing homes that adapt to this constant threat. From a town of spheres to houses that float, here are a few notable creations.

A concrete basin
In Venice, the waterways are constantly overflowing, causing water damage to the homes and establishments close to them. To remedy this, Italian architectural studio Act_Romegialli renovated an apartment in a canal-side street in the Cannaregio district to protect it from water. They reinforced the inside of the home with a concrete container surrounding the entire 40-square-meter property, in effect creating a basin higher than the original entrance. The designers called the project “St. Giobbe +160”, the number referring to the height of the concrete basin in centimeters.


Amphibious architecture
An amphibious structure is designed lessen the effects of flooding by allowing a structure to float, such as the UK’s first amphibious home created by UK firm BACA Architects. This flood-proof structure in particular is constructed in the banks of the River Thames, where flooding is a big issue. A dock is built right into the ground, where the amphibious home will rest during normal weather conditions. The home itself is designed to be watertight, and is tethered to the dock with guide posts to keep it in place. In the event of a flood that will make the river overflow, water will fill the sunken foundation to make the home float up to 2.7 meters off the dock.


Raised housing
Houses on stilts have been popular for years, particularly in areas that are constantly plagued by floods, but the Ekinoid Project takes the concept one step further. The Ekinoid Project is a series of prefabricated spherical homes that can withstand natural disasters while providing sustainable living for the masses. Each structure is raised on supports elevating it several feet above the ground to keep it safe from flooding. But on top of being a flood-free dwelling, it’s a truly green structure built with features like wind turbines and solar panels to provide off-grid energy, a water recycling system, and a spiral staircase that doubles as a hydroponic garden for growing edible plants.


In 2011, residents along the tributaries of the Mississippi River experienced heavy flooding that threatened to harm their families, homes, and crops. Their solution? Build dams surrounding not just their houses, but their entire land. In most cases, the dams—composed of sand and dirt—were built as high as their homes’ roofs to ensure that no water will be able to get in.


Bonus: Soft infrastructure
Not strictly made for individual homes, this proposal by U.S.-based sustainable architecture experts Architecture Research Office (ARO) is a large-scale project aimed at protecting New York City from extensive damage caused by flooding. Motivated by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans, ARO designed what they call “soft infrastructure” with a belief that instead of building walls around the city, it would be better to allow water in and out of lower Manhattan to minimize the impact of major flooding. Their proposal focuses on incorporating elements such as islands and marshes constructed along the city’s edges, porous pavement on the streets, and increased greenery in roads and buildings to absorb rainwater.



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