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Smart flood-proof home designs that could work in the Philippines

by Jillian CariolaPublished: May 8, 2017Updated: May 8, 2017

Until effective flood management programs are in place, these flood-resilient home architecture might be Filipinos’ best way to stay safe during massive floods.

Smart flood proof architecture home design for the Philippines MyProperty

Flooding, as unfortunate as it may sound, is a regular occurrence in various parts of the world and for various reasons. These days, one of the biggest concerns about the growing issue of climate change is the rising sea levels, which is said to be occurring at twice the average speed over the past 20 years. Others can be attributed to natural disasters, such as the 2013 North India floods that left over 5,700 people presumed dead.

Located along the typhoon belt in the Western Pacific, the Philippines is no stranger to flooding: one of the worst cases was caused by Typhoon Ondoy, which brought in a month’s volume of water in just nine hours and affected an estimated 4.9 million Metro Manila residents in 2009. Then, last year saw the failed bidding for the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project, a Php122.8-billion infrastructure that will help alleviate flooding in certain parts of Metro Manila. Its complexity and possible risks have prompted the government to review the proposal to attract bidders, and a timeline has yet to be set for its construction.

With effective flood management measures yet to be put in place in many areas of the country, other than making your home as flood-ready as possible, smart residential architecture is looking to be a more viable option for home-owners who wish to keep their families, properties, and possessions as safe from rising waters as possible. Here are five home designs that might stand a chance against the sudden rise in waters in a flood-prone country.

 

1. Larkfleet elevating house

Houses on stilts are not a new concept; residents of places that are prone to flooding or close to shorelines have been creating them in response to rising waters in their immediate surroundings. What makes the elevating house made by the Larkfleet Group of Companies, though, is that it is not permanently raised on stilts; instead, it will be raised by mechanical jacks.

Smart flood proof architecture home design for the Philippines MyProperty Larkfleet elevating houseSmart flood proof architecture home design for the Philippines MyProperty Larkfleet elevating house
Elevating house. Photos from larkfleetgroup.co.uk

The house itself will be composed of three bedrooms and weigh about 65,000 kilograms, and will sit on a steel ring beam. Eight jacks will lift the home up a full 1.5 meters above ground in less than five minutes. While electricity will be severed upon lifting, power will be supplied via rooftop solar panels and a battery. On the other hand, water and sewage connections will remain with the use of flexible hoses.

If successful, Larkfleet said this house can be a model for homes to be built in areas in the UK that are prone to flooding. For now, the company has only applied for permission to build, but construction could begin this year with testing taking place for up to five years.

 

2. FLOAT House

Morphosis, the company behind FLOAT House, envisions the construction as “a new approach to mass-producing low-cost homes that respond to local culture and climate.” FLOAT House is a dwelling that seems simple on the outside, but its inner workings actually enables it to survive floods. FLOAT House, which is built in—and specifically designed for residents of—New Orleans, can withstand floodwaters that might be caused by a storm similar to Hurricane Katrina, a natural disaster that devastated the Louisiana city in 2005 and left 80% of its area flooded.

Smart flood proof architecture home design for the Philippines MyProperty FLOAT House
FLOAT House. Photo from morphosis.com

Anchored to the ground are guide posts that keep FLOAT in place as its chassis helps keep the home afloat up to 12 feet as water levels rise. And in order to make it even more sustainable, various other environmentally friendly features have been incorporated into the design, such as solar power, rainwater collection, low-flow plumbing, and the use of prefabricated materials.

 

3. Project: Smart Home

A concept by Philippine Realty TV and designed with architectural firm Buensalido + Architects, Project: Smart Home is a flood-responsive home that aims to help protect the homes of those living in flood-prone areas of the country. As a flood-responsive dwelling, it offers solutions to various troubles caused by flooding, including vehicle submersion, lack of provisions, and evacuation.

Project: Smart Home borrows from the concept from the traditional bahay kubo in that these smart homes are designed to start from the second floor up. Constructed as a three-storey townhome, it starts at the bottom with a space for cars, a covered area for gatherings or storage, a pocket garden, and stairs leading up to the second floor. The carport is designed to float with the rising water to keep vehicles from being submerged.

Smart flood proof architecture home design for the Philippines MyProperty Project Smart Home
Project: Smart Home. Photo from Philippine Realty TV

On the second floor are the bedrooms, an unusual layout but one with rationale. As waters rise, first to go under water is the ground floor, which is normally where the kitchen would be. By relocating the kitchen to the topmost floor, which is less likely to be reached by flood water, families waiting on the upper floor or the roof will continue to have access to food and water until help arrives.

Another noteworthy element of Project: Smart Home is the Regenerative Amphibious Floating Terrace (RAFT). Connected at the home’s second level, RAFT is a floating balcony that can be detached from the house and used as a flotation device enabling families to move to higher ground.

 

4. Amphibious container

The idea of reusing old shipping containers as dwellings is not a new concept; in fact, they are not just used by some as permanent residences, but as transient lodging by businesses such as resorts and dormitories. But an organization is taking it further by turning them into emergency homes for countries that are often subject to typhoons and floods.

The Green Container International Aid, much as its name suggests, is an organization that is proposing the Amphibious Container, old shipping containers that have been refurbished as temporary housing during floods. The design makes use of recycled materials like used shipping containers, shipping pallets, inner tubes, and scraps to create a structure that floats in place as flood waters rise.

Smart flood proof architecture home design for the Philippines MyProperty Amphibious Container
Amphibious Container. Photo from green-container-intl-aid.com

According to the project’s American architect Richard Moreta, containers are structural shells, making them ideal for withstanding earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. The design is currently in use in Pakistan as a solution to the country’s problem in lack of housing for the homeless.

 

5. The Barier

On the outside, they look like soccer balls, but these round homes can float, withstand earthquakes, and come in various sizes to accommodate individuals or families. Dubbed The Barier, this Japanese invention is a 32-sided structure made with waterproof urethane material said to be used for the Tokyo Dome. During floods, the watertight home floats and can act as a rescue ship. The Barier is said to distribute force, making it earthquake-proof as well. Also, its structural strength allows it to be buried underground, much like a basement.

 


The Barier studio unit. Photos from g-wood.jp

Sizes vary, from a 30-tatami-mat (about 50 sqm) Barier with a separate kid’s room as well as a karaoke room, to a single room the size of a private office, and even ones small enough for dogs. The shape also allows each structure to be connected to one another in various configurations. The manufacturer, World Window, also boasts The Barier’s fully customizable design, saying that each structure can be constructed with various themes, windows can be installed wherever the owner wishes, and colors will be based on the buyer’s taste.

 

For more examples of flood-resilient architecture, click here.

 

Sources: nationalgeographic.com, cbsnews.com, rappler.com, bworldonline.com, inhabitat.com, realliving.com.ph, citihub.com.ph, green-container-intl-aid.com, g-wood.jp/en, morphosis.com, larkfleetgroup.co.uk

Main photo via Depositphotos.com

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