Bridgette Meinhold

Amphibious Houses Could Provide A Permanent Solution For Flooding In Thailand

by , 05/24/11


site-specific, prefab laboratory, amphibious house, floating house, flood-proof house, disaster-proof design

The government of Thailand asked the two architecture firms to work on a solution for the increasing problem of flooding in Thailand. In the past, most people in Thailand lived near the river in homes equipped to deal with the rise and fall of the water, but as people have expanded beyond the river, their homes are no longer appropriate for flooding. As such, Site Specific and Prefab Laboratory were tasked with creating a solution that could permanently solve the property damaging and at times, life threatening, issue. Their solution came in the form of floating buildings that can rise and fall with the water. The various buildings are situated within the community so that neighbors can help each other during the flood and everyday life can continue on.

Four different types of buildings were designed to accommodate most of the needs for the community, including a residential building and civic buildings. The building is constructed on top of a prefabricated steel floatation system located in a trench underneath the home and is kept in place by a slip-column system that lets the house travel up and down with the water. The floatation system is underground for two reasons. First, with it under the house, the floatation system is hidden and the home sits at the street level, making it more appropriate for modern Thai life. Second, as flooding begins, water first pools in the trench and the home begins to be buoyant before major flooding occurs.

Backup systems like rainwater collection, solar and wind power systems, and protected food storage areas allow each home to function even if city utilities fail. The new buildings would be arranged in mini-communities typically made out of 5-10 buildings, so families can assist each other during the flood until more help arrives. Ideally, as the buildings float, no property is lost or damaged and people can continue to live as normal, albeit traveling by boat rather than by foot.

+ Site-Specific

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3 Comments

  1. seahull November 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I have been building Flat deck barges and house boat bases and recently making moulds for rotaional moulding of boats, what i think is that its simple to make a flat potoon that is as little as 300mm thick and it will double as a floor and foundations, it will be able to be used to erect a house on to it and the inside of the pontoon can ebe usful for storage and flotation, this way can make use of any swamped or potentially flooding areas for homes,

  2. XenoSilvano May 28, 2011 at 9:11 am

    The word ‘amphibious’ gives me the impression that it goes underwater.

  3. ahinalu May 24, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    It seems it needs a way to get rid of the mud that will accumulate under the house during flooding as well as during normal rainfalls. Considering, every time I see it rain in the tropics, the water running down the streets is not clear, but good idea overall.

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