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November 26, 2009 – 10:51 pm

Rising above the flood waters

- Posted in Architectural, Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

Ireland is renowned for green countryside with it’s ‘forty shades of green’. This is because we get a lot of precipitation. Whether it be a ‘soft day’ or ‘raining stair rods’, we get every type of rain.

The streets of Cork flooded (courtesy to Eric Dunne Magner)

The streets of Cork city centre flooded November 09 (picture courtesy Eric Dunne Magner)

However, November 2009 has been one of the wettest on record, with unprecedented rainfall levels which has resulted in swollen rivers bursting their banks flooding many homes, businesses and public buildings. Blame is being placed with government and local authorities for inadequate infrastructure and bad planning decisions. This may well be true but some of these problems could be historical or have been caused by unforeseen changes in our weather patterns.
We should look to others who have suffered similar disasters and learn how they have rebuilt their devastated communities. This could also be a time to look at new solutions to mitigate the impact of any future flooding.

One such solution could be to build homes that float upwards as the flood waters rise, in areas of high risk.
The destruction that followed in the wake of hurricane Katrina, in 2005, left many areas of America, including Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, virtually flattened from storm surges and flooding. New Orleans was particularly badly hit.  Architects from Morphosis have designed and built the first floating house permitted in the United States, for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation. The Make It Right Foundation was launched by the actor in December, 2007 to help residents of the Lower 9th Ward, in New Orleans, rebuild their lives and community in the wake of the hurricane.

Float House designed to rise above any flood waters

Float House designed to rise above any flood waters

The FLOAT House is a prototype model of prefabricated, affordable and sustainable housing, that can be adapted to the needs of flood zones worldwide. It is designed to float securely when water levels rise, on a chassis of expanded polystyrene foam coated in glass fibre reinforced concrete. This innovative base integrates all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sustainable systems and is designed to support a variety of house layouts.

Another solution could be to embrace the idea of living on water with measures that are aimed at controlling it. There is no better place to examine this than in the Netherlands, where 27% of its area and 60% of its population is located below sea level. House boats are a familiar sight around the canals of Amsterdam but many new homes are built on a base of  concrete encased in expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) also known as Styrofoam. This process is tried and trusted and many floating homes have been constructed using this technique.

The video below shows how expanded polystyrene foam is used to good effect, providing a buoyant and durable base for the floating homes in Maasbommell.

Polystyrene foam is keeping the homes of many people around the world above the water in everyday and extreme weather circumstances but, at this time, here in Ireland, it is more important to try to help and support the people affected by the flooding. This can be done by making a donation to the Irish Red Cross or to the St. Vincent de Paul to help keep their spirits higher than dreaded flood waters.

Post a Comment

4 Comments

  1. Grannymar

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I want a house like that!

  2. Fran

    Posted November 28, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your comment Grannymar.
    It looks like the perfect solution if you like being beside water but don’t want the worry of ever being flooded. The floating homes move with the water which could be unnerving if you weren’t used to it, but he sound of the water so close could be very relaxing.

  3. massimiliano

    Posted December 4, 2009 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    good job good blog thanks

  4. Fran

    Posted December 4, 2009 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Thanks Massimiliano.

One Trackback

  1. By Prefab Float House | kandaka on November 28, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    [...] “The FLOAT House is a prototype model of prefabricated, affordable and sustainable housing, that can be adapted to the needs of flood zones worldwide. It is designed to float securely when water levels rise, on a chassis of expanded polystyrene foam coated in glass fibre reinforced concrete. This innovative base integrates all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sustainable systems and is designed to support a variety of house layouts.”….<More> [...]