Smart Flood-Proof Home Designs by Architects
Located along the typhoon belt in the Pacific, the Philippines is no stranger to flooding. One of the worst cases was caused by Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, which brought in a month’s volume of water in just 12 hours and affected 993,227 families or 4,901,234 people, making it fourth on the list of worst natural disasters in the Philippines. Until effective flood management systems are set, these five flood-proof home designs might be the Filipinos’ best way to stay safe during massive floods.
Flood-Proof Home Designs That Could Work in the Philippines
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1. Larkfleet elevating house
Houses on stilts are not a new concept. Residents in areas prone to flooding or close to shorelines have been creating them in response to rising waters. The Larkfleet elevating house, though, have stilts that can be raised up to 1.5 meters above ground level through eight mechanical jacks.
The house will sit on a steel ring beam in place of conventional foundations. The mechanical jacking system—powered by a central motor, gear box, and drive shafts—could lift the 65-ton house to the full 1.5-meter height aboveground in less than 5 minutes. Rooftop solar panels and a battery would provide the house with some continuing electricity supply when raised above the ground, and the water and sewage would remain connected through flexible hoses.
Larkfleet says work on constructing the house began in 2018, with experiments in raising and lowering the house, including testing long-term maintenance and operation of the jacking system, will run 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 flood-proof home that seems simple on the outside, but its inner workings actually enable 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.
The FLOAT House can rise vertically on guide posts, securely floating up to 12 feet as water levels rise. In the event of a flood, the house’s chassis (made of polystyrene foam coated in glass fibre-reinforced concrete) acts as a raft, guided by steel masts, which are anchored to the ground by 2 concrete pile caps each with six 45-foot deep piles. Various other environmentally friendly features also have been incorporated into the design, such as solar power, rainwater collection, low-flow plumbing, and geothermal heating and cooling.
3. Project SmartHome
A concept by Philippine Realty TV and designed with architectural firm Buensalido + Architects, Project SmartHome is a flood-responsive home that aims to help protect those living in flood-prone areas of the country. Inspired by the local nipa hut, the house is lifted (as if on stilts) above the area’s flood level to free up the ground floor as an outdoor living space. Other spaces like the living and dining rooms—typically found in lower levels—were placed on the highest floor to save the major household appliances they hold from potential flood damage.
Another noteworthy element of Project SmartHome is the RAFTs or regenerative amphibious floating terraces, which are strategically integrated as a floating balcony and carport. The balcony detaches from the building and converts into an escape pod, allowing homeowners to row to safety should their houses be completely submerged. Meanwhile, the carport can keep vehicles above the water.
4. The Amphibious Container
The idea of reusing old shipping containers as dwellings is not a new concept, but an organization is taking it to new heights by turning them into emergency homes for countries that are often subject to typhoons and floods. The Green Container International Aid is an organization that is proposing the Amphibious Container, old shipping containers that have been refurbished as temporary housing during floods. This flood-proof home 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. The container serves as the living quarters and rests on a series of truck inner tubes that serve as the flotation device. If the home were to be inundated with water, it would rise up, thanks to the buoyancy of the inner tubes.
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 lack of housing for the homeless.
5. The Flood-Proof House
San Francisco-based design firm Studio Peek Ancona can withstand a storm surge or rising seas up to 12 feet high. The Flood-Proof House is a prefabricated metal unit set on a pair of concrete and steel columns. Red cedar panels along the exterior add insulative properties to the home and also act as a rain screen during severe weather.
In the event of a major flood, the garage on the ground floor has been constructed to break free from the foundation itself and float away. On top of it all, the stairways are also cleverly set perpendicular to the ocean, allowing crashing tides or rising waters to channel through rather than against them.
Watch the videos below