Buoyant Foundation Project

The Buoyant Foundation Project provides low-impact flood mitigation strategies for at-risk buildings. Our mission is to empower vulnerable communities through sustainable, and non invasive design.

What is Amphibious Architecture?

Amphibious architecture is a sustainable flood mitigation strategy that allows an ordinary structure to float on the surface of rising floodwater rather than succumb to inundation.  The Buoyant Foundation Project researches amphibious foundation retrofits to create resilience within vulnerable communities.

What is a Buoyant Foundation?

A buoyant foundation is a type of amphibious foundation in which an existing structure is retrofitted to allow it to float as high as neccessary during floods while remaining on the ground in normal conditions. The system consists of three basic elements:  buoyancy blocks underneath the house that provide flotation, vertical guideposts that prevent the house from going anywhere except straight up and down, and a structural sub-frame that ties everything together. Utility lines have either self-sealing ‘breakaway’ connections or long, coiled ‘umbilical’ lines.  Any house that can be elevated can be made amphibious.

Second International Conference on Amphibious Architecture, Design, and Engineering

The Buoyant Foundation Project sponsored and organized ICAADE 2017, at the University of Waterloo.

First International Conference on Amphibious Architecture, Design, and Engineering

ICAADE 2015 was held in Bangkok, Thailand from August 26-29, 2015. Visit our archive to see more information about ICAADE 2015

Floating Hope

2014
The native American Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Band of Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, is rapidly losing their low-lying traditional homeland as sea level rises and land subsides due to extensive sub-surface oil and gas extraction. Cultural ties to the land and a lack of resources to relocate as a community leave the remaining band members vulnerable to an ever-growing risk of flooding.

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Casa Anfibia

2014
Nicaragua is undergoing multiple crises, both social and environmental. Low-income communities in flood-hazard areas of Tipitapa, Nicaragua are threatened by repetitive flood cycles. Attempts have been made by the government to relocate evacuees from vulnerable areas, but they persist in returning to their place of origin despite the risk. Our solution implements flood-resilient housing using the approach of amphibious construction, allowing them to live there safely without the economic disadvantage of repetitive rebuilding.

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'Phibious Farnsworth

2014
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 1951 Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, one of the most famous examples of modernist domestic architectecture, is an aesthetic orchestra of simplicity, transparency, and integration with its unique landscape. Despite being originally designed in accordance with the projected 100-year flood depth, in recent years the Farnsworth House increasingly suffered from floodwater damage from the adjacent Fox River. It is in dire need of a flood-proofing solution that does not lessen its iconic appearance in any way.

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The Buoyant Foundation Project

2010
Amphibious construction is an adaptive flood risk reduction strategy that works in synchrony with natural cycles of flooding to reduce the hazard vulnerability of flood-prone regions and increase their long-term disaster resilience.

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