About Us

The mission of the Buoyant Foundation Project (BFP), when originally founded in 2006, was to support the recovery of New Orleans’ unique and endangered traditional cultures by providing a strategy for the safe and sustainable restoration of historic housing.  Retrofitting the city’s traditional elevated wooden shotgun houses with buoyant (amphibious) foundations could prevent not only devastating flood damage, but also the destruction of neighborhood character that results from permanent static elevation high above the ground.  Buoyant foundations can provide increased safety and resilience in cases of extreme flooding, as well as support the recovery of both physical and social structures.  The mission of the BFP and its amphibious retrofit strategy have, since 2006, broadened to apply not only to post-Katrina New Orleans but also to numerous other flood-sensitive locations around the world.  The Buoyant Foundation Project is a registered non-profit organization in the State of Louisiana. The team consists of students, professors, and alumni of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.


Our Team

Elizabeth C English, PhD

Elizabeth C English. Ph.D. is currently Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge, Ontario. She was formerly Associate Professor – Research at the LSU Hurricane Center and has held Assistant and/or Visiting Professorships at Tulane University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan and Rhode Island School of Design. She holds an AB in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University, an MS in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MS and PhD in Architectural Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of research include the study of wind loads on tall buildings, the aerodynamics of wind-borne debris, strategies for the mitigation of hurricane damage to buildings, and the origins of early 20th-c. Russian avant-garde architectural theory in 19th-c. mystical-religious slavophile philosophy. When not in Canada she resides in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, where she continues her research on hurricane damage mitigation strategies with particular application to post-Katrina New Orleans. In Louisiana she is an active participant in the culture of SW Louisiana zydeco music and dance.

Scott Turner

Scott Turner holds a Master of Architecture degree with a specialization in the Collaborative Water Program from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. His research interests include water issues such as drought, flooding, water quality and uneven resource access, and their relationship to public space and the built environment in Los Angeles, California and the Great Lakes region. He is a research associate with the Buoyant Foundation Project on the design of amphibious foundation systems for vulnerable low- income communities throughout the world.

Natasha Klink

Natasha Klink is studying architecture at the University of Waterloo. She has a keen interest in disaster resilience and capacity building through design. Natasha has been an active member of Dr. Elizabeth English’s research group on Amphibious Architecture since Sept. 2015, and has developed an interest in how architecture can affect change in public policy, and vice versa. In the future, she hopes to play a role in codifying amphibious architecture and bringing it forward as a flood mitigation solution in Canada and beyond.

Denise Davis-Gains

Denise has a BA with majors in Philosophy, Fashion, Religion & Culture, and MA work In Religion & Culture. She teaches in the health sciences area at Conestoga College, taught for 16 years at Wilfrid Laurier University and is the Director of Atlas Studio, a local community based yoga centre.  Her diverse background in event planning and management coupled with a deep concern, respect and understanding of the First Peoples issues informs her work. Denise has become a champion of amphibious architecture as a local and international solution to retain social/cultural currency in communities at risk of flooding.