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.

Barbara Myltschenko

Barbara Myltschenko joined the Buoyant Foundation Project team in May 2017 and currently serves as Project Manager responsible for managing human talent, ongoing projects, and research partnerships. Barbara has spent the last 15 years working in several regional and national non-profit organizations. Barbara brings to the job a passion for convening diverse groups of people from the public and private sectors to expand the capacity of the project she’s working on to deliver better service and value.

Teresa Tran

Teresa is currently a graduate student enrolled in the Water Collaborative Program at the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture. Her focus has been on design projects linked and integrated with existing and proposed infrastructural systems such as water collection and filtration, stormwater management, and sewage treatment. She has also been involved in transit-related projects in Canada and the Netherlands, ranging from underground stations, highways, and bridges. Recently she has also worked in Vietnam on affordable residential projects, using vernacular typologies and materials to achieve modern and sustainable designs. At the moment, she is working on a design thesis exploring modern versus traditional sanitary standards and wastewater management systems within rural villages in Vietnam

Jason McMillan

Jason is a graduate student at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, and a researcher for Buoyant Foundation Project. His academic work and research is focused around architecture’s confrontation with the remote, considering the relationships of human occupation and landscape, as well as the role of the remote in a wider, global context. His previous work has included remaining the role of the commercial fishery typology in the semi-remote outport towns of Newfoundland, using existing buildings as physical and cultural infrastructure to re-vitalize communities. His current research focuses on the impacts of climate change across the Northwest Passage on the remote indigenous communities that are spread across the Arctic Archipelago. For the Buoyant Foundation Project, Jason’s work has been focused on the effects of flooding on First Nations communities in Manitoba, and the application of amphibious retrofits in these places.

Rebecca Zarins

Rebecca is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. She is particularly interested in how technological innovation can be combined practically with architectural design and construction methods to create effective solutions that improve the lives of others. She is currently exploring computational design and is involved in design and marketing for a student design team developing a personal flying device. Rebecca’s work with the Buoyant Foundation Project has been focused on developing a prototype for amphibious housing solutions in flood-prone Canadian Indigenous communities.