A floating building? Could be the answer to our flooding woes

“Amphibious houses float by the same simple physics principles that float the rubber duckie in your bathtub,” she says. The buildings work passively, and they include a vertical guidance system so that the houses don’t simply float away.

February 13, 2019 — Web

Amphibious homes could cut flood risk

Canada could become the first country in the world to have a building code for amphibious construction.

November 18, 2019 — Print

A new way to make insurance for high-risk homes in flood plains affordable

Amphibious architecture could be the key to mitigating flood risk and making insurance affordable for those living and working in floodplains.

November 14, 2019 — Web

Expo 2020 Dubai's Global Best Practice Programme

Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Programme sought out projects that have provided tangible solutions to global challenges. We are excited to announce that our Vietnamese amphibious retrofits will be among the 25 development projects showcased at the Expo!

September 26, 2019 — Web

CTV News Kitchener Feature

Featured on the news in Kitchener, Ontario, Elizabeth English and two students discuss their recent efforts constructing a pavilion located at Waterloo University.

July 15, 2019 — Web

‘We Cannot Save Everything’: A Historic Neighborhood Confronts Rising Seas

Colonial-era homes line the streets of The Point in Newport, R.I. Climate change is forcing experts to reimagine the future of historic preservation here.

July 8, 2019 — Print

When Houses Float Instead of Flood

In light of another record year of flooding in Ontario, Dr. Elizabeth English joins Nam Kiwanuka on The Agenda with Steve Palkin to discuss her work providing homes that will float instead of flood.

May 27, 2019 — Web

NRC invests in floating homes research as part of flood mitigation strategy

Imagine a flood without sandbags, berms, pumps or panic — one that did little or no damage to waterfront homes.

June 18, 2019 — Print

New technology could protect homes from flooding by making it float

Imagine your entire house raising and lowering with the water.

May 3, 2019 — TV

How floating homes could guard against floodwater damage

‘Humankind does the accommodation rather than trying to push the water around,’ architect says

April 26, 2019 — Radio

The amphibious homes that work with water to stay afloat in floods

One solution being trialled in the Mekong delta in Vietnam is the development of amphibious homes. These float on water when the floods come but settle back onto dry land when the waters recede.

September 4th, 2018 — Print

A Floating House to Resist the Floods of Climate Change

As major storms become more common, could amphibious architecture keep at-risk neighborhoods intact?

Last June, not long after a catastrophic thunderstorm swept through southern Ontario, bringing a month’s worth of rain in just a few hours, a group of seventy-five architects, engineers, and policymakers from sixteen countries gathered in the city of Waterloo to discuss how humanity will cope with its waterlogged future.

January 3, 2018 — Print

Sink or Swim

An emerging technology poses an intriguing solution to rising tides: homes that float only when it floods.

May/June 2017

How floating architecture could help save cities from rising seas

Raftlike homes and buoyant buildings may be a fix for rising sea levels.

April 9, 2018

What Can Cities Do to Go “Blue”?

In a number of projects and proposals, architects and urban planners are working with water instead of against it.

October 2, 2017

Houses That Float Are What India Needs To Tackle Floods

In light of these limitations in relief efforts, environmentalist Nitya Jacob posed a pertinent point- “It is high time we transit quickly to a preparedness-centric approach. But in reality, this is not the case, and we continue to be in the relief-centric mode.”

But how do you prepare for floods? By building floating houses? Precisely.

Floating houses, or more appropriately termed “amphibious architecture”, allows an otherwise ordinary structure to float on the surface of floodwater even as it rises.

January 20, 2018

Amphibious architecture is presented as an option for residents' homes

Amphibious architecture was the topic of discussion at a presentation made to Wharton County residents and representatives in charge of disaster recovery on Sunday. Representatives from the community, Wharton County Recovery Team, Mary Louise Dobson Foundation, Gulf Coast Medical Foundation, Just Do It Now, the city of Wharton and CGI met to hear about amphibious architecture and how it could save the city from flooding.

December 6, 2017

Floating a New Approach to Cope with Floods

Floods mean havoc for millions of people every year. With climate change bringing more extreme storms and rising seas, the danger of flooding is sure to increase in coming years, putting millions of lives and billions of dollars of property at risk.

June 23, 2017

A Local Solution to a Global Flooding Problem

The Grand River rushes past Elizabeth English’s office in an old silk factory in downtown Cambridge, only weeks away from spring thaw. But while some may just see a waterway, she sees a laboratory.

February 14, 2017

Amphibious Architecture in Hampton Roads?

Exploring floating foundation, and other emergent technology at sea level rise Adaptation Forum

October 2016

Amphibious Housing Featured on Toronto Weather Network

A weather network segment on the benefits of amphibious architecture, and applications of buoyant foundations.

Homes Designed to Float on Water could be the way of the Future

Flooding is almost a yearly occurrence in parts of Canada. The northern Ontario communities of Fort Albany and Kashechewan have been dealing with seasonal floods for years. They disrupt daily life, and threaten the health of residents.

April 27, 2014

Waterloo Professor Designs Floating Houses that could Weather Floods

University of Waterloo professor Elizabeth English has designed an amphibious house that floats up with rising flood waters and then settles back down on its foundation when water recedes.

April 3, 2014

Floating Houses that Rise and Fall with Flood Waters

Amphibious houses that rise and fall with flood waters would help save lives and protect First Nations and other vulnerable communties devastaed by flooding every spring, says a University of Waterloo architecture professor

Amphibious-House Promoter is on a Crusade for New Homes and Retrofits that Go with the Flow

Featured in ENR magazine, Elizabeth English gives her insight into a solution to amphibious flood-resistant buildings and pushes for a reinterpretation of the statutes of the insurance program in the U.S.

August 3, 2014

New Orleans: No Easy Buoyancy

Five years after evacuation, still-displaced residents of New Orleans have a strong desire to return to their former communities. Pre-Katrina New Orleans was a vibrant community of hard-working residents, and had a dynamic street life of neighbourhood parades that bound communities, creating strong identities and a strong sense of place.

Fall 2010

Could Floating Homes be on the Way?

What are the options for bayou residents whose houses have flooded three times in the last decade? Do you elevate? Move? Pray? Or do you build a house that can float?

November 8, 2009

Floating an Idea: Prof Goes with the Flow to Protect Homes from Floods

Elizabeth English loves her job as an architecture professor at the University of Waterloo, but her heart remains in Louisiana. That’s where her passion for preserving the culture and character of New Orleans has led her, to challenge the conventional wisdom about how to protect homes from flood damage.

University of Waterloo Faculty of Engineering Annual Report

Elizabeth English has designed a foundation that can float a house. She wants to use it to help rebuild New Orleans.

Floating houses touted as answer to city's flood woes

A Louisiana State University engineering professor made the rounds of congressional staff and Bush administration officials this week to push a system she says could protect many homes from the kind of disastrous flooding that occurred in Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans: Two Years Later

It’s difficult to nail down the last time this antique city was considered cutting edge. Was it the 1850s, when a coffeehouse owner created the Sazerac cocktail? Or perhaps the 1940s, when a teenager named J.M. Lapeyre invented the automatic shrimp peeler?

August 29, 2007

Two Years After the Storm, the Devastated City is a Boomtown of Fresh Ideas for Rebirth

Much of New Orleans continues to lie abandoned and destroyed, even a full two years after Hurricane Katrina swept through the region with a vengeance. The Louisiana city still struggles with severe economic problems, dysfunctional government and the toxic residue left in place after the storm waters receded.

New Buoyant Foundation System Hopes to Save Homes From Flooding

One of the biggest losses to the people along the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina was their homes. Now, LSU has unveiled its prototype of an invention to protect homes from floodwaters.


Louisiana Professor Proposes Idea for Making Houses Flood Proof

A Louisiana State University engineering professor is lobbying congressional staff and Bush administration officials to push a system she says could protect many homes from the kind of disastrous flooding that occurred in Hurricane Katrina.

April 28, 2007

Plan Would Make Homes in New Orleans Floatable

The next time a hurricane floods New Orleans, whole neighbourhoods might just bob up like corks as the water rises.

Letter from New Orleans, the Lost Year: Behind the Failure to Rebuild

Elizabeth English studies the effects of hurricanes on buildings, at the Hurricane Center of Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge. “You need to think about how architecture helps shape culture,” she said, when I met her at a back-yard dinner party in Baton Rouge. English, who is fifty-two and slight, has the intensity of someone whose career has met its most significant challenge.

August 21, 2006