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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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