The UK’s first amphibious house, built on an island in the Thames, finally provides a long-term solution to flooding for riverside homes.
The client wanted a generous home on the river but within walking distance of the town centre. The previous house, built before 1945, was raised on timber posts to protect it from flooding and clad in timber boarding but not high enough to cope. Local planning restrictions meant that the building could not be significantly increased in height and the change in flood risk policy meant that the building could not be significantly extended. And, if it were to be replaced with a new dwelling, the floor level would need to be raised to 1.5m above the ground level.
The solution developed by Baca Architects was to create a building that would sit in the ground but in a way that did not increase the flood risk by designing a property that would float during a flood – an Amphibious House. The new house provides a contemporary dwelling complete with open living space at the primary floor arranged around a double height space overlooked by the upper floor gallery of the master bedroom. The double height glazed south facing façade affords panoramic views of the river and carefully designed riverside garden that is both attractive and functional.
The challenge of a moving house is always in the servicing and utilities. The architects, together with an expert team including Techniker and HR Wallingford, combined tried and tested technology in a highly innovative way to create a property that appears like a beautiful well designed modern home yet is also part boat.