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Floating house rises to flooding challenge

An "amphibious house" design was recently granted planning permission and will be the first house of its kind in the UK. An "amphibious house" design was recently granted planning permission and will be the first house of its kind in the UK.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Plans for amphibious home on banks of UK's River Thames gets planning consent
  • Private dwelling will rise if surrounding area floods creating a "free floating pontoon"

London (CNN) -- Building a home with a floor beneath ground on a plot next to a flood-prone river might seem like a recipe for disaster. But not when it's designed to float.

The "amphibious house" was recently granted planning permission for construction on a island on the River Thames in Marlow -- a small town 35 miles west of London.

The upper part of the house is constructed from lightweight timber, according to its creators Baca Architects, while a concrete basement level sits inside a "wet dock" consisting of a base slab and four retaining walls.

Amphibious design is one of a host of solutions that can enable residents to live safely and to adapt to the challenges of climate change
Richard Coutts, Baca Architects

Should the worst happen the house turns into a "free-floating pontoon" with vertical guideposts running up the building's exterior preventing it from drifting off downstream.

Sea level rise: Impacts and mitigation measures

A terraced garden will also surround the property encouraging incremental flooding while also helping manage run-off when water levels start to subside.

Richard Coutts, director of Baca Architects said in a statement: "From the outset, we sought the expert advice of the (UK) Environment Agency to determine the most appropriate construction model to mitigate flood risk on the site and provide a safe dwelling, sympathetic to its setting and fit for the challenges of the 21st century.

"Amphibious design is one of a host of solutions that can enable residents to live safely and to adapt to the challenges of climate change," he added.

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