Carl Turner Architects, who has recently won the RIBA housing competition and has been shortlisted for WAN Awards House of the Year 2012, is proposing a new design to face the flooding problem in the UK and in the world.
A lot of areas are in danger of flooding and protecting them from the risk with top-down landscaping measures – e.g. defence walls – is often too expensive. The problem should be solved at its root, focusing on the climate change and by making self-sufficient and carbon neutral houses.
The new design defines the construction of a floating house, which is part house and part boat, seeking to build on the condensed eco-system that boats naturally create at sea.
The lightweight house could be supported on different protective structures: a base in a flood-plain, on piles or on a floating base. The structure includes a cross-laminated timber frame and a thick layer of insulation, fibreglass as durable cladding and concrete hull used as a floating platform or base in a flood plan. While a 50 sq m roof terrace could provide almost all the building’s grey water usage (approximately 28,000 litres per year), 84 sq m semi translucent PV-panels could provide about 6 kWp (Kilowatt peak), which is more than sufficient for a domestic use.
The project has been approached with the intention to provide a more available architecture, making the plans available to download via an open source website. Techniques such as 3D printing and CNC milling machines are becoming increasingly popular and make this type of design easier for everyone to build. The hull, for instance, could be made by a subcontractor or the shuttering made with the use of CNC milling machine. The solid timber structure (CLT) can be ordered from a CLT manufacturer, which can be built on site in just a couple of weeks. Windows could be supplied and fitted by the manufacturer etc. People have the choice as to what level they would like to build the property themselves.