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Friday, 13 March 2015 13:06cat

Thailand innovative home floats in case of flooding

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The two storey home in a Thai neighborhood for factory workers has a special feature that is not directly visible to the average eye. Hidden in the home's foundation is a system that allows it to float in case of extreme flooding events. This innovative floating system, developed in Thailand is a promising response to Thailand's high flooding frequency. 

A system consisting of steel pontoons filled with styrofoam are placed underneath the house and its porch. The system enables the home to be lifted up to three meters above ground in case the Ban Seng village north of Bangkok inundates, as it has in 2011. That year, nearly two thirds of the country were flooded displacing 67 million people. 

Under the pressure of world climate changes leading to more and more frequent flooding events and storms threatening low-lying coastal areas, this 2.8 million baht (HK$667,145) amphibious home is one of the architects developers and governments out of many concepts to deal with the problem. Architect Chuta Sinthuphan of Site-Specific, the firm that designed and built the house for Thailand's National Housing Authority (NHA) stated: "We can try to build walls to keep the water out, but that might not be a sustainable permanent solution." She also supports that it is smarter to work with nature instead of fighting it, and amphibious architecture may be a good alternative. The first international conference on amphibious architecture is going to take place in Thailand in late August.

The amphibious home was constructed over a man made hole that can be flooded and was tested in September 2013. The structure was lifted by 0.85m while the hole was filled with water. Alongside with amphibious architecture, there is a distinct turn towards traditional structures to deal with flooding issues, such as stilts and structures on barges and rafts. 

The above technologies, essentially leading to the cities expansion on the water, may be the solution to the flooding problem in Thailand, which threatens low-income communities, as people are reluctant to be moved to higher ground, away from urban areas.

Source: South China Morning Post

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