Situated on the banks of the River Thames, Formosa is the UK’s first amphibious house. An amphibious house is a building that rests on the ground on fixed foundations but, whenever a flood occurs, rises up in its dock and floats there buoyed by the floodwater.
Using the latest technology, the property is a major breakthrough for British architects and engineers who have been searching for many years for a solution to mitigate the risk - and damage - of water ingress to homes in flood-prone areas.
The new house has been designed to cope with up to 2.5m of floodwater, well above the predicted flood levels and future projected flood levels for the area. A carefully laid out garden also acts as a natural early warning flood system.
The truly unique 225sqm house is located just 10m from the river’s edge. Designed by Baca Architects, specialists in waterfront architecture and floodresilient aquatecture, the house is located on a small island along a picturesque stretch of the Thames in Buckinghamshire, a site designated as Flood Zone 3b and a Conservation Area.
While the house is a modern, highly insulated, low-energy building, including large high-performance windows, the architects have ensured that it is also sympathetic to the locality; a scenic spot with very strict planning guidelines. The property has a pitched roof to complement the irregular roofline of neighbouring homes and an overall footprint that is no larger than the old demolished property.
The cost of building this type of amphibious home is only slightly higher than a similar home with a basement, due to the outer layer of foundations and the high water table during construction. However, construction costs are expected to fall as builders and manufacturers get to grips with the much wetter weather phenomenon and embrace new thinking and technology.