Thriving with water: Developments in amphibious architecture in North America
School of Architecture, University of Waterloo, 7 Melville St S, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
a Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is increasing awareness worldwide that traditional flood-mitigation strategies that attempt to control the flow of water only increase the likelihood of catastrophic consequences in the long run, when failure inevitably occurs after years of complacency and development behind flood barriers. Amphibious architecture is a non-defensive flood mitigation and climate change adaptation strategy that works in synchrony with a floodprone region’s natural cycles of flooding, allowing water to flow rather than creating an obstruction. Since the height to which an amphibious building rises is not necessarily fixed but adapts to the variable depth of flood water, amphibiation can accommodate rising sea levels and land subsidence as well. Amphibious retrofitting can provide measurable cost savings compared to other flood mitigation strategies, performing well in loss avoidance studies for both flood and wind damage. An amphibious approach to planning and construction recognizes the beneficial aspects of seasonal and occasional flooding, allowing us not merely to live with water, but to thrive with it. This paper reviews case studies of both existing and proposed amphibious buildings, with discussion of their systems and components. It also discusses the limitations of amphibious construction, some of the regulatory obstacles that have discouraged its development, and possible paths forward. The first International Conference on Amphibious Architecture, Design and Engineering, ICAADE 2015, was held in Bangkok, Thailand, in August 2015. The second, ICAADE 2017, will convene at the University of Waterloo in Canada in June 2017.
Key words: amphibious architecture / flood mitigation / disaster resilience / climate change adaptation / buoyant foundation / amphibious retrofit
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.