The past twenty years have seen the world’s ten most exceedingly awful floods that have accomplished more than 165 billion dollars of harm and driven more than a billion groups from their homes. It was measurements like these that energized the specialists who had collected in Ontario for the International Conference on Amphibious Architecture- Design and Engineering, a three-day occasion coordinated by Elizabeth English, an academic administrator at the University of Waterloo. 

Amphibious architecture alludes to an elective flood moderation system that permits a generally standard design to skim on the outer layer of rising flood water as opposed to surrendering to immersion. Land and/or water capable establishment holds the structure’s association with the ground by laying immovably on the earth under normal conditions, yet it permits the structure to drift as high as important when flooding happens. It is a flood relief system that works in synchrony with a flood inclined district’s regular pattern of flooding, instead of endeavouring to impede them. 

An overview of Amphibious Architecture - Sheet1
The float house by Morphosis Architects_©

Amphibious development may likewise allude to one of a few crossover conditions. One such is the place where the heaviness of construction is to some extent upheld by both land and water at the same time. Another circumstance is the place where a mechanical framework as jacks or water-driven siphons is utilized to hoist the design briefly. “Wetproofing” is another cross-breed technique, whereby inhabitants possess the main floor during dry seasons and move to an upper floor during times of flooding. 

Amphibious development likewise incorporates the ideas of land use arranging, site choice, local area strength issues like the spot of land and/or water capable structures in various lines-of-protection frameworks, and strategy contemplations. Amphibious architecture addresses framework, mechanical frameworks and utility issues, framework parts and determination standards, and codification and confirmation concerns.

An overview of Amphibious Architecture - Sheet2
Amphibious Research Pavilion for Competition Architecture Master Price in the year 2020_©

Here are some advantages of Amphibious Architecture:

  • Performance

Dissimilar to houses raised to a proper level, such houses can undoubtedly oblige shifting degrees of floodwater. A house with fixed stature will be harmed when the profundity of flooding water surpasses the height to which it is raised, while amphibious houses can adjust to the changing flood levels by ascending as the water rises. The upward posts may effortlessly be broadened if expansion in the flood depth might be anticipated well in advance.

An overview of Amphibious Architecture - Sheet3
Derivation of strategies to increase the resilience for the flood vulnerable communities_©
  • Economic Benefits

Amphibious construction likewise offers financial advantages contrasted with standard development. In a new development, a land and/or water capable framework addresses an extra expense over ordinary development because of a more intricate establishment framework. Amphibious development retrofitting offers significant expense investment funds in comparison with long-lasting static rise. In extreme flood occasions, houses with amphibious development are liable to less harm than those with no flood moderation procedure.

An overview of Amphibious Architecture - Sheet4
Floating Hope: Innovative Flood Resilience for Vietnam. An image for the competition Lafarge-Holcim Award in the year 2017_©
  • Social Advantages

In contrast with the static raised houses, amphibious houses are less problematic to occupants’ daily existences. Structures with super durable static height eliminate their inhabitants from road level. This presents a continuous inconvenience to inhabitants just as making a huge hindrance for the old and the others with impaired mobility. Aesthetically, static raised houses might deliver huge voids at road level, though land and/or water capable houses assist with safeguarding the first person of an area.

Now, let’s look at some examples of Amphibious Architecture:

1. The Buoyant Foundation Project

The Buoyant Foundation Project set up in 2006 by Professor Elizabeth English and her students at the Louisiana State University Hurricane Center was initially established to help New Orleans recuperate in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Since its commencement, the task has extended its central goal to incorporate the plan of amphibious answers for both retrofit and new development applications, with attention on retrofit techniques for low pay communities in the flood inclined region. 

An overview of Amphibious Architecture - Sheet5
Amphibious Housing for climate change adaption_ ©

A completely designed light establishment framework can give flood moderation that is both more compelling and impressively more affordable than other current choices. A people group’s vulnerability both to generally gentle, occasional flooding and to the extreme, in any case, catastrophic occasional flooding can be drastically decreased by carrying out this low natural effect procedure. The BFP has proposed light establishment plans for networks and exploration and has been directed to research amphibious retrofits as a suitable answer for native networks in the United States and Canada.

2. Farnsworth House, Illinois

Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, a universally renowned model is the perfection of simplicity, straightforwardness, and integration with its encompassing landscape. Despite being planned as per the projected long-term flood depth, it has supported critical harm a few times lately because of flooding. To address the expanding recurrence and profundity of the flooding affecting the house, a competition project introduced an amphibious establishment framework to raise and buoy the house in outrageous flooding situations, unobtrusively ensuring the significant social resource in an outwardly delicate way. 

Modifications for the Farnsworth House by the methodology of amphibious development_©

An amphibious retrofit can be intended to insignificantly affect the presence of construction, consequently, amphibiation can give outwardly proper security from the effects of worldwide environmental change for significant structures.


English, E., Klink, N., & Turner, S. (2016). Thriving with water: Developments in amphibious architecture in North America. E3S Web of Conferences, 7, 13009.

Research. (n.d.). BUOYANT FOUNDATION PROJECT. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from

The Origins of the Buoyant Foundation Project. (n.d.). BUOYANT FOUNDATION PROJECT. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from

Amphibious Architecture. (2019, July 3). ICAADE.


A student with more words to write than the words to speak. Shreya Gajjar, contextualizing the tangible reality of the surroundings to an intangible form of writing. An admirer of human relations to its immediate matter and elements. She is pursuing the course of design that has helped her in amalgamating her thoughts in various aspects of design and expression.