Brad Pitt's Foundation Unveils Floating Home That Rises Up (and Away) in Floods

floating house

It's inevitable that a Katrina-style hurricane will strike again. But maybe this time we should be prepared to go with the flow—literally. Brad Pitt's Make it Right Foundation unveiled today the Float House, a home that can break away from its moorings in the event of a flood and rise up to 12 feet on guideposts.

The house, designed by Morphosis Architects, is covered with concrete and built with a polystyrene foam base. Float House does break away from electrical lines in a flood, but a battery backup can provide enough power to juice up appliances for three days.

Floating House

So far, Morphosis hasn't had the chance to test the home in real flood conditions—just computer simulations. The company hasn't revealed how much the Float House will cost, but a home that can save itself during a flood is like homeowner's insurance for its inhabitants. And today, one family displaced by Katrina will have the chance to move into a model Float House, effectively giving them a second chance in the event of a second major hurricane.

[Via Inhabitat]

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  • Steve Cofer

    Understanding the Shot-Gun style, along with the below sea level grade, evolve local concepts to the east coast beach construction. Build Up. An elevated Shot-Gun style. Park your car(s) under your home, any lower level construction is breakaway, and have your main living level one floor up. The only issue (as with the beach) is those few requiring an elevator. Meanwhile, interesting spaces (garages, Carports, outdoor dining) can be created at grade.

  • Michael Brown

    Very interesting. I am curious to see the real life test results of this though. Even a 55' semi-displacement yacht needs a minimum draft of about 5'. I know the aquatic dynamics differ from ocean vessel to floating house, but this would seem to imply that the house might need to be 5' underwater before 'floatation' even occurs.

  • Mark Short

    Isn't this a problem that has already been solved? I think it is called a boat.

  • Hagay Vider

    1. Most houses are light enough to float without any problem, as long as they are watertight. The additional cost involved would sealing the doors and lower walls in a way that keeps water from leaking in.
    2. Also, disconnecting the utilities would be an issue if the house would move off its foundations. Flexible electrical, telephone, cable, and even water lines would not be a problem, although the sewage line may cause a (stinking) mess.
    3. Most private home insurance doesn't cover flood or water damage, only storm and wind damage. This house probably wouldn't save much in insurance premiums, but may be a good investment anywhere people live in a flood plane, which is quite common both in the US and the world. It's also a good solution to build on previously uninhabitable land.

  • Will Johnson

    This is somewhat interesting, although, even if it DOES float, I suspect the cost will be greater than what is feasibly realistic. Moreover, I can't imagine these are going to be more than a few hundred square feet in size. It would seem to me that an effort to address this sort of concern on an a multifamily housing level would make for a more worthy endeavor. I'm all for building for sustainability, but multihousing makes a lot more sense on that level than single family dwellings.

    Will Johnson

  • Louann Oravec

    Great idea, maybe the insurance companies will give these homeowners a break on their insurance, when they are proven effective.