Floating house is always an attraction to those who cares for the aesthetics and beauty of their residence. More than anything, they have this advantage to sustain from flood.
Today, we are going to find out all the interesting aspects of this civil engineering wonder.
What are floating houses?
“Floating” term in the foundation engineering is used when the soil beneath the footing does not experience any extra load , as the load of the structure is equal or less than the soil displaced.
Floating houses are similar in concept and normally defined those houses which are constructed on water in a way that the load of the structure is equal or less than the uplift force of the water which helps in floating the house on water.
Now, let me show you the different types of floating houses.
Types of floating houses
There are two types.
- House which permanently float
- House that floats during flood
We will learn each of them in depth next.
1. House that permanently float
These type of floating houses are constructed by the mechanism that allows it to float permanently.
2. House that floats during flood
These are houses that float only during flood water, else get placed on the ground ,particularly during dry season if there is no water.
The figure below shows floating houses during flood. They are an easiest homemade solution with foam blocks under your home. The 4 guide posts keep the house in place as it rises, just like a floating docks
There is a home in Kerala which was widely appreciated for the innovation.
The whole building is made of steel (GI pipe). The walls are made of multi wood sheet on both sides.
The home is built by P Gopalakrishnan Achari from Ernakulam district in Kerala. To avoid the floating house from being swept away by the floodwaters, he placed four steel pistons at 25 feet into the earth in four corners through the walls.
The house is supported on the inner rods of these pistons.
During floods, the house will move up along with the air tank with the piston.
When the water recedes, it will automatically come back to the normal level. The house will not move an inch on to the sides.
Now, let’s look into some exciting examples of floating houses.
Examples of a floating house
- The figure below depicts a house that was built on a steel platform structure with steel pontoons.
2. The house shown below is designed by Morphosis Architects and students from UCL. They collect its own water, generates its own electricity, and is capable of floating as high as 12 feet on rising flood waters.
Flotation is made possibly by a single unit of expanded polystyrene foam coated in glass fiber reinforced concrete.
3. The building in the figure below is amphibious home that rests on land but are built to rise when waters rise. When the river swells the house will float as much as 18 feet. It floats back down as the water subsides.
It is designed by Factor Architecten.
In the next section, let’s discuss some technical jargon. After all, the beauty emerged from it, right?
Principle of a floating house
- Floating house do not require foundation and are based on the principle of buoyancy. Thus known as buoyant homes.
- Base of the structure should be such that it help in floating as well as able to take dead load, live load and other load to encountered by the house.
- The houses may be constructed on boat, hollow pipe, light weight pads and similar materials which help in floating as well as take up load.
That was the principle behind it. Next, let us particularly look into the technology behind vertically moving floating houses.
Principle of a vertically moving floating house
- A steel frame that hold the floatation blocks is attached to the underside of the house.
- There are four ‘vertical guidance’ poles not far from the corners of the house.
- The tops of poles attached to steel frame.
- The poles telescopes out of the ground, allowing the house to move up and down.
What about the services that would be available in a floating houses?
Services available with a floating house
- All the ducts and wires for water, gas, electricity and sewage disposal in such amphibious homes are flexible , designed to remain functional even when the house rises several metres from its usual position
- Solar panels are provided for energy requirements
- In-cino-let toilets which burn waste are provided
- Drinking water is collected from rainstorms and filtered into glass partition wall inside
- The inner temperature is regulated in case of geothermal pond loop
Here comes, the most interesting aspect. How about the life in the miracle?
Life in floating houses
- Low storage space
- Less accommodation
- Safe during flood
Okay. So, now it feels so good. In an environmental friendly approach, is it relevant?
Need for floating houses
- The sea level is said to have risen by 20cm in last centuary.
- It is expected to rise by three amount in the 21st centuary.
- So floating house will not be a fashionable style but necessary.
- Safe in flood prone areas during floods.
Finally, let’s give quick trip through the moving houses which is a cousin of floating houses.
- Envelope of houses can be fabricated , shown to customer and towed to the site.
- The whole structure will require to be anchored to the foundation.
- If house owner wants to shift, it can be dismantled and reinstalled at other place.
- Interiors can be placed as per the requirements through modular parts like kitchen ,bath etc.
Time to wrap up.
- India has islands, coastal areas and areas highly prone to flood.
- So there need to construct floating house and have expertise in this type of construction.
- There is need to develop technology for moving houses which can be transported and constructed early particularly during disaster or when required to be shifted due to other consideration.
So, how was the journey through floating houses? I found it really awesome. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Photo credits: (https://insteading.com/)