Dezeen Magazine

Carl Turner design open-source house that floats on floodwater

London architect Carl Turner has developed a design for a prefabricated floating house and has made the plans available to download via an open-source architecture website.

The Floating House by Carl Turner Architects

Described as "part-house and part-boat", the buoyant residence isn't designed for any particular site – Carl Turner Architects sees the design as a solution to the problem of flooding that affects many parts of the UK.

The design comprises a simple lightweight structure, which the design team says could be constructed on traditional pile foundations, but could also be built over a concrete "tray" that would allow it to float in the event of a flood.

The Floating House by Carl Turner Architects

It would work in a similar way to the house that Baca Architects is constructing on an island in the middle of the River Thames – which floats on rising floodwater like a ship in its dock.

"Flooding is and will be a major national and global problem," said a statement from Turner's studio, whose design for a residence in Brixton was named best new house in the UK in 2013.

The Floating House by Carl Turner Architects

"Protecting the areas at risk with top-down landscaping measures – for example defence walls – is often too expensive. A lot of areas are in danger of flooding and we should think about solutions for this."

Designed to be both carbon-neutral and self-sufficient, the proposal features triple-glazed windows, a wall of photovoltaic panels that could generate plenty of solar energy, and a floating allotment for planting vegetables.

The Floating House by Carl Turner Architects

There is also a rooftop terrace and crow's nest that could integrate rainwater harvesting.

The plans for the Floating House are available to download from the Paperhouses website, meaning anyone could embark on a DIY project to build their own floating house.

The Floating House by Carl Turner Architects
Concept diagram – click for larger image

"Open sources projects like this afford us the opportunity to make a real contribution to architecture, and to promote learning and understanding through the circulation of knowledge," Turner told Dezeen.

"These platforms now allow architects to engage directly with anyone, anywhere bringing a design lead approach to the world of self-build. It's all about empowering people."

The Floating House by Carl Turner Architects
Structural options – click for larger image

There are also designs available on the website for houses designed by Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao, Japanese architect Florian Busch and Slovenian studio Dekleva Gregoric Architects.