Amphibious houses float out of trouble in Bangladesh - SciDev.Net | adapting to climate change |

Houses that rise on floats could provide safer homes in areas prone to floods and tsunamis, according to a Bangladesh-born US architect.

Two such 'amphibious' house designs are being tested in Bangladesh, where proximity to the Ganges delta means that flooding is a frequent problem. When flash floods last occurred, in 2010, more than 10,000 people were made homeless.

"Flooding there doesn't allow people to maintain a safe lifestyle," said Prithula Prosun,a Bangladeshi-born lead architect of the Low Income Flood-proof Technology (LIFT) house project and a graduate architecture student at the University of Waterloo, Canada. "I wanted to give something back," she said, adding that her inspiration came from similar amphibious projects in New Orleans, United States.

The LIFT designs work by preventing lateral movement but allowing the house to move up and down on stilts. When floods occur, the house simply rises above the water. Both the house and the foundations need to be light and buoyant, and two foundation materials are being tested.