Elizabeth English


Elizabeth English has experience in education, practice, teaching and research in both the fields of Architecture and Civil Engineering. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a PhD in Architectural Theory from the University of Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth's current research focuses on developing amphibious foundation systems as a flood mitigation and climate change adaptation strategy that supports the preservation of traditional housing forms and cultural practices. She is working on projects for indigenous and indigent populations in south Louisiana, the Canadian north, Jamaica and Vietnam. She came to flood risk reduction from a background of many years of research in the field of wind engineering, specifically in the areas of wind effects on tall buildings and hurricane wind mitigation.  Elizabeth also has a strong research and teaching interest in Russian avant-garde architectural theory and its roots in 19th c. Slavophile philosophy, which was the topic of her PhD dissertation. 

Elizabeth is the founder and director of the Buoyant Foundation Project, a not-for-profit organization based in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and Cambridge, Ontario, that is a leader in the development of amphibious technologies for affordable housing and for retrofitting existing homes. She is also the founder and organizer of the Building Resilience Workshops in New Orleans. Both of these projects promote strategies that work WITH water to enhance community resilience, and both encourage the use of redundant forms of flood mitigation to diffuse the concentration of risk that leads to catastrophe in the wake of the inevitable failure of a single-line-of-defense system. In August 2015 she was co-chair of ICAADE 2015, the first International Conference on Amphibious Architecture, Design and Engineering, held in Bangkok, Thailand. She chaired the second ICAADE, which convened at the University of Waterloo in June 2017. Initial planning for ICAADE 2019, to be held in London, UK, is underway. 

Selected Publications

English, Elizabeth C., Carol J. Friedland and Fatemeh Orooji, “Combined Flood and Wind Mitigation for Hurricane Damage Prevention”, Journal of Structural Engineering, 143(6), 2017: 1-7.

English, Elizabeth, Natasha Klink and Scott Turner, “Thriving with water: Developments in amphibious architecture in North America”, Proceedings of FLOODrisk 2016, 3rd European Conference on Flood Risk Management, Lyon, France. October 18–20, 2016. 12pp.

English, Elizabeth, Fatemeh Orooji, and Carol Friedland, “Mitigating wind and flood:  the increased wind vulnerability of static elevation vs. amphibious retrofit”, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Bluff Body Aerodynamics and Applications (BBAA VIII), Boston, Massachusetts, June 7-10, 2016.

Ropel-Morski, Zachary, Elizabeth English and Scott Turner, “Amphibious Housing: An Innovative Approach to Seasonal Flood Mitigation for Vulnerable First Nations Communities”, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Amphibious Architecture, Design and Engineering (ICAADE 2015), Bangkok, Thailand, August 26-29, 2015.

Sumanth, Sneha, and Elizabeth English, “A Loss Avoidance Study of Amphibious Housing:  A Case Study in Southern Louisiana”, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Amphibious Architecture, Design and Engineering (ICAADE 2015), Bangkok, Thailand, August 26-29, 2015. 

Turner, Scott, and Elizabeth English, “Amphibious housing for vulnerable communities in Jamaica”, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Amphibious Architecture, Design and Engineering (ICAADE 2015), Bangkok, Thailand, August 26-29, 2015. 

Adamek, Kimberly, and Elizabeth English, “The Process of Wind Visualization in Wind Engineering Practice”, Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Wind Engineering (ICWE), Porto Alegre, Brazil. June 2015.

English, Elizabeth, "Amphibious Foundations and the Buoyant Foundation Project:  Innovative Strategies for Flood-Resilient Housing", Proceedings of the UNESCO International Conference on Urban Flood Management, Paris, France.  November 2009. 

English, E. C., "Vladimir Shukhov and the Invention of Hyperboloid Structures", Proceedings of the 2005 Structures Congress, Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers, New York, New York, April 2005.

English, E. C., “Rethinking the Russian Avant-Garde: Russian Mystical Philosophy and Rationalist Architectural Theory”, Outposts of the Americas: Proceedings of the 92nd ACSA Annual Meeting, Miami, Florida, March 2004.

English, E. C., and F. R. Fricke, "The Interference Index and Its Prediction Using a Neural Network Analysis of Wind-Tunnel Data", Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics 83, 1999: 567-75.

English, E. C., "Shielding Factors from Wind-Tunnel Studies of Prismatic Building Shapes", Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics 36, 1990:  611-19.       

Tel: 519-888-4567 ext. 27617
Office: ARC 2017

University of Waterloo

Profiles by type