In the media: The new frontier of designing for extreme weather events

Thursday, August 19, 2021

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Water institute member Elizabeth English had her epiphany moment while seeing the evacuated streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The University of Waterloo School of Architecture professor, realized that rebuilding homes with stilts to withstand future floods would fundamentally change the culture and landscape of the city.

Instead, retrofits that would allow the homes to float would keep the integrity of the close-knit communities intact while also keeping the homeowners safe in times of flooding.

Thus began the origins of the Buoyant Foundation Project, or BFP, and a multi-decade pursuit of bringing amphibious homes to the people that need them most.

“People have been building amphibious houses for millennia,” said English from her home in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. “But they’ve been doing it without the benefit of modern science and engineering and the safety features that contemporary engineering is committed to.”

Read the article in The Waterloo Region Record here.

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