For the better part of the last month, a uniquely designed floating home named Flood House has been slowly navigating the Thames Estuary located just due east of the city of London. Designed by London-area architect Matthew Butcher, Flood House’s main task is to monitor temperature, wind speeds, and moisture around different parts of the estuary in an effort to judge the home’s varying levels of livability. In other words, should the world succumb to massive flooding, Butcher’s innovative work would allow for perfect globe-spanning abodes, regardless of the conditions.
Measuring a modest 18 by 24 feet, Flood House currently drifts the Thames Estuary as a bit of a loner — that is, no one’s living on the rig despite it carrying the “house” moniker. As it continues to observe the way in which it responds to different environments and surroundings, the onboard weather station transmits its data to a companion website for onlookers to check in on. Though it’s since traveled roughly 20 miles since beginning its journey, Butcher has yet to officially dive into the full set of data.
“I was concerned that we are continuing to build architectures that avoid a direct relationship with the environment and the weather,” Butcher said to Hyperallergic. “We continue to live in very controlled environments with complex mechanical heating and cooling systems, which in turn through their operation use up vital natural resources. In contrast, Flood House would be a comfortable place to live, but its aim is to suggest a re-engagement with the ecologies of the Thames.”
While designing Flood House, Butcher gleaned inspiration from various other homes he’s seen along the estuary’s shores such as the stilt-sitting Maunsell forts constructed during World War II. Like Flood House, Maunsell forts were built as a response to rising sea levels. Unlike the World War II era, however, the tech Butcher has at his disposal to comb through the data should provide dramatically better insight.
With a month’s worth of data and information stashed away, Flood House’s time in the Thames Estuary has come to a close but Butcher’s work is far from over. In addition to digging through the findings, the architect also plans on potentially exhibiting the floating home across England to continue to raise awareness surrounding innovatively constructed homes and their positive impact.