A concept in use in the Netherlands has arrived in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, site of severe flooding during 2005's Hurricane Katrina. A 1,000-square-foot house that floats (pictured) has been constructed for the Make it Right Foundation. The 46,000 pound "chassis" of the house is constructed of polystyrene foam covered with a shell of reinforced concrete. In the event of catastrophic flooding, the house will rise on the water as high as 12 feet. Pilings tether the house, while allowing it to rise vertically. Designed by Morphosis Architects and Morphosis founder, Thom Mayne, construction was assisted by UCLA architecture graduate students.
"The immense possibilities of the Make It Right initiative became immediately apparent to us," said Mayne in a release,"how to re-occupy the Lower 9th Ward given its precarious ecological condition? The reality of rising water levels presents a serious threat for coastal cities around the world. These environmental implications require radical solutions. In response, we developed a highly performative, 1,000-square-foot house that is technically innovative in terms of its safety factor -- its ability to float -- as well as its sustainability, mass production and method of assembly."