Even in these early stages, there has been much discussion in regard to the latest floods in Thailand, and the efficiency of the area’s flood resilient structures. There has even been the suggestion that little has been done since the last devastating Tsunami and floods in the way of resilience planning, heavily impacting on the recovery costs, reconstruction efforts, and perhaps even death toll.
While these events are not able to be relieved in a different manner, architect Chutayaves Sinthuphan is taking steps to make sure that flood water resilient structures are available, not repeating the possible mistakes of those before him.
What he has created is a flood resilient home.
We here in Australia are also proud owners of our own flood proof home. Cox Rayner’s director Michael Rayner lost his family home in the recent devastating Queensland floods, and went on to create a flood resilient home in order to act as a safeguard against future tragedies, using a stilt raised form.
Although both Rayner and Sinthuphan’s design concepts rely on the same resilience foundation, this is where the similarities end.
Instead of following traditional flood proof, and even more traditionally Thai design methods of raising the housing on stilts, Sinthuphan has created a flood resilient home that works with the areas natural surrounds, as he states “you can live with the water”.
What he has labelled ‘the amphibious house’ does in fact have underneath stilts attached, but they are not dug into the ground. Instead they are attached to metal buoys, which lie in an under-house excavation hole. Upon rising water levels, the house simply lifts to float atop the waters.
The two story dwellings will be constructed out of prefabricated ‘sandwich panel’ material, which is comparable to traditional concrete, but is slightly more expensive, lighter, but of the same durability. The weight aspect of the materials is imperative to understand and deliver due to the fact that the building relies on its ability to balance in order to stay flood resilient.
Sinthuphan is no stranger to prefab housing, owning his own duel businesses, Site Specific which caters to the design aspects, and Prefab Laboratory which handles the construction process.
In addition to the aforementioned materials, steel will provide the dwelling’s structural support. It also caters to power cuts, a common issue throughout flood ravaged areas, with natural energy producers such as solar panels, in addition to wind and water turbines included, covering all bases.
As it stands, two prototypes are planned, one to act as Sinthuphan’s office, and the other to be donated to a family in Pa Mok. If he is able to recive the prototype funding he has applied for, the dwellings will be made available by April next year.
The architect cites, ”architecture is a tool to solve social issues” as the catalyst for his design, which is offering not only affordable housing to a much adversity faced people, but taking some serious social justice responsibility out of government hands and back in the hands of the industry.