Architectural designer Matthew Butcher has launched the Flood House, a prototype structure that will travel on the water to sites around the Thames Estuary. Over the next four weeks, the structure that serves as both a dwelling and a laboratory for monitoring local environmental conditions, will be moored at various sites that are susceptible to flooding.
The 5.5 × 7.5m structure draws on influences including fishing sheds and boats, WW2 pillboxes and Maunsell naval sea forts and will be constructed using ply and weatherboard. Floating on three steel pontoons it will be towed from site to site by a tugboat.
“By presenting an architecture that is towed from one location to another and where occupation is effected by the rise and fall of the tides, the project seeks to question the way built structures relate to the environment. Architecture is usually considered to be a stable, fixed entity where internal temperature and conditions of comfort are heavily controlled,” says Matthew. “Flood House seeks to challenge these notions, suggesting instead a nomadic architecture that forms a responsive relationship to its surrounding environmental conditions. Only this way can we start to address climate change and the dramatic shifts in sea levels that this century will bring.”
The Flood House is part of the Radical Essex project that aims to re-examine the history of Essex in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture.