The Flood Plain House was designed for an architectural competition organised by Norwich Union and the Royal Institution of British Architects. The competition asked for innovative solutions to building new homes on the flood plain in response to national housing shortage.
The design was developed in collaboration with London and Copenhagen based architects Chris Rhodes and James Barnfield. The main concerns during design development were the issues of buildability; trying to preserve and benefit from the positives of a flood plain; and providing a framework for sustainable lifestyles on the flood plain.
The houses were designed to be raised above the flood plain to avoid the risk of flooding to the main living areas. Primary pedestrian access was also raised to this higher level giving priority to the pedestrian and cyclist over the cars which would be restricted to the flood plain level.
The flood plain is therefore preserved for agriculture and vegetable plots taking maximum benefit from the fertile soil. Large communal open spaces and courtyards are created between the buildings to help to build a thriving community.
The houses are reduced to their basic elements and designed to be constructed as a kit of prefabricated components. This will help to mitigate the challenges of building on a flood plain and also to reduce build cost and construction waste.