Recently featured on the BBC news, our flood resilient house, Chiquet anticipates extreme weather events with an elevated ground floor 2.3m above garden level, which allows flood water to flow under the house and prevents it being pushed into neighbouring homes and gardens.
The UK’s drought/flood cycle is becoming wearyingly familiar, with the recent flooding in Jersey the most recent example of the devastation and personal trauma that is becoming a regular occurrence. Climate change will continue to result in hot dry spells interspersed with intense rainfall and, as architects, water management must increasingly be part of our remit when designing masterplans and much-needed housing up and down the country.
As a nation, we have been building on river flood plains for centuries as the combination of flat and fertile land, natural irrigation and ease of construction has been a cost effective way to produce housing at scale. But now we need to ensure that schemes are flood resilient and find ways to prevent prolonged rainfall overwhelming the river system, rainwater drainage and local flood defences.
Weybridge in Surrey is home to a prominent tributary to the River Thames and the adjacent flood plain is home to many houses where flooding is now expected annually rather than after a ‘hundred year storm.’ Recently featured on the BBC news, our flood resilient house, Chiquet anticipates extreme weather events like this an elevated ground floor 2.3m above garden level, which allows flood water to flow under the house and prevents it being pushed into neighbouring homes and gardens. Garages and storage space are located as far from the river banks as the site allows on the highest part of the plot and the garden is planted to thrive in the waterlogged conditions that typify the winter months.
These design interventions allow the river to be enjoyed rather than feared and, scaled up, can help provide a resilient housing model for flood plain development.