Mantella Homes


Amphibious Housing for the New Normal


The question of whether or not to rebuild in such a highly vulnerable area is often predicated on the desire to re-establish the sense of communal living borne of the relationships forged amongst the residents and evident in the architecture of proximal living of this once fishing community. The relationship between the people is heavily reliant on the interrelationship between their homes and, as such, the relevance of the affinity between a house and the ground becomes vital. A viable alternative to permanent static elevation is amphibious housing. Unlike floating homes, an amphibious house is secured on thick, telescoping steel posts inserted into concrete piles common in beachfront construction. This option affords the safety sought by the new FEMA regulations while preserving the “cottage culture” of coastal communities by providing a buoyant foundation that allows the home to sit at grade during normal conditions, as well as elevate with rising water levels and lower again as the levels recede. A similar logic can be applied to walkways that rise from the ground to retain the connective infrastructure lost during natural disasters. Planters that float act as armor from floating debris and provide the visual comfort of the familiar in a time of crisis. Adaptability becomes the new normal.

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