The Bartlett School of Architecture


Matthew Butcher's Flood House launches as part of Radical Essex

29 April 2016


April sees the launch of 'Flood House', an architectural design project by Bartlett School of Architecture Lecturer, Matthew Butcher, that will travel along the Thames Estuary as part of the Radical Essex project.

Over a period of four weeks, the structure, which is a projected dwelling for a floating habitat, as well as as a laboratory for monitoring local environmental conditions, will be moored at sites along the estuary that are prone to flooding.

The 5.5 × 7.5m structure (pictured) draws on influences including fishing sheds and boats, WW2 pillboxes and Maunsell naval sea forts and has been 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 project was conceived in collaboration with Dr Rokia Raslan and Dr Jonathon Taylor at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE) and was funded through an award from the UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment Materialisation Grant Programme.

Flood House is part of Radical Essex, a project which aims to re-examine the history of Essex in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture.

Read more about Flood House and its current location, at www.flood.house