Amphibious Architectures: The Buoyant Foundation Project in Post-Katrina New Orleans
Fenuta, Elizabeth Victoria
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This is a research-based thesis building upon the study conducted over the past two years with Dr. Elizabeth English on the Buoyant Foundation Project (BFP). The BFP is currently developing an amphibious foundation system to retrofit vernacular wooden ‘shotgun’ houses in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. This neighbourhood was chosen because of its unique cultural heritage and the severe, but recoverable, damage incurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The BFP system will allow homes to float when flooding occurs, rising and descending vertically to avoid flood damage. It provides an alternative solution to permanent static elevation, the mitigation strategy currently recommended by the United States federal government. The thesis will demonstrate how the Buoyant Foundation Project is a culturally supportive, technically feasible, economical, sustainable and resilient form of flood mitigation for post-Katrina New Orleans.