Putting Buildings On Hydraulic Legs Is The Ultimate Flood Protection

Putting Buildings On Hydraulic Legs Is the Ultimate Flood Protection

We are slowly hurtling towards a dystopian future where cities raise themselves on hydraulic legs to begin the long hunt for resources. Only, in this case, replace cities with greenhouses, and the only resource being hunted here is dry land. Wrasbury is a town some 29km west of London, England, which has found itself flooded five times in the last 15 years. Since it's difficult to build flood defences to prevent a flood plain being, erm, flooded, one pair of residents has come up with a unique solution.

They built a large greenhouse in the backyard, which lives on a set of hydraulic legs, much like you'd find on a portable construction crane. Most of the time, it's just a greenhouse, but during a flood, it can raise itself 80cm off the ground in order to prevent flood damage. That not only saves the couple's plants, but provides a safe refuge for possessions during surges.

It seems like an elegantly simple (and cheap!) solution to the problem of localised flood defences. If the local or federal government fails to adequately prepare for a flood, residents are normally left with the options of evacuation, or fighting a losing battle with diggers and a small mountain of sandbags.

This is just a greenhouse, but logically, there's no reason you couldn't jack up entire houses on a hydraulic mechanisms. Sure, you'd need a big motor, but replacing an entire floor of your house doesn't come cheap.

On the other hand, there's an intrinsic danger to flood protection becoming localised in this way. If, sometime in the future, the majority of residents in an area have locally-defended houses, local government is far more likely to cut back on expensive flood defence, leaving those too poor to fend for themselves. Maybe some kind of city-wide hydraulic suspension system, possibly with wheels to relocate to less flooded land, should be the solution.


Image via BAT Studio



    Or you could just build the houses on stilts like they do in some parts of Queensland.

    Seriously.....just put it on legs permanently. Hydraulic legs just over complicate the whole thing, will have an ongoing maintenance cost, needs power to operate which in storms may be unreliable, needs to actually be activated when needed, etc.

      Was going to say exactly that. Not worth the effort for less than a metre. If you are looking at several metres make it buoyant, glue a sheet of plastic over the door and have a couple of posts and rollers to keep it in place like a floating dock.

    Surely adequate planning is the ultimate flood protection.

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