Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Architecture and Community Design

Major Professor

Mark Weston, M.Arch.

Committee Member

Shannon Bassett, M.Arch.U.D.

Committee Member

David Fries, M.S.


Waterhouse, Community, Sustainability, Climate change, Flood protection


Our world is drastically changing. Temperatures are rising, skies over cities are blanketed with smoke, and melting glaciers are raising sea levels at alarming rates. Although the destruction we face is already threatening the quality of life for billions around the world, it could just be the beginning. What is projected to come in the future could be catastrophic.

It is crucial to realize that climate change is already happening. One of the main concerns relating to climate change is that as the polar ice caps continue to melt, rising water will invade our coastal cities around the world. In accordance with sea level projection maps, sea levels will rise 20 feet1, and major cities like Miami, Shanghai, Calcutta, and Manhattan will be completely submerged2. We must ask ourselves: How can we avoid a mass migration as water levels invade our homes and cities?

Instead of retreating inland, adaptation strategies should be devised. This proposal will explore how homes and cities should respond to sea level increase through the implementation of a new architectural typology-Aquatecture.

Aquatecture is defined as an architectural adaptation typology used to mitigate and manage flooding (long and short term). With this typology, water and architectural design can unite to produce dynamic and reliable mitigation solutions. The main course of action involves redefining three main living systems: a home, a neighborhood, and a residential tower to resist destruction of rising water levels and to continue city-town-home inhabitation.

In addition to adaptable building design, supporting systems will be integrated throughout affected areas. Systems such as alternative energy production, alternative farming, mixed-used industry, alternative transportation, and water filtration zones will be incorporated.

With the help of Aquatecture, alternatives to abandoning our coastal cities are provided. Due to the flexibility of site location that Aquatecture allows, this intervention can serve as a long- term solution and standard of living within current and projected flood prone areas around the world.

1 “An Inconvenient Truth.” Motion Picture. Paramount, 2006.

2 Ibid