Stephen M. Katz, Virginian Pilot

Norfolk group working on creating first floating "amphibious house" on East Coast

To combat rising seas, a Norfolk man is floating a radical idea: What if instead of flooding, a house could simply float?

Equipped with the novel — if seemingly surreal — approach to sea level rise, Paul Rice connected with a Hampton Roads-based architect and other environmentalists to try to build the East Coast's first amphibious home.

A unique, buoyant foundation and two guiding poles on each side would allow the structure to rise and fall with the water, climbing when a storm floods a neighborhood and eventually going back down after it recedes.

They say that kind of innovative design would create a boom of construction jobs in the coming years, protect property and vital revenue sources for local governments, and preserve neighborhoods throughout the region.

The goal "is to create a new type of development that is more resilient," said Willie Parks, an architect on the project. "I think that this kind of classification — if we can get the code to work with us — will really change how development is done on the coast."

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