Rising Seas: Cataloging Architectural Response in the Conch Republic

Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)

Project Narrative

Rising sea levels and increasing storm surge are quickly forcing people to reassess development in coastal regions. Architectural reactions to rising sea levels vary widely, leaving many questions concerning their political, economic, and social stances toward the urban fabric. These reactions can be classified into four categories of response: Evacuation, Protection, Adaptation, and Adoption.

I. Evacuation is the act of removing people from the flooded area.
II. Protection is the act of blocking the water from entering the site.
III. Adaptation is the act of adjusting typologies to fluctuating water.
IV. Adoption is the act of accepting flooding as permanent.

This thesis project creates a catalog for existing architectural typologies and formats them into a manual for future architects to utilize. The studies for the existing research catalog are completed through an analysis of precedents, scientific studies, as well as geological and topographical data. The primary focus is on environmental, social, and economic issues. The resulting precedent analysis outlines the range of possible practices currently in existence, as well as the conditions each category is best implemented.

A case study location (Key West, Florida) was then analyzed, and a proposal was produced utilizing the existing research catalog as a base for the design. This case study was intended to show how the catalog can be used by architects to formulate an architectural response to rising sea levels.

Implemented Strategies for each Category are as follows:
Evacuation: Mobile Cruise Ship Housing, Storm Evacuation Routes
Protection: Coral Reefs, Wetlands, and Mangrove buffer zones
Adaptation: Warft Construction, Stilt Houses
Adoption: Floating Houses


Project Details

Submission Category

Building Architecture- Large Scale (>10,000 sf)

Date of Completion

May, 2021

Project Team