It has to be said: this incredible New Orleans home design from Morphosis is making waves in the architectural community. In case of flooding, this home does not simply drift off – rather, it rises up on the water but remains tethered to vertical guides that keep it from floating away, essentially the ultimate in luxury battery-powered life rafts.

Yet another project sponsored by Brad Pitt and his Make It Right Foundation, this home is designed to be modern, stylish and sustainable but also to remain modest, functional and contextual. In short: this house design is creative, innovative and its anti-flood flotation capabilities are all wonderful but it also compliments the historic residential aesthetic of the area.

While it has not yet been (and hopefully will never need to be) in actual live flooding conditions, in such an emergency the structure would essentially break free of its footings as well as gas pipes, power lines, and other ties to the ground surface and city grid – carrying enough power for a few days and a safely elevated enclosure while its residents await rescue.

“The FLOAT House is a new kind of house: a house that can sustain its own water and power needs; a house that can survive the floodwaters generated by a storm the size of Hurricane Katrina; and perhaps most importantly, a house that can be manufactured cheaply enough to function as low-income housing.”

“The FLOAT House optimizes the efficiency of mass-production, while respecting New Orleans’s unique culture and context. The Ninth Ward’s colorful vernacular houses, which local residents have traditionally modified and personalized over time, reflect the community’s vibrant culture. The FLOAT House grows out of the indigenous typology of the shotgun house, predominant throughout New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward. Like a typical shotgun house, the FLOAT House sits atop a raised base. This innovative base, or “chassis,” integrates all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and sustainable systems, and securely floats in case of flooding. Inspired by GM’s skateboard chassis, which is engineered to support several car body types, the FLOAT House’s chassis is designed to support a variety of customizable house configurations.”