Czech architects exhibit designs of flood-proof housing

Photo: CTK

Following the destructive floods in August, the Czech Chamber of Architects called on the country's experts to design flood-proof and economical houses to be entered in a competition called "Economical House 2002". The winning competition entries are now exhibited in the Chamber of Architects' building in Prague, where they will be available for public viewing until the end of the year. Dita Asiedu reports:

Photo: CTK
The exhibition is especially targeted at those villages and people affected by the floods who are now forced to rebuild damaged buildings or build new houses from scratch. All designs are therefore aimed at offering a variety of the most efficient and flood-proof ways of building new houses. Since one of the competition's requirements was to cut costs wherever possible, the houses will not exceed two million Czech crowns. The cheapest architectural design is expected to cost 600,000 crowns. Petr Mraz is the Chairman of the Czech Chamber of Architects:

"The interest is much greater than we expected. We have a large number of visitors coming in every day even though we haven't even started advertising the exhibits in the project. What's surprising is that the interest is not just from people who were affected by the floods but also from people who are not from flood-damaged areas but just want to build a cheap house of good quality."

According to the Deputy-Chairman of the Czech Chamber of Architects, Dalibor Borak, building a flood-proof house does not necessarily mean higher costs:

"Obviously it depends on where the house is going to be built, but generally speaking, it needs to be built from material that does not absorb water. Ideally the house should have no basement and garage as houses follow the law of Archimedes, meaning that they flood when water levels rise. In flood plain areas, it's also advisable for houses to be built on elevated ground so that the floodwater flows away from the building as soon as the levels recede."

The Czech Chamber of Architects also plans to put all exhibits in a catalogue to be distributed to various flood-affected regions and villages. When interest is expressed in an exhibit, the architect who designed it has to be contacted to discuss approval for the project and the way in which the project is to be carried out. Some of the exhibits' architects offer their services to flood-affected clients for free, others have agreed to give them a generous discount. With the exhibition being such a success, the Czech Chamber of Architects has agreed to let the exhibition travel if villages should express interest.