The LIFT House has two parts: the static SERVICE SPINE and the AMPHIBIOUS UNITS. The two amphibious bamboo units on buoyant foundations are attached to the service spine, a static structure built out of brick and concrete that provides vertical guidance and stability to the two dwellings while the units float on water.
The LIFT house was a response to the need of sustainable and affordable housing in flood prone areas with an emphasis on renewable construction materials such as bamboo. Instead of relying on the struggling service systems of the city, the LIFT house is self sustaining in providing basic services without relying on the city infrastructure by using passive resources such as solar power, natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, and composting toilets. Water is collected and filtered through a rainwater harvesting system during rainy season. Electricity is derived from two solar panels that allow residents to carry out daily activities. The shared dual pit latrine system allows residents to create compost from human waste where the urine is diverted away from the building through an underground pipe and deposited under the garden as a source of nutrients for plants. The LIFT house is capable of providing two families with access to water, electricity and sewage that is eco-friendly and technically appropriate without regular utility costs.
Two types of buoyant foundations were used in the LIFT house: a hollow ferrocement structure and a bamboo frame filled with empty used plastic water bottles. The watertight ferrocement foundation acts like a concrete boat into which bamboo columns were inserted to construct the amphibious unit. The foundation designed with used plastic water bottles is an innovative solution that is inexpensive and beneficial to the environment. Over 8000 used plastic water bottles were collected, cleaned and caps tightly closed in preparation for the foundation. In order to demonstrate the functions of the buoyant foundations, the amphibious units were built within holding tanks which can be filled with water to float the units on demand.