Change to Ukrainian interface versionChange to English interface versionChange to Russian interface versionHome pageClear last query resultsHelp page
Search for specific termsBrowse by subject categoryBrowse alphabetical list of titlesBrowse by organizationBrowse special topic issues

close this bookAppropriate Building Materials: a Catalogue of Potential Solutions (SKAT; 1988; 430 pages)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building materials
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on building elements
Open this folder and view contentsFundamental information on protective measures
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of foundation materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of floor materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of wall materials
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of roof materials
close this folderExamples of building systems
View the documentMud brick vaults and domes
View the documentEarthquake resistant mud/bamboo structures
View the documentAdobe brick house
View the documentModular framed earth block construction
View the documentLok Bild system
View the documentConcrete panel house
View the documentFerrocement housing units
View the documentFibracreto building system
View the documentBamboocrete construction
View the documentBamboo houses
View the documentPrefabricated timber hut
View the documentPrefabricated wooden house
View the documentTimber houses for flood areas
View the documentRha-lime prototype house
Open this folder and view contentsAnnexes

Timber houses for flood areas


Special properties

Elevated houses and floating structures

Economical aspects

Low to medium costs



Skills required

Carpentry skills

Equipment required

Carpentry tools

Resistance to earthquake


Resistance to hurricane

Depends on timber connections

Resistance to rain


Resistance to insects


Climatic suitability

Warm humid regions

Stage of experience



• The great floods of 1982 and 1983, which affected the entire Parana - La Plata region of Paraguay, led to the development of prototype houses, designed to provide safe shelter, even if the floods submerged single storey houses, as they did in 1983.

• The design was jointly developed in 1983 by students of the Catholic University, Asuncion, and flood victims, under the guidance of Prof. Thomas Gieth, Centre for Appropriate Technology, Asuncion, and Dr. Wolfgang Willkomm, University of Hanover, Federal Republic of Germany (Bibl. 24.06, 24.17).

• The design criteria were: protection and escape from floods, low building costs, use of local materials and techniques, suitability for self-help construction.

• The solution was a two-storeyed house with an external stairway and platform around the upper floor. During floods the dwellers can take refuge on top, and planks can be laid between neighbouring houses to serve as bridges, where boats are not available. Local caranday palm logs were used for the framework, wall cladding, windows, doors, and even roof (made by alternately laying hollowed out halved logs, like Spanish tiles).

• To overcome the foundation problems associated with this design, an alternative solution was worked out in 1984 by Behrend Hillrichs, architectural student at the University of Hanover (Bibl. 24.08), suggesting houses that can float on the flood waters.

Construction System of Houses for Flood Areas CTA, Paraguay; Grouped houses with escape platforms

Principles of Floating Houses for Flood Areas (Bibl. 24.08)

Normal position of houses on dry ground

Position of houses during flood: the poles keep them in a stable position.

View of houses from above: short bridges connect the platforms.

Normal raft-type platform

Advantages: simple construction; stable position during floods.

Problems: gradual wetting of floor; sinking of raft with increasing load of people and belongings and with gradual water absorption; risk of pole buckling under lateral water pressure.

Platform on floats (eg empty oil barrels)

Advantages: platform raised above water level; high load-bearing capacity; no gradual sinking.

Problems: more complicated construction maintenance of good condition of floats (no holes!); instability during floods (tendency to "dance" on the waves).

to previous section to next section

[Ukrainian]  [English]  [Russian]