From the press release: "Known as the FLOAT House, the structure is a new model for flood-safe, affordable and sustainable housing and is designed to securely float with rising water levels. The innovative house was built for actor Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation, which is helping with the rebuilding of New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, one of the neighborhoods hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.
The concept for the FLOAT House emerged from research on the local flooding record, the social and cultural history of the city, and the ecology of the Mississippi Delta. In the event of flooding, the base of the house - reconceived as a chassis - acts as a raft, allowing the house to rise vertically on guide posts, securely floating up to 12 feet as water levels rise. While not designed for occupants to remain inside during a hurricane, the innovative structure aims to minimize catastrophic damage and preserve the homeowner's investment in their property. This approach also allows for the early return of occupants in the aftermath of a hurricane or flood."