Navigating Flood-Resilient Architecture

Hand drawn flood risk map created as part of a feasibility study for the Museum of the Gorge, Ironbridge.

As an architecture practice situated close to the River Severn, we intimately understand the unique challenges posed by flood-prone zones. With the increasingly urgent realities of climate change exacerbating these risks, addressing flood resilience has become more critical than ever. As our climate continues to change, the frequency and intensity of flooding events are expected to rise, putting both property and lives at greater risk.

With years of experience and a commitment to community resilience, our Shropshire Architects are well-equipped to guide you through every stage of flood-resilient architecture.

Through this article, we aim to showcase a selection of our sustainable designs tailored for flood-prone regions. Our designs strive to protect structures and mitigate the consequences of natural calamities, all while ensuring that life can flourish even during times of normal river levels.

If you have a potential project to discuss whether it is within the flood zone or not, please call us today to discuss on 01746 768191 or email us at

Concept Sketch for Severn Park Visitors Centre/Boat House, Bridgnorth.

Designing for Flood Resilience:

In the picturesque setting of The Severn Park in Bridgnorth, we have initiated an ambitious project aimed at enhancing the visitor experience through the creation of a new Visitors Centre and Boat House. At the heart of our approach is a design elevated on stilts to harmonize with the landscape and mitigate flood risks, while emphasizing inclusivity at every turn. This design not only features specialist access facilities but also integrates a variety of inclusive design elements to ensure that the centre is accessible and user-friendly for everyone. The project commenced with a comprehensive feasibility study, laying the groundwork for a development that promises to be both a functional and welcoming new addition to The Severn Park.

The structure integrates open canoe storage beneath the building, promoting dual functionality of the land beneath. This strategic design choice allows water to pass freely in the event of flooding, significantly reducing the potential for damage to both the building and its surrounding environment. This approach not only exemplifies our commitment to flood-resilient designs but also maximizes the utility and sustainability of the development, ensuring it remains an asset to the community in both everyday use and during flood conditions.

Concept Sketch for a bespoke house within the flood plain of Ironbridge.

We have had the privilege of contributing to several commercial and residential architectural endeavours in Ironbridge, an area known for its susceptibility to flooding. The image showcased above represents a concept design for a bespoke luxury residence on stilts, a project we were commissioned to develop for a private client.

In response to the challenges posed by Ironbridge’s flood-prone environment, our design approaches have been deeply influenced by a comprehensive understanding of the site’s topography, historical flood data, and the client’s desire for a building that harmonizes with its natural surroundings while ensuring resilience against water-related threats. This led us to a series of detailed design decisions focusing on foundation choice, materiality, and adaptive design strategies that collectively contribute to the project’s sustainability, durability, and aesthetic appeal.

The design incorporates several adaptive strategies to enhance its resilience. The living areas are elevated well above historical flood levels, with utilities and services strategically located to minimize the risk of water damage. Non-essential, water-resistant storage spaces are situated on the ground level, designed to withstand occasional flooding with minimal impact. Large, overhanging eaves and rainwater harvesting systems reduce surface runoff, aiding in the management of rainwater on the site. Furthermore, the landscaping design employs bio-retention areas and native planting to absorb rainwater, reduce runoff, and enhance the site’s biodiversity.

Through these detailed design decisions, the project not only addresses the immediate challenges posed by its flood-prone location but also sets a precedent for sustainable and resilient architectural practices in similar environments. The combination of thoughtful foundation choice, appropriate materiality, and adaptive design strategies ensures that the residence not only stands as a testament to innovative architecture but also as a harmonious addition to the unique landscape of Ironbridge.

For further examples of designing riverside houses within the flood plain click here

Concept Sketch for new public viewing platform at the Museum of the Gorge, Ironbridge.

The Museum of the Gorge is a flagship historical building along the riverbank in Ironbridge. We presented a feasibility study and concept designs of how best to rejuvenate this prominent public visitors’ centre.

Given its location within flood zone 3 — an area with a high likelihood of experiencing regular flooding — our design strategy for the Museum of the Gorge was informed by the necessity for flood resilience. To this end, we incorporated removable interior finishes, ensuring that the space could be quickly adapted and protected in the event of flooding.

Implementing Flood-Resilient Solutions:

From elevated foundations to specialized access points and innovative storage solutions, we integrate cutting-edge designs to ensure your structure not only withstands flooding but also adapts seamlessly to its surroundings and works perfectly for the people who use the space.

Flood zones present a myriad of challenges beyond just water inundation. Collaborating with experts in flood management, land stability, ecology, arboriculture, and other fields, we encounter a multitude of complexities. This collaborative effort often leads to innovative design solutions that imbue our projects with distinctive and purposeful characteristics.


In conclusion, through the strategic implementation of flood-resilient features, such as elevated structures on stilts and adaptable interior finishes, spaces can not only be protected from the inevitable challenges of flooding but have also ensured their sustainability and functionality for the communities they serve.

From the visionary concept of a luxury home on stilts for a private client to the sensitive rejuvenation of the Museum of the Gorge, our work stands as a testament to the potential for architecture to harmonize with its natural surroundings, enhance community resilience, and safeguard our cultural heritage. By prioritizing flexibility, inclusivity, and sustainability in our designs, we aim to continue contributing to the development of spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but are also prepared to meet the challenges of their unique environmental contexts.

Our endeavours in Shropshire and beyond reflect a dedicated pursuit of excellence in creating spaces that thrive in harmony with the natural world, ensuring that both our communities and our architectural landmarks can endure and prosper for generations to come.

Contact us today to speak to one of our advisors and start your journey – 01746 768191

Concept Sketch for a visitors’ centre along the River Severn.




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