Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Selen Okcu


Rising sea levels, a consequence of climate change, pose a significant and escalating threat to coastal communities worldwide. Projections indicate that by 2050, sea levels may rise by an estimated 1 to 2 feet, potentially affecting not only coastal but also inland communities. The ramifications of rising sea levels encompass heightened risks of flooding, erosion, and saltwater intrusion. These impacts have multifaceted consequences, ranging from evident transportation disruptions and damage to underground and ground-level structures to more subtle yet equally critical effects on infrastructure, ecosystems, potable water reservoirs, community displacement, and economic activities.

In response to this pressing challenge, a collective effort among scientists, architects, and engineers has been dedicated to exploring various solutions. These proposals encompass diverse strategies, including the concept of floating architecture, which envisions communities living on the water’s surface. Another approach involves constructing resilient structures elevated on robust stilts in flood-prone regions. Additionally, there is a focus on preserving existing buildings through waterproofing techniques and the adaptive repurposing of vulnerable areas in flood-prone zones. While these ideas exhibit creativity and thoughtful consideration, it is imperative to recognize that they may not exhaustively explore the full spectrum of possibilities and opportunities presented by this complex issue. One innovative avenue to address the challenges posed by rising sea levels is the development of hybrid marine urban communities. This approach entails updating existing structures to withstand erosion and saltwater intrusion while concurrently designing new architecture that harmonizes with the evolving environment. For instance, the rehabilitation of salvageable structures, particularly concrete buildings, could involve reinforcing their foundations with saltwater and erosion-resistant concrete. Subsequently, the design process can transition to the creation of structures elevated above floodplains by means of being supported by elevated columns. In cases where stilt-based construction is no longer feasible due to environmental limitations, such as ocean depth, architects can explore the concept of floating architecture. This hybridized approach emphasizes the preservation of existing urban fabric while embracing innovation, resulting in a dynamic coexistence of old and new. By aligning design strategies with environmental change, this approach unlocks novel opportunities and expands the horizons of architectural possibilities.