The rising of our planet's sea levels doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. According to one 2015 study [PDF], more than 400 towns and cities in the U.S. will eventually be underwater. With a more amphibian lifestyle on the horizon for millions of coastal residents, one architect has designed an experimental house in preparation for the worst.

As Fast Co. Design reports, architect Matthew Butcher's Flood House is a year-long architecture programming and events project. To build his prototype house, Butcher drew inspiration from structures he found in the Thames Estuary. He snapped photos of fishing sheds, naval sea forts, and World War II bunkers, and used these images as the aesthetic basis for his plywood and weatherboard boat house. Aside from a single painting, the interior is stark—the Flood House's main purpose is helping its inhabitants survive.  

When asked how our relationships to our homes will have to change, Butcher tells Fast Co. Design"It's this idea that you can deal with the problem of rising sea levels by building buildings that look exactly like houses on land on the sea [and that] these houses will have heating and exactly the same comforts that we’re used to experiencing. I think we have to address notions of comfort and this idea that we'll continue to live our lives as is."

This is a subject Butcher has had a lot of time to think about—he's spent the last 10 years investigating the fate of living conditions in flood-prone areas. Butcher hopes his prototype will inspire more architects to compromise comfort and learn to build more functional homes for extreme scenarios. The Flood House is currently being pulled around the Thames Estuary by a tugboat, and will be open to visitors there until May 14. 

[h/t Fast Co. Design]

All images courtesy of Instagram.