Innovative public project showcases ways to make buildings more resilient to flooding

A woman is carried during flooding in Houston, Texas in 2017. Credit Zachary West / National Guard

Experts have devised a fascinating and innovative way to showcase the impacts of flooding and help drive fresh perspectives on helping combat the threat for properties of all types,  through Lego.

A team of experts, including Dr Peter Melville-Shreeve from the University of Exeter, have co-developed a pioneering new LEGO serious play model, that allows the public to think about new and effective ways to make buildings more resilient to flooding.

Called the LEGO Flood House set, the kit showcases the difference between two terrace houses – one that has no flood defences and the other that can deploy measures such as flood doors, deployable barriers, and automatic airbricks.

The idea behind the set is to demonstrate some off the novel  ways smart design can protect buildings and homes from the devastating impacts of flooding, as well as showcase idea to make them more resilient.

The project comes as figures show that one on four homes across the UK are at risk of flooding – and the impact of such events can be both severe and long lasting.

With flood risk increasing as a result of climate change, the team behind the project believe it is crucial to find creative ways to communicate the risks, and also inspire the next generation of problem solvers.

Crucially, the project team suggest that with Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures remaining an integral tool against the impact of flooding, it is vital to educate and inform the public understand what measures can be taken themselves.

Dr Melville-Shreeve from the University of Exeter said”: “Flooding is an increasing reality for many people which is being exacerbated by climate change. The reality is that we can build flood defences, but they will not protect every home as winter storms become more intense and frequent. 

“In the future we need to adapt, and that’s what this LEGO set is all about – helping people visualise some of the ways they can protect against flooding and even ways in which they can prevent flooding for others with some changes in the home and garden, like making gardens permeable again.”

The LEGO Flood House set is the latest project from Blue Heart initiative.  Started in 2021, the six year project is designed to both provide a more detailed understanding of local water catchment and how it works, as well as mitigate the impact of flooding caused by climate change through technology. The main design work has been undertaken by Dr Ed Barsley from The Environmental Design Studio (

Blue Heart will build a smart integrated water management system that gives warning of heavy rainfall, will calculate the most the optimum response and issue flood warnings and alerts where necessary. This technology will trigger watercourses, ponds and lakes to release water so they are ready to contain incoming storm water. Homes and businesses will benefit from better flood mitigation.

Led by East Sussex County Council, the project is supported by the University of Exeter and partners with a host of groups and agencies including the  Environment Agency, Pevensey and Cuckmere Water Level Management Board, Eastbourne Borough Council, Wealden District Council and Southern Water.

For more information about Blue Heart and LEGO Flood House project, and to sign up, please visit