Round-Up: Floating Architecture

Courtesy of NLÉ architects

If a Ted Talk by Koen Olthius, this article in the Guardian, and Brazil‘s pioneering plan (currently in the pipeline) are anything to go by, now may be the time for futuristic, floating to become a reality. With that in mind, we’ve taken the opportunity to gather the best examples of floating architecture already constructed, including: a low-cost floating school in Lagos; an entire floating neighborhood in Ijburg, Amsterdam; a trio of cultural buildings in Seoul‘s Han River; a set of hotels in a remote area of Cisnes, Chile; and finally a beautiful home on Lake Union in Seattle. Enjoy!

TED Talk: 10 Reasons that Future Cities Will Float

YouTube Preview Image

In his talk at TEDx Vilnius, Koen Olthuis compares the of today with those at the turn of the 20th century: ” are not full, we just have to search for new space… they made elevators and built a vertical city. We have to do exactly the same, but our generation has to look at water.” With that in mind he looks at the top 10 reasons that floating cities are becoming a more popular idea, including: they provide solutions for topical issues such as flooding and sustainability; they can be used as ‘plug in’ travelling global amenities, useful for things like Olympic Stadiums; or could even allow us to rearrange urban areas.

VIDEO: The Floating Metropolis That Could Support Brazil’s Offshore Oil Rigs

In Brazil, the offshore oil mining industry is expanding. Unfortunately for oil companies though, it’s expanding away from the coast, as new oil deposits are found further and further from land – so far, in fact, that they’re outside the range of the helicopters that usually transport workers to and from the rigs. That’s why Rice University students took on the challenge of designing “Drift & Drive,” a floating community where workers and their families could stay for extended periods of time, eliminating the inconvenience of the usual “two weeks on, two weeks off” cycle.

The project won the Odebrecht Award last year, and now one of the largest petrochemical companies in , Petrobras, is working on a plan to implement elements of the design.

Read on after the break for more about how the project functions

Local Solutions: Floating Schools in Bangladesh

© Joseph A Ferris III

In Bangladesh, where rising sea levels are having profound effects on the landscape, one nonprofit organization called Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha run by architect  is fighting back by adapting, a true quality of resilience.  Rising water levels and the tumultuous climate is displacing people by the thousands; a projected 20% of Bangladesh is expected to be covered in water within twenty years.  For a country that is one of the densest populated state on the planet, this figure has disastrous consequences for a population that has limited access to fresh water, food, and medicine.  In response to these conditions, Shidhulai has focused on providing education, training and care against the odds of climate change by adapting to the altered landscape:  moving schools and community centers onto the water – on boats.

Water Villa Omval / +31 Architects

© +31 Architects

Resting on the water, +31 Architects latest residence offers a gently curving form complete with a roof terrace.  While the main level holds the living spaces, a flight of stairs brings residents to the terrace which offers wide views over the Amstel.  Lowering the bedroom half a story, allows for a logical transition not only to the above terrace by also to below for access from the ground floor to the basement.   A large void brings daylight into the basement and allows provides a visual connection betweent he floors.   According to the architects, “The split-level principle of the watervilla is accentuated by the round design of the facade.”

More images after the break.

Icebergs / Daniel Andersson

Courtesy of

Daniel Andersson shared with us his project Icebergs.  An iceberg only shows the tip above the water surface, the rest stays hidden below. These floating summer cottages in sheltered bays an lakes around Åland Islands, investigates this concept. See more images and architect’s description after the break.

Floating Dining Room / Goodweather Design & Loki Ocean

© Courtesy of & The School of Fish Foundation

Architects: Goodweather Design &
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Project Team: Michael Lis, Matt Kirk-Buss, Larraine Henning
Client: School of Fish Foundation
Project Area: 24 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Goodweather Design & The School of Fish Foundation

© Courtesy of Goodweather Design & The School of Fish Foundation