The British government have come to the realisation that the Palace of Westminster—the iconic UK Houses of Parliament designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin—is in desperate need of full-scale restoration and renovation. The decision to move ahead with the plans will be costly and inconvenient; aside from the need to repair the structure, the UK government is bracing itself for eye-watering "relocation" fees. In response to this, Gensler have proposed a temporary parliament on the banks of the River Thames.
"We're not only invested in building on water. It's not about 'floating architecture,' that's really not what my practice is focused on. It's really the relationship between water and the city, between water and humans."
In this intriguing interview produced by Louisiana Channel, founder of NLÉ Architects Kunlé Adeyemi discusses the relationship of his work to water through projects such as Chicoco Radio, their proposal for the Chicago Lakefront Kiosk contest, and of course the Makoko Floating School project. Reflecting on the role of water in human settlement, Adeyemi explains how designing with in the context of water introduces both challenges and opportunities, adding that around the world he believes "we are just starting to brace ourselves and learn to live with water as opposed to fighting it."
Thousands of years ago, a small civilization of hunter gatherers migrated to the coastal regions of Southeast Asia. These people progressed into a widespread tribe of travelling sea dwellers. To this day, they remain a stateless people with no nationality and no consistent infrastructure, sometimes living miles away from land. Yet these people are one of the few civilizations whose collective life practices have survived so long through human history. They are called the Badjao, and they have a surprising amount to teach us about architecture.
With the earth’s population increasing at an exponential rate, sustainable agriculture and access to clean water are becoming desperately important. Cristiana Favretto and Antonio Giraridi of Studiomobile recognize this and have proposed a solution. Dubbed the Jellyfish Barge for its shape and translucency, this floating greenhouse is capable of growing its own food hydroponically and producing up to 150 liters of fresh drinking water per day. Even more beneficial is its low-cost, easy-to-assemble design that can be implemented in a variety of locations. Learn more about how this fascinating project works, after the break.
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 cities 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!
In his talk at TEDx Vilnius, Koen Olthuis compares the cities of today with those at the turn of the 20th century: "cities 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.
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.
Read on after the break for more about how the project functions
In Bangladesh, where rising sea levels are having profound effects on the landscape, one nonprofit organization called Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha run by architect Mohammed Rezwan 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.
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, Finland investigates this concept. See more images and architect’s description after the break.