M II A II R II K
May 12, 2011, 1:40 PM
Water Villas: 3 Modern House Boats in Urban Settings
Read More: http://weburbanist.com/2011/04/22/water-villas-3-modern-house-boats-in-urban-settings/
When the bustle of urban life becomes too much to bear, wouldn’t it be nice to retreat to your own private floating getaway – without even needing to travel? Modern house boats have all the amenities that come with living on land, and docked in an urban marina or canal, they’re just steps away from the excitement of the city. As urban centers become more populated and land more scarce, house boats could be an attractive option, especially when they’re as beautifully designed as these three.
As fluid as the water it sits on and filled with light thanks to a wall of windows, the Watervilla de Omval is a stunning addition to the river Amstel in Amsterdam. Designed by +31 Architects, the Watervilla features a kitchen and living space at the top level with a view of the river, and cabins below the water line.
Built on two catamaran beams, this steel-and-glass house boat floats in the Dubai marina against one of the world’s most dramatic skylines. X-Architects and interior decorator-architect Leen Vandaele gave the two-story home a clean and simple shape and a nearly all-white color palette for a thoroughly modern result.
If you’ve got a quarter of a million dollars to spare, you can have a MetroShip of your very own – a modern luxury houseboat hand-made in the USA by Ballinger & Co. Measuring 12 feet wide and 48 feet long, the MetroShip was inspired by the open plan of New York City loft spaces.
M II A II R II K
May 12, 2011, 5:47 PM
Water Architect Koen Olthuis on Floating Buildings & Hydro-Cities
By Diane Pham and Jill Fehrenbacher
Page 1 of 4: http://inhabitat.com/inhabitat-interview-water-architect-koen-olthuis-on-floating-buildings-hydro-cities/
Architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.nl has been fascinating the Inhabitat editors for years with his innovative floating buildings and aqua-tecture. Far from being confined by convention — or by the boundaries of dry land — Olthuis has made a name for himself as an architect who pushes the boundaries of possibility when it comes to the built environment. With a studio focused on designing floating buildings for a future water world, Waterstudio.nl has designed everything from floating apartment complexes in the Netherlands to a floating mosque in the UAE to even an entire floating community of islands for the Maldives. While we’ve spoken in depth with Koen before about flood-resistant architecture, floating buildings and what he calls ‘sustainaquality’ — in the light of the latest tragedies that have hit Japan, we have to ask: how and relevant and sound is water architecture for today’s concerns?
Inhabitat: You’ve made quite a name for yourself as a designer of floating buildings. What attracts you to floating architecture? What got you started in this space?
Koen: I grew up in the Netherlands, half of which is situated below sea level. Thirty percent of its surface is covered with lakes, rivers and canals. What got me started was my refusal to believe that water is a border for urban components – I wanted to go beyond the waterfront. But what attracts me the most about floating architecture is the enormous flexibility water offers us, and the virtually unexplored limitless possibilities water brings to metropolises worldwide. Planning for urban change using water will help us cope with the yet unforeseen effects of climate change and urbanization.
Inhabitat: What is your favorite floating building project that you’ve worked on and why?
Koen: I would say the floating harbor for Dubai. This project ticks all the boxes in terms of what’s important in communicating the potential of floating developments, helping to make them a reality worldwide:
- The size. Shaped as a triangle with three sides of some 700 meters each, the buildings dimensions are huge.
- Change of perception. It’s one of those buildings that makes you realize how solutions can sometimes be found by thinking differently. A harbor itself can be floating too.
- A different kind of architecture. On the water there is more space, so we can project buildings that do not have to fit within the urban limitations of size and structure.
- The sustainable possibilities. The building shows how building on the water can take advantage of new technologies in creating sustainable projects. This building for example will use water cooling and generate its own energy by means of solar cells.
- Technical innovation. The building will also function as a breakwater for the inner harbor which is used for the smaller transit boats. The structure itself thus provides protection for wind and waves.
- Showcase of proven technology. The building uses a combination of existing offshore technologies like huge oil tankers, oil rigs, ocean liners, and so on; each of these elements show us how solutions can be found if we look beyond the confines of our own architectural profession.
Inhabitat: Floating architecture might be a hard concept to understand for people who aren’t used to this idea – how do you help potential clients and stakeholders visualize your ideas?
Koen: The biggest challenge we face is to convince our clients and stakeholders, and this comes through changing their perception. With floating developments people tend to think about boats and small structures. With our visualization tools, as well as our animations, we can offer our clients a view into their future situation. These computer tools make it possible to show the floating building in all kinds of scenarios, whether they are the effects of climate change through rising water levels, or simply the local site situation.
Inhabitat: In the wake of the tsunami that hit Japan recently, there is for good reason growing concern about building near the water, let alone building directly upon the water. How safe are floating buildings or developments? What precautions are taken to ensure their safety?
Koen: We dare to say that if your land is threatened by water, the safest place is to be is in fact on the water. The effects of the average tsunami are much less on open waters than close to the shore because the wave will gain height as it hits the shore. All our plans are the result of intense engineering by the best maritime engineering companies that taking into account the existing and expected extreme weather conditions, as well as local wave conditions. Together with insurance companies, and using maritime safety regulations, we find a balance between safety and feasibility. The enormous shockwave, caused by earthquakes like the one we recently saw in Japan, will be absorbed by the water and not affect the floating developments. The flash-floods that made even land based houses float will indeed also affect floating developments in urban waters and near the shore, but they will be subjected to less damage from the impact because they are already floating and will move in tandem with the waves.
Inhabitat: How does floating architecture tie into sustainable design?
Koen: The first and most important goal in all of our plans is to design scarless developments. This means that both during as well as after the lifespan of the functions, the building leaves neither a physical footprint nor carbon footprint. Compared with building on land, water provides several opportunities for a more sustainable design approach. For example, one can think of water cooling and heating. These developments can use sea wind for cooling, floating solar fields for the local production of energy, and there is also potential for re-using a building at other locations and organizing the building process more efficiently by centralizing construction. ‘Sustainaquality’ is the search for new ways to increase sustainable developments. Sustainaquality brings together sustainability- aqua and quality.
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