Leave it to the Dutch to come up with “amphibious houses” – a concept that makes sense in a landscape where solid ground is yearly sinking. Residents and planners are looking into the future with concern over flooding and heavy rain, an issue that will be compounded by rising water levels from global warming.
In response to this problem, the field of maritime architecture is gaining momentum. One notable architect, Koen Olthuis, has created some astoundingly beautiful water dwellings. What differentiates these from standard houseboats is a patented technology which allows the foundation of the construction to be transformed into a float. A foam core is encased in concrete, with steel cables securing it against the pull of potential currents.
Olthius’ company is looking not only at individual residences, but at creating maritime settlements, which is easily done, since his designs are linkable, “like LEGO blocks.” In the bottom image, one such settlement is pictured from an aerial perpective, giving a sense of the layout of these swimming developments.
The reassurance offered to residents in knowing that their homes will respond to rising water by floating on the surface is invaluable. Such technologies will obviously be relevant and necessary in many other parts of the world as demands for space drive people towards the coast, and climate change creates unpredictable scenarios for those who take up residence there.
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