Inhabitat: You're a proponent of the Hydro-City, and this is not just because you're from a country that sits below sea level. What are the advantages of floating buildings? Of a floating city? What are the challenges and the limitations?
Koen:Floating urban components will be a new tool in the ongoing search to make our greatest cities worldwide more sustainable and livable. I strongly believe that we will enter an era of consumption urbanism in which floating urban components will help us to react quickly and sustainably to the growing mix of changes. Cities will start using City Apps, which are a set of combined urban components that can be ordered via City Apps Stores. In these stores a city council or government can lease a function that can offer instant relief to a occurring problem. These city apps are already built and in stock. When someone leases a City App it can be transported in smaller urban components to cities worldwide over water. This will create a new market and flexibility. The life span of the urban components themselves are very long, so that if they are not needed any more they can be sent back to the lease company or been sold to another city. City Apps are not so different from smart phone apps - they upgrade the functionality of the existing hardware, which in this case is a city's structure.
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? Read our exclusive interview where Olthuis explains the sustainability of building on water, as well as how he uses 3D modeling technology to help both clients and skeptics visualize how building on water could change the world.