INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Waterstudio’s Koen Olthuis on FLOAT!

by , 06/12/13

FLOAT, koen olthuis, waterstudio, floating architecture, floating houses, sustainable architecturePhotocredits: Architect Koen Olthuis – Waterstudio.NL and Dutch Docklands

Q. What is the largest or tallest building you believe can be constructed as a floating structure?

A. I believe technically we can build even beyond imagination, but making a feasible structure on water you have to mirror with offshore technology. Floating oil rigs that are 100 meters high and cruise ships that are 700 meters long show the possibilities for floating structures; we only have to add new functions and respect needed comfort targets for living on water.

Q. Tell us about buoyant concrete — when do you see it becoming available?

In 5 years time I foresee the product ready for large-scale projects on water. You can pour this concrete in any shape and it weighs less than water (400 kilograms per meter cubed). We are waiting for the right strength, which has to be developed by using different kinds of strengthening fibres in the aerated concrete. When more water-based building developments start to happen the innovation behind these kinds of material solutions will take off rapidly.

Q. Are there are any floating projects currently built that are completely off-grid, powered by renewable energy and self-sufficient?

A. There are ecocities on water on the drawing board now for China and the Maldives. The urge for sustainable urban solutions is very high, and water provides new ways of providing energy. It is logical that this will be used for off-grid urban communities on water, in or outside the city.

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  1. Tim Troxler February 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    This kind of thing appeals to me on many levels. Another nice benefit is that a neighborhood doesn not have to be subject to many months of noise, truck traffic and construction dust from new building construction. All that takes place far away and then the building is floated into place. But it would be a difficult sell for New York, where open water is fiercely protected by state DEPs. The understanding is that shading reduces the quality of aquatic habitat. But the US does have examples of huge floating buildings. I’ve seen the giant casinos along the Mississippi. They are built to float in man-made lagoons so that they are technically not on land, but in the river, and thus subject to different laws.

  2. Andrew Woodhouse September 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I M P O R T A N T

    I need the email address of Koen Olthuis, WATER STUDIO NL as soon as possible please for a major design project for Sydney Harbour, Australia, cruise ship terminal.

    Thank you
    Andrew Woodhouse,
    Potts Point and Kings Cross Heritage Conservation Society

    30th Septemebr, 2011
    Ph 0011 66 415 949 506

  3. Diane Fischer June 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    I saw it today at William Stout Architectural Books shop on Mission Street in San Francisco.

  4. AllForTheGreen April 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    It should not be this hard to find a book.. anyone know where I can pick this up?

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