Addressing growing concern over climate change and the rising level of the world’s oceans, Russian architectural firm Remistudio has designed a massive hotel concept that can endure extreme floods. The arch-shaped building, dubbed the Ark, has a structure that enables it to float and exist autonomously on the surface of the water. The Ark was also designed to be a bioclimatic house with independent life-support systems, including elements ensuring a closed-functioning cycle.
The Ark concept, which Remistudio designed in connection with the International Union of Architects’ program “Architecture for Disaster Relief,” can be built in various climates and in seismically dangerous regions because its basement is a shell structure, devoid of ledges or angles. A load-bearing system of arches and cables allows weight redistribution along the entire corpus in case of an earthquake. The building’s clever design enables an optimal relationship between its volume and its outer surface, significantly saving materials and providing energy efficiency. Its prefabricated frame also allows for fast construction.
The Ark constitutes a single energy system. Its shape is convenient for installing photovoltaic cells at an optimal angle toward the sun. The cupola, in the upper part, collects warm air which is gathered in seasonal heat accumulators to provide an uninterrupted energy supply for the whole complex independently from outer environmental conditions. The heat from the surrounding environment — the outer air, water or ground — is also used.
Planting greenery is the next step in creating a bioclimatic building and the Ark is filled with it. The tall, illuminated inside space creates well-lit places to grow plants at any time of day. Enough daylight penetrates through the transparent roof to illuminate the inner rooms as well. The tiered balconies serve as social and recreational areas and the Ark has an open layout that can easily be adapted to different functions over time.
The Ark’s structural solidity is provided by compression of timber arches and tension of steel cables. The framework is covered by a special foil made of ethyltetrafluoroethylene, or ETFE. It is a strong, highly transparent foil that is self-cleaning, recyclable, and more durable, cost-efficient and lighter than glass. The foil itself is affixed to the framework by special metal profiles, which serve as solar collectors for heating water and as gutters for collecting rainwater from the roof.