On the Mekong River in south-east Asia, floating homes have been an intricate part of life for years, providing safety during the rainy seasons and creating a safe vantage point from which to fish. In recent years, we have seen the integration of these age-old designs into the development of other cities around the world.
The Makoko Floating School building project designed by Kunlé Adeyemi in Lagos, for example, compromised alternative sustainable design that protected the structure from floods that frequently occur in the neighborhood. The prototype included a 1, 000-square-foot play area as well as solar cells, rainwater catchment systems, and composting toilets to help keep the school running. Unfortunately, the structure collapsed after heavy rainfalls.
This example shows us two things: 1.) floating structures have the potential to solve the housing problem in areas affected by flooding, and 2.) there is still a lot of work to be done before this method is used successfully.
Bloomington Bamboo Home by H&P Architects
With global sea levels rising around the world, this may be a home construction method to consider even if you don’t live in an area prone to flooding! These architects have created a home that adapts to Vietnam’s most flood-prone regions. When land is dry the structure sits on land, and as water levels begin to raise the structure will adapt to float. The home is built entirely from bamboo with steel beams used to keep it anchored. The best part is that the home is not only sustainable but also cheap to construct costing just $2, 500.
Student Housing by Urban Rigger
In major cities all over Europe, the problem of space has pushed architects to consider and construct structures that float on water. In Denmark, this has been triggered by the need to accommodate a large number of students that travel to the city for tertiary education. The architects at Urban Rigger have created the solution with their floating apartments that share a courtyard complete with a BBQ area, bike racks, and a kayak landing. The structure itself is built from recycled shipping containers and comes complete with solar panels and hydro source heating which utilizes the surrounding water as a free and clean heating source.
Floating homes could be the solution needed for a number of the problems urban planners face. But, there are still a number of aspects to consider before we can celebrate it as a solution.