Float! Building on Water to Combat Urban Congestion and Climate Change proposes a new way of building: on water instead of on land. Although the concept may seem revolutionary, it is an obvious solution to overcrowded metropolises. Most world cities are situated on the water and have too little space where it's most needed: in the city center. Building on water allows inner-city areas to expand.
Floating buildings have many advantages. They are both flexible and mobile. A buoyant structure can be moved to make space for a new building, decreasing the need for the demolition of a development that still has a productive economic future. Floating buildings outwit changing water levels by rising and falling with the tide and, in so doing, promote a more responsible water management. They leave no scars on their sites, permitting planners to actively meet the demands of the moment.
Floating buildings are not new. People of nearly every creed and culture have lived on houseboats since time immemorial. Using modern technologies borrowed from the offshore and shipping industries, architects and engineers can adapt existing construction methods for use in erecting large building complexes on water.
It's up to the architects of the climate-change generation to respond to the world's spatial needs with smart, sustainable proposals. Float! will help them to do just that.
Koen Olthuis is an architect at Waterstudio.NL.
David Keuning is on the editorial staff of Mark: Another Architecture, a bimonthly journal on architecture. His website is davidkeuning.com