Design Knowledge Intermediary
Climate change may lead to a rise in floating architecture
Climate change poses a serious question: how will our cities cope with rising sea levels? Some architects believe that floating buildings offer the answer, and have come up with a wide variety of designs to prove it, from simple prefab homes to entirely amphibious neighborhoods.
A more ambitious proposal is also planned for the Dutch capital -- earlier this year, Danish firm BIG and Rotterdam studio Barcode Architects revealed designs for a huge housing complex that will float on the IJ lake. The 46,000-square-meter building will provide a gateway to IJburg, a whole neighborhood set on artificial islands.
BIG is also promoting floating architecture in its home city, having already completed a student housing building made from shipping containers in Copenhagen's harbor. The project demonstrates how floating architecture can be achieved on a budget. "It's the only building type that will never flood," said BIG partner Kai-Uwe Bergmann when it completed last year.
One city where the risk of flooding is more critical than most is Lagos, Nigeria. In a bid to overcome the challenges of the rising tide, architect Kunlé Adeyemi has designed a number of floating buildings, including a school and a radio station. "Given the impact of climate change, we can begin to think a lot more about the opportunity for living with water as opposed to fighting it," he said in a 2015 interview.
Some architects see floating architecture as an opportunity for easy travel. A team from Portugal's University of Coimbra has created a prefabricated floating house that can be shipped anywhere in the world, allowing its occupants to take residence on some of the world's most remote rivers and lakes.
Others are using this typology as an opportunity to have a bit of fun. In Seattle, visitors to the WA Sauna can take a plunge into a cold lake after warming up inside a floating wooden hut.

- www.edition.cnn.com