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Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Netherlands And Floating Houses

A pretty interesting Spiegel article. The Dutch are planning to build entire towns of houses that have a hollow foundation - basically a pontoon. They are anchored to steel columns sunk deep in the earth. If water rises, the houses float up:
At first glance, they seem quite unremarkable. Two storeys high, semicircular metal roofs and yellow, green or blue facades - hardly any clues let on that these are The Netherlands' first amphibious houses. The cellar, in this case, is not built into the earth. Instead, it is on a platform - and is much more than a mere storage room. The hollow foundation of each house works in the same way as the hull of a ship, buoying the structure up above water. To prevent the swimming houses from floating away, they slide up two broad steel posts - and as the water level sinks, so they sink back down again.
And they have plans for whole office buildings too:
One of the leading architects in this relatively new discipline of maritime architecture is Koen Olthuis. His aptly named Waterstudio.nl office has already designed a number of contemporary houseboats with a parking deck for the car and lower deck storage for a motorboat. Now, his team is even coming up with plans for office buildings a hundred meters in height that "swim." The key to making this idea a reality is a patented technique whereby the foundation of the construction can be transformed into a float. A foam core is encased in concrete, with steel cables securing it against the pull of potential currents. Individual pontoons, whether for residential blocks or chicken coops, can be joined to one another like Lego blocks. As a result, a maritime settlement is born.
Seriously, some of the lower-lying areas in New Orleans might profit from something like this. It's also fun to think about.


Comments:
Houseboats. Oh, the thoughts running through my mind..
 
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