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article imageA clever response to rising sea levels and increased urbanization

By Karen Graham     Nov 25, 2017 in Environment
With 70 percent of the world's population forecast to be living in urbanized areas by 2050 and the added fact that 90 percent of the world's largest cities are located along coastlines, we are forced to reimagine our future.
For the last 13 years, Dutch Architect Koen Olthuis has been designing floating structures at his firm Waterstudio, an architectural firm located in the Netherlands that is confronting the challenge of developing solutions to the problems posed by urbanization and climate change.
According to Olthuis' vision, architects today are an essential part of the climate change generation, and as such, need to take into account a perspective that envisions urban components that are dynamic instead of static. To that end, taking into account extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and increased urbanization, Olthius has created over 200 floating buildings around the world.
Rohingya refugees walk next to huts in a makeshift camp in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar distri...
Rohingya refugees walk next to huts in a makeshift camp in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district after Cyclone Mora made landfall in the region
STR, AFP
Waterstudio goes Bangladeshesh
Waterstudio's work ranges from the speculative, like Olthius' spectacular Sea Tree, to more immediate and practical design solutions like his Floating City Apps that use refitted shipping containers that float on beds of recycled plastic bottles. In 2016, Bangladesh experienced four cyclones, a record number for the country.
The country is one of the world's most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to flooding, storms and rising sea levels, with extreme weather events flooding many homes, schools, and commercial buildings every year. Waterstudio took on the challenge with a possible solution - floating structures that can withstand storms.
City Apps can be customized for several types of uses  including classrooms  water filtration system...
City Apps can be customized for several types of uses, including classrooms, water filtration systems, medical clinics, or homes.
Waterstudio
Five of the City app units are being sent this month to Korail, a low-income community in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They are portable and can move to different neighborhoods. During the day, one structure will be a classroom featuring 20 tablet workstations and two teaching screens. In the evening, it will be used as an internet cafe.
Four more units will consist of a community kitchen, a facility with a public restroom and shower, and another with a backup generator for electricity. The units are powered by solar panels located on the roofs. The great thing about these units is that they rise up and down with the water level. They are also designed to be watertight to resist flooding.
City App classroom in Amsterdam  Netherlands.
City App classroom in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Waterstudio
Apartment complex, Woubrugge, the Netherlands
This apartment complex consists of two groups of three buildings, arranged around two central courts. Each building contains two to four apartments. The dwellings at the sides are connected directly to the water by the living room, while the dwellings at the canal-side have the living-room raised above the boathouses.
On the canal-side, the roofs are highest and decline towards the road. From the road, the water can be seen right through the boathouse, which gives the complex a modest character. There is also parking spaces in the interior courtyard.
Apartmentcomplex  Woubrugge  the Netherlands
Apartmentcomplex, Woubrugge, the Netherlands
Waterstudio
The spectacular Sea Tree
Sea Tree is a floating structure that holds in many layers green habitats for only animals. This structure is not accessible by man. The sea tree is built by offshore technology quite similar to the oil storage towers which can be found on open seas.
The idea is that large oil companies can donate a sea tree to a city showing their concern for a better city environment by using their own intellectual property. The height and depth of this sea tree can be adjusted depending on the location. The sea tree moves a little, along with the wind and is moored to the seabed with a cable system.
To get a gander at some of the over 200 projects, many of them completed, and some of them still in the conceptual stages, go to Waterstudio Projects. Some of the concepts are incredible.
More about waterstudio, Architecture, floating city app, urbanization, Climate change
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