January 30, 2008, 4:16 am
Filed under: design | Tags: 

As of late I have turned into a NPR-a-holic!  I just can’t get enough of their reports of politics and the environment.  On my drive home last night I listened to a great concept that is coming out of Holland.   Architects there are designing homes that will go with the flow (sorry for the obvious) of nature.  If the sea levels continue rise, so will their houses.

This is a big concern with so many low lying areas in Holland.  Now, let me explain.  This isn’t your typical house boat you might be thinking in your head, but a house that allows it foundation rise and fall with the sea level.  When the water rises or falls, the houses float to up to 18 feet above ground by sliding along two mooring poles at the front and rear of the buildings.  There are a system of flexible pipes that keep the house connected to its necessary sewer and electrical lines.  They say that you will feel the waves, but nothing turbulent.

Floating House

After disasters such as Katrina we must design with prevention in mind so that history indeed will not repeat itself.  An architecture firm in Holland called Waterstudio is trying to address this problem head on.  They are leading the front with the floating houses, gardens and even have plans for floating roads.  The Dutch government is even backing them with government money for their projects.

I wonder if these ideas will catch on the US as we begin to rebuild cities that have been vacated by raising water.   Would people in this country be willing to live on water?  I can’t say that I would, but the concept is so intriguing.  As our country grows smaller with more people and less land, some of us might be forced seaward.  Until then we’ll wait and see how the homes in Holland fare, and in words of Modest Mouse, “We’ll all float on ok.”

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