Filed under: design | Tags: floating houses, Holland architecture, waterstudio
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.
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.”
The mega straddle bus travels over top of traffic
China is one of the fastest growing countries on Earth, with millions of people in their mega-cities, their population is expected to double in the next 30 years. How will their government manage transportation for such a staggering number of people? Go-Go-Gadget city bus, a design I’m sure many have thought about, yet never imagined would come to fruition. This bus straddles the road allowing it to pass over the normal road traffic on China’s busy city streets. The buses are 6 meters (18 feet) wide and 4.5 meters (13.5 feet) high which means they take up two road lanes, while still being low enough to get under most of the cities overpasses.
Each of these mega-buses will have a capacity of 1200 passengers while they zip down the streets blanketing commuters. They are electric powered, using a relay charging system that would recharge the bus as it is traveling by maintaining contact with at least one high-power electrical conductor that makes contact with the roof of the bus. The bus will either be on a railway style system, similar typical trolly cars we have now, or equipped with laser sensing cameras using regular tires following a painted line. The cost savings of this opposed to underground methods are over 90%.
As wild as this bus appears to be, it’s no dream. The Mentougou district of Beijing is beginning to lay out 186km of tracks by this years end for a pilot program. And if all goes well, we can expect to see more of these straddling the many megacities right across China. The best part about it, it’s expected to save up to 860 tons of fuel per year, and reducing 2,640 tons of carbon emissions.