• ArchiExpo e-Magazine - #24 - Gone Blue - ArchiExpo e-Magazine

    Gone Blue

    In this issue you will learn more on designing and constructing buoyant structures, focusing on the architectural do’s and don’ts for the floating home. We explore the design concept for the marine research center for Bali by Solus4, currently meeting various entities to bring this project to life, and we offer more on aquatecture projects that promote innovation.

    We provide details on the University of Sheffield’s new engineering building called The Diamond, and discuss the latest trend of drones for ports and skyscrapers. Another successful year at ICFF, our contributing journalist tackles architectural planning for small spaces through the point of view of renowned architects.  During Chicago’s design fair NeoCon, New York-based architecture firm Family presented its +Pool project: the floating swimming pool that will filter 600,000 gallons of river water.

     Front cover photo credit, all rights reserved: Friso Spoelstra, Boat People of Amsterdam, Lemniscaat, 2013

    Hot Topic
    Challenging how we view habitation off land
    The Floating City Project. Courtesy of Tangram 3DS

    As sea levels are on the rise, the need for “Aquatecture” surges. Architects and designers have been implementing ideas that reconsider water for several years. The New Orleans’ FLOAT House designed by Morphosis architects in 2009, for example, is a prefabricated home with a secure chassis made to float in case of...

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    Hot Topic
    Mobile both on land and at sea
    ®Friso Spoelstra

    Thousands of Europeans are moving from a life by the sea to a life on the sea as floating homes are spreading like water lilies from the canals of Copenhagen to Portugal’s tranquil lakes. House boats have been around for long, but floating homes with the comforts, the stability and the space of a house on land have not.

    The 100-Year Solution

    Jesper Dirk Andersen is CEO of Dirkmarine, a Copenhagen and London-based firm offering houses as well as offices, restaurants and show rooms floating on a hull of concrete.

    Dirkmarine house on water

    Dirkmarine house on water

    “I’m a ship engineer and used to be employed in a company building tunnels. One day I was gazing out of my office window in Copenhagen and saw families crawling in and out of tiny hatches on house boats with babies and strollers and I thought to myself that it ought to be possible to live on the sea in a more practical fashion,” he told ArchiExpo.

    That was 15 years ago and today Dirkmarine provides the HUBB (HoUse Boat Bottom) solution, a customized and concrete hull designed to last 100 years without maintenance even in the icy, Nordic waters. The homes are generally two stories, 7 by 14 meters with a living space of 140 square meters, but Dirkmarine has delivered a 25 by 20 meters floating stage with 300 square meters both above and below deck.

    “We produce all our concrete hulls ourselves. We follow and check every step very thoroughly and have throughout the 15 years had a faultless record,” said Andersen.

    Dirkmarine house on water

    On top of being maintenance-free for a century, the concrete hull has a high stability and improves sea life; mussels and seaweed grows on the hull, which attracts fish and shrimp.

    Floating home owners tend to want to both live in close contact with nature and without straining the environment. So demands for low impact high yield solutions are many. From Dirkmarine one of the offerings is drawing on the one element always at hand by a floating home.

    We use the river or sea water, run it through a heat pump made to withstand salt water, and generate the under floor heating and all the warm water needed on a floating home.”


    Latitude & Size Variations

    A new comer to lakes and canals is Friday, a spin off from the University of Coimbra on the Mondego river north of Lisbon, Portugal. The start up is delivering its first FloatWing floating homes to clients in Zanzibar, France and China this summer.

    The FloatWing is built in five different sizes on a platform six meters in width and 10 to 18 meters in length. They come with a guarantee of being up to 80 percent energy self sufficient in a year depending on the latitude and size of solar panels. So while the house is built for any sheltered water between Dubai and Tromsø’s frosty fjords north of the Arctic Circle in Norway, the self sufficiency won’t be the same if clients want to keep the internal temperature at a comfort level of 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, which are FloatWing standards.

    “In Portugal you won’t need the generator between April and September as the solar panels creates the energy the house needs. We’ve been researching various locations for the autonomy of the house and if it sits in Tromsø then it won’t be like in Portugal or Dubai. There the electrical autonomy would be 20 percent of a year cycle,” professor Fernando Seabra Santos, Friday’s CEO, told ArchiExpo.

    While the company’s homes are built on a fiberglass catamaran construction, the materials used in the living areas are all wood.

    “We use natural materials from this part of the world. The entire house is insulated with a ten centimetre sandwich of cork and we use Nordic pine wood as internal material. Not just for walls and floors, but also for kitchen, closets and toilet. Floating homes often use more artificial materials as plastic and fiberglass, but ours are natural,” said Santos.

    Courtesy of Friday

    “Our first prototype was made of steel, but we chose to go with fiberglass to lower the weight of the house by three to four tons. The choice of a catamaran shape makes it very stabile. If you put 12 people on one side of the house it only tilts by one degree,” he said.

    All of the technical parts, the batteries and water management are kept in the floaters. So is the waste water management that offers three stages of treatment including inverse osmosis purifying the water to a degree where it’s almost drinkable.

    Concrete vs Fiberglass

    Unlike the heavier concrete hulls offered by other manufacturers, the fiberglass catamaran is mobile both on land and at sea. The company delivers the floating home and offers to transport it in two or three standard containers and reassemble anywhere. At sea it’s fitted to move by itself.

    Courtesy of Friday

    “Our houses have two outboard motors offering a moderate speed of about four knots. The idea being that you may choose to sleep in a new place every night. It gives you full autonomy,” said Friday CEO Fernando Seabra Santos.

    “It’s when you open the glass walls and the space doubles, you really feel you are on water. The breeze fills the house and it’s an amazing sensation.”

    Hot Topic
    Designed to withstand any natural phenomenon
    Courtesy of Tangram

    Under a sparkling horizon and 160 meters off the shores of Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia, a new 2,500-square-meter floating structure remains currently in the design phase. The architectural studio behind the design of the Marine Research Center, Solus4 has come up with a new typology for stationary in-water projects...

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    Martin Selsøe Sørensen

    Nordic journalist Martin Selsøe Sørensen reports as a correspondent based in Istanbul.

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    Joann Plockova

    Joann Plockova is a Prague-based freelance journalist, focused on design and travel.

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    Erin Tallman

    Erin Tallman is a journalist and the Editor in Chief for ArchiExpo e-magazine. She contributes to other online publications and, as an author, has already published her first novel.

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    Vanessa Liwanag

    Vanessa Liwanag, is an MBA alumni of the prestigious Mod’Art International in Paris and founder of Creative Talents Worldwide.

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    Hilary Edesess

    Hilary Edesess is a freelance journalist based in Marseille, France. She blogs about culture, art and urban design.

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    Alex Ulam

    Alex Ulam is a freelance journalist and design critic based in New York.

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    Erin Gigl

    Erin Gigl is a freelance design and travel writer, editor and artist.

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