A new architectural movement is leading to fresh opportunities for off-grid living – close to the rivers and seas that carry so much of our food. We will be following it closely on this web site.
Instead of bringing the water to our homes, why not bring our homes to the water? Especially at a time when rising sea levels threaten the flooding of some of the world’s greatest cities?
Aquatecture is a fundamentally new reappraisal of how we co-exist with the sea and rivers. Leading exponents include Baca Architects, London. Their first domestic project went on site last month.
The Netherlands, which The Washington Post sees as “the world’s premier lab for how to tame rivers and seas,” is also at the forefront of building “amphibious houses,” which are designed to adapt and respond to rising sea levels.
As architect Haiko Cornelissen points out, during times of flooding, each amphibious house is “able to float on the water, held in place by guides, and continues to function thanks to flexible utilities. The amphibious house is more a new type of construction than a new type of house.” If you’d like, you can even make them solar-powered, and live completely off the grid. Or, consider the cool concepts from WaterStudio.NL for waterfront living: floating villas, floating hotels, floating mosques, heck, even floating golf courses.
And, it’s not just the Dutch who are coming up with creative ideas for new living arrangements in the post-Sandy area. As part of design competitions hosted in the months after Superstorm Sandy hit, there have been numerous concepts for innovative housing that would respond to a Superstorm. Inhabitat recently featured six smart, flood-resistant homes. One of the neatest ideas is something the designer is calling Shut Up the House – it’s a beachfront home that converts into a tiny, folded wooden box until the storm passes over. And Rebuild by Design just unveiled 10 new innovative concepts for protecting waterfront communities.
But amidst all this fine talk, lets not forget the humble houseboat – moored on a canal or even a river – its a very low-tech solution to many existing urban housing problems.
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
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