The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and half of it is at or below sea levels.  Two-thirds of the country would be inundated if there were no dikes and coastal protection.  With increasing floods and rising sea levels, many are concerned as to what the landscape will look like in decades to come.  The Dutch development team of DuraVermeer has come up with quite the innovative solution to the changing climate… Amphibious homes!

Designed by architecture firm, Gouden Kust, a development of 46 homes has been built in the city of Maasbommel, a site 60 miles southeast of Amsterdam intentionally chosen for its regularly high water levels.

Each house is made of lightweight wood, and the concrete base is hollow, giving it ship-like buoyancy.  With no foundations anchored in the earth, the structure rests on the ground and is fastened to 15-foot-long mooring posts with sliding rings, allowing it to float upward should the river flood. All the electrical cables, water and sewage flow through flexible pipes inside the mooring piles.  Here are graphic and video models of how the homes work:

Dutch design firm, Waterstudio, has also focused its attention towards floating buildings.  It has some fun projects in the works (like the one pictured below), as well as some more abstract plans, including a floating and rotating hotel tower and a floating mosque in Dubai.

Another key player in the world of buoyant buildings is Dutch Docklands, a company devoted to water based development.  They have several projects moving forward in Dubai, as well as a floating city in the IJmeer region of the Netherlands.  I would also highly recommend checking out this link, HERE, to see Dutch Docklands incredible Floating Beach plan….

To come full circle, Dura Vermeer is planning a floating city of its own near Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, which could include floating schools, hospitals and shops! Construction is planned in 2010. (pic below)

These innovative approaches to the serious and daunting threat of climate change are both exciting and inspiring… It really is incredible to think of what can be accomplished through a shared vision of development, government and an informed populous.  In fifty years time, this long-term planning could save a city from looking like this:


About Joshua Foss

Joshua is a leading voice for transformational change. He is the editor of Metro Hippie, co-founder and director of development of the Ecala Group, and adjunct faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is also an ambassador for the Living Building Challenge and is a frequent speaker at national conferences, trade shows and summits.