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Amsterdam pioniert met duurzaam drijvende woonwijk

By Joyce Boverhuis
EenVandaag
July.01.2019

 

Dit jaar krijgt Amsterdam de meest duurzame drijvende woonwijk van Europa met de naam ‘Schoonschip’. Bouwen op het water is volgens deskundige Koen Olthuis een uitkomst.

Koen Olthuis is architect en eigenaar van Waterstudio.nl. Voor hem is bouwen op water bijna een religie. Hij gelooft in ‘the rise of the blue city’. Tokyo, Miami, Jakarta, Olthuis reist de wereld rond om steden te voorzien van advies over bouwen op water. Zijn motto: ‘Green is good, blue is better’.

Niet vechten tegen water

Olthuis: “Met de stijgende zeespiegel is het voor sommige steden veel veiliger om te bouwen op water. Daarnaast kan het water gebruikt worden voor duurzame verkoeling en verwarming.” Olthuis wijst ook op het gebrek aan bouwgrond in Nederland. “Er moeten jaarlijks honderdduizenden woningen bijkomen om de krapte op de woningmarkt op te vangen. In de stad is op land geen ruimte meer, dan moeten we toch gebruik maken van water?”

Olthuis verbaast zich erover dat we in Nederland zoveel energie steken in het wegpompen van water, terwijl we er ook óp kunnen wonen. “Bouwen op water heeft enorm veel voordelen. Huizen op water zijn verplaatsbaar, mee te draaien met de zon, aanpasbaar aan het seizoen. We vechten in Nederland tégen het water, maar waarom maken we er niet meer gebruik van?”

Milieubewuste verwarming

Remco de Boer is expert op het gebied van energietransitie. Hij zegt dat we ons in Nederland niet meteen zorgen hoeven te maken over overstroming door een stijgende zeespiegel. “We zijn een rijk land en kunnen ons wapenen, bijvoorbeeld door de bouw van nieuwe Deltawerken.”

Voor de veiligheid hoeven we wat De Boer betreft in Nederland niet uit te wijken naar bouwen op water. “Dat is natuurlijk anders in landen als Bangladesh.” De Boer ziet net zoals Olthuis wel dat water gebruikt kan worden voor een milieubewuste verwarming. Al hoeft het huis daarbij niet per se óp het water te staan.

Makkelijker vergunning krijgen

Aan enkele gezinnen die komen te wonen in de drijvende woonwijk ‘Schoonschip‘ in Amsterdam gaf Olthuis advies. Hij vindt het een prachtig project, maar heeft meteen ook wat geleerd over hoe bouwen op water beter kan in Nederland.

De locatie van de drijvende woonwijk ‘Schoonschip’

“Bouwen op water heeft drie voorwaarden. Je moet een plek hebben, de techniek in huis hebben – dat hebben we in Nederland zeker – en ook vergunningen kunnen krijgen. Wat dat laatste betreft is het in Nederland ontzettend lastig. Ik kan wel zeggen dat we daarin in Nederland zelfs achterlopen. Als we de trend van bouwen op water in Nederland een impuls willen geven moet dat echt makkelijker worden.”

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Una casita que navega por el mar

By Ana Ramirez
Arquitecture Vivienda
Photo Credits: Craig Denis

Técnicamente ARKUP es un barco. En la práctica, una villa flotante de lujo impulsada por energía eléctrica para fondear y vivir donde le plazca. Con un coste de casi cinco millones de euros y un revolucionario sistema para hacerla estable, podría ser una alternativa en ciudades costeras y “resorts”.

 

Figura en los anales cinematográficos como uno de los mayores fiascos de taquilla. Waterworld, la película del mutante Kevin Costner cuyo presupuesto inicial casi se triplicó (cosas de rodar en el medio acuático), se basaba en un escenario donde el agua había conquistado este planeta llamado Tierra. Con los científicos alertando de la acelerada subida del nivel del mar (unos 7,5 centí- metros entre 1993 y 2017, con previsiones de que para 2100 ronde los 65 cm), quizá la próxima vez que se la encuentre en la cartelera televisiva la vea con otros ojos, y puede que también se acuerde de esta casa
flotante, que es muy real, nada de set de rodaje, por mucho que el decorado sea Miami. Allí, atracada podría decirse, está Arkup, ejemplo de la nueva generación de arquitectura acuática, una casa, o un barco, o las dos cosas. “Está clasificado como una embarcación de recreo, así que legalmente es un barco, pero es habitable como casa”, aclara Nicolas Derouin, creador junto a su socio Arnaud Luguet del proyecto como una alternativa ante el exigente sueño de vivir junto al mar (espacio menguante y precio creciente), el riesgo de subida del nivel de las aguas y la flexibilidad (valor en alza en las sociedades acomodadas) de cambiar de dirección en este caso. Con experiencia en logística y en energías renovables respectivamente, y compartida amistad y pasión por la vida marina, este dúo de ingenieros inició hace tres años una travesía para la que buscaron a un curtido capitán, el acuarquitecto Koen Olthuis, del estudio Waterstudio, especializado en hacer habitables las aguas, algo de lo que saben en Holanda. En esencia, Arkup es la versión premium de la vida a bordo: una villa de 405 metros cuadrados (195 de ellos exteriores) con interiores de diseño, que navega con un motor eléctrico alimentado por energía solar para desplazarse por la costa (o el lago, o el río, o el puerto) y la primera con un sistema de estabilización importado de las plataformas petrolíferas. “Nuestros clientes pueden vivir en lugares únicos por un precio asequible comparado con una casa en tierra. Ofrecemos un sueño, una vida al estilo James Bond”, defiende entusiasta Derouin quien perfila el comprador de Arkup, cuyo precio parte de 4.850.000 euros: “Alto poder adquisitivo, preocupado por cuestiones medioambientales y en busca de una forma diferente de vivir, en conexión con la naturaleza”.

A PRUEBA DE MAREO. Más allá del precio, cualquiera vería la seguridad y la estabilidad como pegas. Los creadores solventan ambas con un sistema único extraído de las plataformas petrolíferas. “La casa está construida sobre una barcaza plana de acero y cuatro zancos hidráulicos independientes que descienden y se anclan al fondo marino para elevar las 300 toneladas sobre el agua”. Esta solución de ingeniería, que requiere aguas poco profundas (máximo
de 7,62 metros de profundidad), es la que garantiza que se pueda hacer vida normal, sin movimiento ni riesgo de mareo, y ofrece seguridad en caso de oleaje, viento, mareas… Como es lógico en una embarcación construida en Miami (en concreto en el astillero RMK Merrill-Stevens) está diseñada para resistir a huracanes de hasta categoría 4. Los mencionados pilares “se retraen durante la navegación”, explica Derouin que, en función de las condiciones del mar y la climatología, estima en cuatro horas la autonomía de la embarcación. “Los paneles solares producen la energía que se almacena en baterías de ion litio. Un transformador la convierte y suministra potencia para la casa y para la propulsión. La solar es el futuro de las fuentes de energía y los transportes y un elemento clave para nosotros, ya que queríamos que la casa fuera autosuficiente, por eso tiene un sistema para recoger agua de lluvia. La propulsión eléctrica genera cero ruido, vibración, humo y fugas. Respeta la vida marina”, argumenta el CEO de Arkup. Teniendo en cuenta que no está pensada para navegar en mar abierto y con una velocidad máxima de siete nudos, hipotéticamente podría vivir desconectado de tierra. “Podrías navegar cada día a lo largo de la costa y alcanzar Cancún desde Miami”, ejemplifica como travesía. Por el momento hay una única unidad construida (se tarda un año en completar su fabricación),
la que se halla varada en Miami y que fue presentada en sociedad durante el Yacht Show celebrado allí en febrero, decorada por el estudio brasileño Artefacto. A la espera de comprador, en unas semanas estará disponible para alquilar, desde 5.300 euros por noche. “Es condición sine qua non para el cliente probar el producto antes de comprarlo, porque es algo nuevo y tiene que entender el estilo de la propuesta y cómo usarlo. Pero probarlo es quererlo”, avisa Derouin. Pese a que todo lo que rodea Arkup huele a Miami way of life, el proyecto tiene raíces europeas. Ambossocios, Derouin y Luguet son franceses (nacidos en 1976 y 1975 respectivamente). “Viendo el impacto de la subida de nivel del mar en Miami y con orígenes holandeses, a Arnaud se le ocurrió desarrollar una casa flotante y sostenible. Me contó su idea a mi regreso de un viaje alrededor del mundo y enseguida nos embarcamos en el proyecto”, cuenta Derouin. Para hacerlo realidad llamaron a la puerta de Waterstudio, la oficina de Koen Olthuis, referente en arquitectura sobre H2O. “Nueva York, Tokio, Shanghai…, son ciudades donde falta espacio y tienen problemas con el nivel del mar. Esta nueva generación de casas flotantes es la solución para expandir la ciudad abrazando el mar”, argumenta Olthuis, quien el único obstáculo que ve son las regulaciones. “Arkup es como un camaleón: puede ser una embarcación, puede ser una casa. Es muy cara, pero es la primera y hemos aprendido mucho. Lo próximo podrían ser bloques flotantes de apartamentos más pequeños y asequibles”. Con una segunda unidad en desarrollo, Derouin apunta a un potencial mercado inmobiliario: el de las comunidades flotantes y los eco-resort. “Todos sabemos que esas villas de cinco estrellas sobre el agua en Maldivas y Bora-Bora se hundirán algún día. Tienen que repensar el modelo, nuestro diseño puede navegar, ¡y sus villas no! Generamos nuestra propia electricidad y agua, compactamos la basura… Es eléctrico, no interfiere en la vida marina. Y si se acerca una tormenta, el dueño puede llevarlo hasta una zona protegida. Es una ventaja en términos de seguridad”, defiende. Como constructores, están
abiertos a satisfacer al propietario y navegante para construir la casa flotante de sus sueños. “El cielo es el límite, es una cuestión de tiempo y dinero. Por eso
vamos a hacer Arkup más asequible en el futuro. Uno de nuestros objetivos es construir una versión tiny como respuesta a la crisis de alojamiento en las ciudades costeras de todo el mundo”.

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Deze peperdure villa is ook veilig als de zeespiegel meters stijgt

By AD
Photocredits: AFP
May.31.2019


MOOIE HUIZEN

Regelmatig speuren we over de grens naar huizen die ons verbazen of inspireren. Waarschijnlijk te duur om zelf ooit in te kunnen wonen. Toch zullen veel Nederlanders op den duur moeten overstappen naar een drijvend huis, als de zeespiegel meters blijft stijgen door de opwarming van de aarde. Wat dacht je dan van deze drijvende villa in Miami.

De voorspelde stijging van het zeeniveau bracht het Nederlandse bedrijf Waterstudio op het idee om drijvende luxevilla’s voor de superrijken te bouwen. In Miami stelden ze hun eerste model voor: een woning met een bewoonbare oppervlakte van 404 m², bestand tegen windstoten tot 250 km/u.

De villa op het water beschikt over vier slaap- en badkamers en is CO2-neutraal. Het dak ligt vol met zonnepanelen. Met een prijskaartje van 6 miljoen dollar – inclusief de inrichting – is deze waterparel enkel voor de happy few, al wil Arkup in de toekomst ook ‘goedkopere’ drijvende huizen bouwen. Tot dat moment houden wij onze voetjes op het droge.

 

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Dit is de villa van de superrijken als straks het zeeniveau stijgt

By Björn Cocquyt
HLN
May.29.2019

We zullen wellicht nooit het geld hebben om er zelf in te wonen, maar kijken naar en dromen van een geweldig huis doen we allemaal graag. Daarom tonen we elke woensdag een waanzinnige woning. Deze week is dat een drijvend huis in Miami.

De voorspelde stijging van het zeeniveau door de klimaatopwarming bracht Arkup op het idee om drijvende luxevilla’s voor de superrijken te bouwen. In Miami stelden ze hun eerste model voor: een woning met een bewoonbare oppervlakte van 404 m², bestand tegen windstoten tot 250 km/u.

Voor het ontwerp klopten de Amerikanen aan bij onze noorderburen van Waterstudio. De villa op het water beschikt over vier slaap- en badkamers en is CO2-neutraal. Het dak ligt vol met zonnepanelen. Met een prijskaartje van 6 miljoen dollar – inclusief de inrichting – is dit huistype enkel voor de happy few, al wil Arkup in de toekomst ook ‘goedkopere’ drijvende huizen bouwen. Tot dan houden wij onze voetjes op het droge.

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Built on water: Floating Houses

By Ambista
May.17.2019

Architects from New York to Shanghai are increasingly being confronted with the same problem: Too little space for too many people. The challenge of developing new habitable spaces within the city is not easy. Many architects, contractors and urban planners are tackling this situation with floating architecture.

The architects of Waterstudio.NL not only design floating houses in the luxury segment in the IJburg district of Amsterdam but also in the rest of the world. © Koen Olthuis – Waterstudio.NL

New living space on the water

Whether it’s Asia, the US or Europe, living space is becoming an important resource in the major cities of the world. Most cities have little room to grow in the central urban area and increasing rents are symptomatic of this crisis. Metropolitan regions in the immediate vicinity of water are trying to develop new living spaces with floating houses in response to the housing shortage.

Floating houses take care of two problems at once: They meet the demand for living space in large cities and also serve as flood protection. Coastal cities in particular are extremely affected by climate change and the resulting rise in sea level. They are therefore looking for new strategies to cope with the water and turn the disadvantage into an advantage.

Floating houses in Amsterdam

It is no wonder that the Netherlands is considered a pioneer when it comes to floating houses. Around a quarter of the country lies below sea level. For the Dutch, water has long been an important element of urban planning. Amsterdam is a major European city known worldwide for the many houseboats that create additional living space in the canals.

However, not only do the residents of Amsterdam live on the water in the city centre but also in the eastern part of the city. The new IJburg district was created here on artificially raised sand islands. In the first construction phase, a total of 18,000 apartments with living space for 45,000 people were created. The Waterbuurt district in the western section of IJburg was also planned at the same time – the Floating Houses IJburg project by Amsterdam-based Marlies Rohmer Architects & Urbanists.

Lacking a firm subsoil, the neighbourhood functions primarily with bridges and jetties, which provide access to the residences. Gardens are not allowed, but living close to the water makes up for it. A lock ensures that the inland sea on which the houses float is separated from the IJMeer. This prevents the apartments from drifting out to sea. The project was completed in 2011 and included both social housing and condos.

Architecturally, however, IJburg is still a long way from being fully developed. To the east, the “Water District” continues to grow. By 2020, the Dutch architectural firm Waterstudio.NL wants to complete around 380 additional apartments, offices, floating gardens and a restaurant. Everything is possible for the architects – from a bungalow to a three-storey residential building.

Amphibious houses on the Thames

Other countries, such as Great Britain, are also discovering water as additional living space. This is how the amphibious houses near Marlow on the Thames in Buckinghamshire came to be. The homes were designed by Baca Architects in London. When the tide is low, the house rests on the ground like a conventional building and can also float in the event of flooding.

This is made possible by a kind of dry dock made of reinforced concrete, which serves as the base of the house. As the floodwaters fill the trough, the house is buoyed up to the surface of the water. An anchoring system keeps it in position and buoyancy is ensured by air chambers under the floor.

Living on the water: The future is now

In Hong Kong and Macau, people have been living on the water for a long time – in jungle settlements consisting of old sailboats that have fallen into disuse. In the US, water communities also have a long tradition. Seattle has one of the largest collections of floating houses in Portage Bay and Lake Union. And Germans are also finding life on the water more and more attractive.

In Hamburg, for example, additional moorings for houseboats and floating houses are being built. The idea of floating architecture is no longer a vision of the future, it is a reality. People learn to live with water and use it for urban development. And not only in Europe or Asia, but throughout the entire world.

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Bâtir contre vents et marées

By Formes
May.10.2018

 

Bâtir contre vents et maréesSource : Waterstudio

Avec la menace d’une éventuelle montée des eaux, les Pays-Bas voient apparaître un nouveau concept de maisons flottantes. Et bientôt, c’est des villes entières qui émergeront des flots.

Le visiteur qui découvre les Pays-Bas ne se doute pas toujours que le sol qu’il foule est en bonne partie l’œuvre de l’homme. Le Néerlandais, lui, ne l’oublie pas. Car il sait que les Pays-Bas sont un petit pays de 41 528 km2, dont environ 7 745 km2 sont occupés par des fleuves, des lacs, des étangs, des fossés et des canaux. Aussi, dès le Moyen Âge les Néerlandais ont entrepris de transformer leur paysage, disputant à l’eau chaque parcelle de leur territoire. D’abord en asséchant des lacs et des marais, puis en construisant des digues et des barrages de retenue sur la mer du Nord.

Terres en dérive

Ces terres artificielles, aussi appelées polders, se sont multipliées. Si bien qu’aujourd’hui, près du tiers des terres se trouve au-dessous du niveau de la mer. Le point culminant des Pays-Bas se situe d’ailleurs à 323 mètres alors que son point le plus bas est à 6,70 mètres sous le niveau de la mer. C’est dire. Et le bras de fer engagé avec la mer est loin d’être terminé. Avec les changements climatiques qui s’annoncent, on prévoit une augmentation de 25 % des précipitations au cours des prochaines années. Une bonne partie du territoire néerlandais risque de se retrouver bientôt sous les flots. Et la pression urbaine ne cesse de s’accroître dans les zones inondables.

« Nos stations de pompage ultra-modernes fonctionnent déjà jour et nuit juste pour maintenir les polders au sec, souligne l’architecte et designer industriel Koen Olthuis, associé de Waterstudio.NL, un cabinet d’architecture qui œuvre uniquement dans la construction en zone inondable. Mais on commence à mesurer les effets du réchauffement planétaire. Maintenant, lorsqu’il pleut ou en période de crue, les pompes ne suffisent pas toujours. On doit alors entreposer l’eau pendant quelque temps ou élargir le lit des rivières. »

Aussi, pour diminuer la pression sur les villes, le gouvernement néerlandais publiait en septembre 2005 la liste de quinze zones dorénavant ouvertes à l’urbanisation, mais réservées à la construction amphibie. Puis, les autorités ont lancé un concours invitant ingénieurs, architectes et urbanistes à concevoir des projets urbains novateurs, comprenant des serres, des maisons, des usines, des parkings flottants. Une ville flottante de 12 000 bâtiments pourrait ainsi voir le jour près de Schiphol.

Une première mondiale qui confirmerait au pays son statut de chef de file en matière d’habitats aquatiques. « Ces points sont tous situés à l’embouchure de fleuves, là où l’eau, soumise aux courants et aux marées, est très dynamique, fait-il remarquer. Les solutions mises de l’avant doivent donc permettre aux bâtiments, mais aussi aux routes, de faire face à la fluctuation des eaux. »

Considérant qu’il valait mieux de chercher des solutions pour coexister avec l’eau, plutôt que de lutter contre, l’équipe de Waterstudio a récemment imaginé un projet de conversion et de réaménagement de polders existants. En d’autres termes, il s’agirait d’inonder de nouveau ces terres arrachées à la mer et aux plans d’eau douce. Par la suite, des villes flottantes, conçues pour un milieu dynamique, seraient ancrées aux infrastructures nouvellement immergées.

La maison amphibie Snel à Aalsmeer : Vue imprenable sur le fleuve. Source : Waterstudio

Un savoir-faire unique

Il faut dire que les Néerlandais n’en sont pas à leurs premières armes dans ce domaine. « Nous avons une longue expérience des maisons flottantes, rappelle-t-il. La technologie a donc beaucoup évolué depuis les premières maisons-bateaux. » Ces dernières sont d’ailleurs en voie d’être supplantées par les maisons flottantes. Suivant le principe de la bouée, ces structures peuvent s’élever avec la montée des eaux. Parfaitement adaptée aux zones maritimes, ce type de construction convient aussi aux canaux. Seuls les piliers et les amarres seront différents.

« Dans un canal d’Amsterdam, où la fluctuation du niveau de l’eau est quasi nulle sur une année, nous utilisons un système d’ancrage rigide, explique l’architecte. Sur les fleuves ou sur la mer, nous faisons plutôt appel à un système de pieux coulissants qui permet jusqu’à trois mètres de jeu toutes les douze heures. » Selon le degré de salinité de l’eau, les piliers coulissants seront fabriqués d’acier, de béton ou de bois. Toutefois, si le fond de l’eau est à plus de 20 mètres, le bâtiment sera plutôt amarré à un socle de béton solidement fixé à la digue. Il est ensuite relié aux services publics au moyen de conduits flexibles.

Ces maisons flottantes sont composées d’un caisson de béton et de polystyrène, dans des proportions variant en fonction de la flottabilité requise. D’une épaisseur minimale de 20 cm, cette coque composite assure aussi l’étanchéité de l’assemblage. Des fondations de huit mètres de profondeur et faisant 200 mètres de côté peuvent ainsi soutenir une structure atteignant jusqu’à 100 mètres de hauteur. La maison se complète d’une structure légère, souvent en bois, pouvant compter plusieurs étages.

Suivant l’emplacement et l’ampleur du projet, les maisons seront assemblées in situ ou en bateau-usine et remorquées jusqu’à leur point d’attache. « On dispose d’un réseau de transport comptant des milliers de kilomètres de cours d’eau et de canaux, aussi bien en profiter, poursuit-t-il. Si le remorquage n’est pas possible, on construit alors sur place. On peut aussi les livrer par transport routier, mais c’est plutôt rare. »

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Can a floating city really withstand a Cat 5 hurricane? Here are 5 questions for the company’s CEO

By John Roach
AccuWeather staff writer
May.6.2019

The United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN Habitat) recently announced its support for the idea of a self-sustaining floating city. Oceanix, the company behind the project known as Oceanix City, is convinced the ocean-based city would be a viable solution to the housing shortage problem and the concern over rising sea levels.

The proposed city would be home to roughly 10,000 people divided into groups of six villages that each would have six platforms holding about 300 people. The platforms would be anchored by Biorock, a material created by exposing underwater minerals to electrical currents.

The floating city also would be designed to withstand severe weather conditions, including floods, tsunamis and Category 5 hurricanes, according to the company.

AccuWeather spoke to Oceanix founder and CEO Marc Collins Chen to learn how planning for severe weather factors into his company’s plans. Below is an edited version of his one-on-one interview with AccuWeather.

AccuWeather: How have you tested whether a floating city could withstand such extreme weather?

Marc Collins Chen: Our approach is that it would be irresponsible to build any sort of new infrastructure without taking into account the new [weather] data that we have. Extreme weather is here; depending on whose data you read, either the storms are getting stronger or more frequent, one or the other. But we need to take it into consideration for the building code of these new infrastructures.

Our thinking around extreme weather is it’s here, it’s happening and it can’t just be business as usual. Think back about the house that survived [Hurricane Michael] in Mexico Beach. It was more expensive [to build], but if you think about it, if all of the houses there had been built to that [type of] code, how would it have been different?

Here’s how I see it in terms of survivability. If you look at the Saffir-Simpson [hurricane] wind scale, at Category 5, you’re very clearly facing catastrophic damage. But here’s the secondary issue: the power outages can literally last, well, look at Puerto Rico, that was 11 months. Why? Because power lines are outdoors, trees fall on them and you know what happens next. The other catastrophic thing after these weather events is obviously standing water. Think about Mozambique and what’s going to happen now. There are health hazards.

So you take all of that into account – and we’re working with the experts at the MIT Center for Ocean Engineering – and you ask, how are these floating cities going to fare in this sort of event? We’re looking at two things.

We’re looking obviously at saving lives and making sure there are shelters on these floating cities where people are completely safe from the wind…. What’s important is the safety and security of everybody onboard and I believe we have some thinking and solutions that we can at least make sure everybody is safe.

But then the day after, what’s really important is all of your systems. So that means you need your freshwater [systems] to be up and running, your electrical grid to still be up and your sewage treatment [working]– the last thing you want is for everybody to have a sewage problem.

So we’re approaching this from a design perspective… And that’s what our partnership with the United Nations is about – what are the best practices and what can we learn, and how do we future weatherproof these floating cities? That’s our objective.

This is science, so it works by iteration. You have to do the first one, try it out – now all of this gets tested first in 3D computer models, and in wind tunnels and in wave pools before it gets put out there. That’s our thinking.

AW: When preparing for catastrophes, you could use the Japanese nuclear power plant disaster as an example of a worst-case scenario on top of a worst-case scenario. Can you handle a Category 5 hurricane followed by a tidal wave as happened there? Are you planning for those type of events followed by another catastrophe?

MCC: They are. So again, I’m really happy about this partnership with MIT… I’ll tell you where our project is limiting; it does limit as to where these future floating cities will be positioned. We’re thinking about being close to major coastal megacities because, according to the UN, by 2050, nine out of 10 megacities will be coastal cities. A megacity is 10 million-plus. Those are the cities that today have the greatest need for affordable housing. Huge, huge demand for affordable housing. We’re going to [have a world population of] 9.7 billion in 2050.

Every mayor in every coastal city has someone who’s responsible for figuring out what to do in case of weather, in case of flooding, in case of sea level rises. Every city is thinking: What do I build next? Do I retreat? Do I just basically stop giving building permits for anything in the flood zone? Cities have responded by allowing land reclamation, which is really bad for the environment when you dump sand into the ocean and hope it holds. It makes things worse…

Where I’m from in French Polynesia, we have the understanding that nature will always beat us. So you work with it and not against it. You don’t try to build a wall to protect yourself from the ocean because it’s not going to work.

So it’s more about what does this future world look like? Extreme weather for me is not only the hurricanes and the sea level rise, but it is also flooding. There was a flood in 1931 in China where up to 4 million people died. There was disease and the lack of access to food and all of that …

I’m actually really eager to see in the next few years the development of sustainable floating cities, which means sustainable from energy, food, water, zero waste and all of this. But beyond just that, to see how these are going to fare in the face of this new weather. That’s critical and it’s central to everything we’re designing.

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Arkup #1: floating like a butterfly, solid as a rock

By Esthec
May.3.2019

Floating villa, mobile yacht and stable home: Arkup #1 is all of these things. This world first was presented as the ‘next-generation floating home’ at the Miami Yacht Show earlier this year. Not only is Arkup #1 a luxury, two-storey floating villa, it also is a 22-metre, electrically propelled yacht. Another novel feature of Arkup #1 is a system of four hydraulic legs, allowing it to anchor in up to 6-metre water depths and lift the house just above the waterline. Arkup #1 then changes from a floating villa into a stable stilt house able to withstand hurricanes. The innovative ‘floating home’ has a retractable Esthec Terrace. Esthec has been involved in the development of Arkup #1 from the beginning. The architect of the floating villa, Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio.NL, is keen to continue working with Esthec on future floating home developments.

Both innovative and extremely eco-friendly, Arkup #1 is entirely CO2 neutral, off grid and self-sufficient in its energy and water supply. The floating villa is powered by solar energy and comes with a range of technical innovations including an installation for the collection and purification of rainwater.

Arkup #1 is the answer to the rise in sea levels and flooding risks, says its architect, Koen Olthuis. The water dwellings he has designed with his company Waterstudio.NL in the last 15 years have been built across the world. His drive, in his own words, is “to make cities perform better”. Olthuis: ‘Today’s cities are too static in nature: buildings are constructed in one place to last for decades. Once they are there, there is nothing you can change about the city, whereas the needs of a city change continuously. Urbanisation increases the pressure on cities, while climate change increases the risk of floods. Floating homes enable cities to make optimum and safe use of the space available: on the water.’

Focused on innovation
Arkup #1 has a retractable outdoor terrace featuring Esthec. Waterstudio.NL chose the durable terrace material not just based on its product qualities. Olthuis: ‘Of course: Esthec is extremely wear resistant and 100% recyclable. Plus it has a great feel to it. Design-wise, the decking planks look amazing. They are supplied tailor made and then put together like a puzzle. What is even more important to me than the product itself is the philosophy and the ‘spirit’ of the company. I see the same passion for improvement and innovation that we have at Waterstudio.NL in Esthec. When I first went to visit Esthec I thought I was going to meet with some flooring people, but I ended up in a laboratory. The company is not just interested in producing and installing flooring, but wants to be part of the thinking process and is very much focused on innovation. They constantly ask themselves how flooring can be made more interactive, intelligent and dynamic. For me as an architect it has been fantastic to have Esthec involved in the development of Arkup #1 from the beginning. Our close relationship will be very useful for the further development of floating houses. I am convinced that we can build on Esthec’s expertise.’

‘The sustainable and innovative quality of Arkup #1 appealed to us right away’ says Esthec Managing Director Marcel van der Spek. ‘It is also special to work on such a unique project together with a Dutch architect. We believe in his vision of dynamic cities and how floating houses play a crucial role in this. In yacht building, Esthec has already proved itself as an extremely durable decking material. It is unaffected by sun and salt water as well as easy to keep clean. Those product qualities were key in the development of Arkup #1: the outdoor terrace had to be easy to use and even easier to maintain.’

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This houseboat of the future is a $5.5 million floating mansion designed for sea level rise

By Linda Robertson
Miami Herald
April.30.2019

The Arkup houseboat, a green-energy luxury floating home that can adapt to sea rise, docks off Palm Island near Miami Beach on Saturday, April 27, 2019. The floating house has solar panels, impact resistant windows and can withstand hurricane winds of up to 155 miles per hour. MATIAS J. OCNER MOCNER@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Why let sea rise sink your Miami lifestyle when you can go with the flow aboard the Arkup houseboat?

Arkup features the ingenious engineering feature of four hydraulic pilings that stabilize the vessel on the sea bottom or allow it to lift like a house on stilts above floodwaters, king tides and hurricane-whipped storm surges. South Florida sea levels are projected to rise 6 to 12 inches by 2030, 14 inches to nearly three feet by 2060, and 31 inches to nearly seven feet by 2100, according to the Southeast Florida Climate Change Regional Compact Sea Level Rise Work Group. Miami Beach and the Keys may be inundated first, but the entire region is recognized as one of the most vulnerable on the planet.

In this brave new waterworld, Arkup wants to keep you high and dry on your floating home.

Noah, who constructed his ark to withstand 40 days and 40 nights of apocalyptic rain and Biblical flooding, would approve. He probably could not afford the modern version, which has a sticker price of $5.5 million, but he would like the comfort, spacious bathrooms and retractable swimming platform.

Arkup, solar-powered and equipped with a rainwater-collecting-and-purifying system, is a self-sustaining home, a green adaptation for our blue future.

“It’s more like a house than a boat but you never lose the unmistakable feeling that you’re on the water,” said Nicolas Derouin, managing director of Arkup.

Arkup was designed and built in Miami by Derouin and Arnaud Luguet, two French engineers who live here and have a passion for the oceans and environmental preservation.

They have witnessed the impact of climate change and sea level rise in their adopted hometown and around the world. On Monday, Indonesia announced it will move its capital out of Jakarta, a swampy, flood-prone and drowning metropolis of 30 million people.

“It is happening before our eyes,” Derouin said. “Coastal areas are the most desirable but also the most at risk. Miami is implementing resiliency measures. We hope Arkup can be a small part of the solution.”

Derouin and Luguet were inspired by the Dutch floating communities of IJburg and Schoonschip.

“In the Netherlands, one third of the country is below sea level,” Derouin said. “They want to develop housing alternatives. Instead of fighting the water, live on it.”

Lake Union in Seattle has 500 permanently docked houseboats. Paris has restaurants, a hotel and is building a 2024 Olympic venue on the River Seine. Dubai has floating vacation homes. In San Francisco, where Sausalito has a houseboat community, the Danish firm BIG has proposed building an archipelago of floating villages connected by ferries on the bay. The Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club in Weehawken, N.J., which was devastated by Superstorm Sandy, may reinvent its marina as a houseboat haven.

“We decided to design a boat that looks and feels like Miami, is compatible with a subtropical climate and gives the owner the freedom and flexibility to move,” Derouin said.

Their ultimate goal is to create an affordable model, develop floating neighborhoods and partner with island hotels to build eco-bungalows on surrounding waters.

“We want to design small apartments on the water for students, townhouses for families,” Derouin said. “We want to create housing solutions for a broader audience. That’s the vision behind Arkup.”

Derouin and Luguet collaborated with Dutch firm Waterstudio and pioneering aqua-tect Koen Olthuis, who has designed a floating mosque, floating prison, floating spa and floating resort and helped conceptualize a proposed development of 29 private islands with lavish sustainable homes — a villa flotilla — on Maule Lake in North Miami Beach.

“He is an advocate of urban planning on the water,” Derouin said.

You may have noticed Arkup — which was unveiled at the Miami Boat Show in February — docked at Star Island and now Palm Island. You can see it from the MacArthur Causeway. With its floor-to-ceiling windows, it looks like a large glass box.

On board, it doesn’t look or feel like a boat. No rocking, for one thing. It has two air-conditioned levels, with 9-1/2-foot ceilings on the first floor and 8-1/2-foot ceilings on the second. There are three bedrooms upstairs with three full and roomy bathrooms — no cramped and tilting heads on this boat — and two balconies.

Downstairs, there’s an inviting living room, kitchen, dining area, two bathrooms and a small room with a Murphy bed that could be an office or guest quarters. Interior design is by Brazilian company Artefacto. A sliding outdoor deck adds 500 square feet of floor space when fully extended.

At the stern, the swim platform can be lowered into the water to create a mini pool. There’s a boat lift for your kayak or amphibious vehicle.

The bow deck has an outdoor kitchen and console controls for navigation and operating the 136-hp rotating electric thrusters, which emit no noise and require no diesel fuel, and the anchoring system, which allows adjustments of each piling to level the boat.

Arkup has a maximum speed of 7 knots and a range of 20 nautical miles that can be increased with additional battery banks or a backup generator.

“We can’t match the navigational capacity and speed of a yacht,” Derouin said. “You couldn’t cruise around the world, but you could use Arkup in the Bahamas or British Virgin Islands, for example.

“Our vessel is 75 feet long and 32 feet wide and we have the same livable space as a yacht that is 110 feet long. Arkup is for people who prioritize space and comfort over speed and range.”

Arkup’s steel hull and superstructure is built to withstand Category 4 hurricane winds (up to 156 mph). The 40-foot-long pilings, or spuds, enable the boat to anchor in up to 25 feet of water and elevate above the waves. The draft is five feet. It’s got a 4,000-gallon freshwater tank and an equal-sized tank for waste water. The 2,400-square-foot roof is covered with 36-kilowatt capacity solar panels that recharge the battery.

“A motor yacht is the opposite of sustainable,” Derouin said, pointing to a gigantic yacht parked behind Arkup and to passing motorboats that pause while curious passengers take a look at Arkup. “Large engines. Massive fuel consumption. Pollution. On Arkup you can live completely off the grid with no bills for energy or water. It is zero emission, carbon neutral. In this house, you don’t need to rebuild your seawalls or move your air conditioner to higher ground. Compared to the costs of a waterfront home, Arkup is competitive.”

Plus it’s got panoramic views of the downtown skyline and dolphins swimming by the side deck.

So far, the partners have one buyer and a waiting list of potential buyers who want to take the boat for a test drive.

“We’ve had an amazing response,” Derouin said. “Our clientele includes owners of private Caribbean islands who think Arkup is better than building a beach house. Or people who live full or part time in Miami and want a toy for the weekends, to take friends out on the bay. We have people who live elsewhere and Arkup would be their second or vacation home. And people who see it as their primary home, docked at a marina. It’s a luxury product for a niche market but our dream is to develop affordable versions with the same principles.”

Miamians who don’t want to flee could take to the sea. As oceans swell and coastlines shrink, trade house for houseboat.

“We need more entrepreneurs and scientists developing innovative ideas because climate change is not slowing down,” Derouin said. “Here’s one new way to live in harmony with the water.”

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