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First Indian Resilient Floating House Prototype, the Bihar City App, is nearing completion

The integration of modern innovation with traditional practices signals the beginning of a more sustainable and adaptable future for Bihar’s floodplains.

Waterstudio initiated its applied research project on City Apps over a decade ago to address challenges in flood-prone areas. City Apps combine standardized systems with locally available materials and craftsmanship. These innovative solutions encompass a variety of functions, including sanitation, healthcare, energy production, community workspaces, and other essential facilities. City Apps aim to provide adaptable and sustainable infrastructure to effectively meet the needs of communities in these regions.

At Centre of Resilience in Bihar, and with its founder, Kumar Prashant, Waterstudio has found a valuable local partner to expand the City Apps project into India, marking the initial steps in aiding the people of this flood-affected region to construct a brighter future.

The prototype developed in this project represents the first step towards the realization of the City App vision for adaptive development on floodplains, with the ultimate goal of scaling up to thousands of locally built standardized floating units. Following the testing phase, a comprehensive study will be conducted to measure the broader impacts of this groundbreaking project. The data and insights gathered will form the basis for the development of long-term strategies for sustainable floodplain management.

Latin American Congress Of Steel Frame Sao Paulo Brazil

Last week, Waterstudio participated in the 6th Congress LATAM On Steel Frame and Constructive Systems in Brazil, where we focused on addressing challenges through floating architecture.

Koen Olthuis presented the path towards floating cities in his talk titled, from Myth to Marble, while our colleague Anna Vendemia discussed the role of floating architecture in addressing social and bioclimatic issues. She drew from our impactful initiatives, such as City Apps for Wet slums and the Bihar Fellowship Program.

Meeting Vasco Rodrigues, Deputy Consul General of the Netherlands in São Paulo, emphasized the importance of global collaboration for sustainable solutions.

We extend our sincere gratitude to the organizers in São Paulo, the speakers, and all the attendees for contributing to the success of this event. Waterstudio is deeply committed to shaping a sustainable future through innovative architecture, and we look forward to future opportunities to share our message on other influential platforms. Let’s work together to inspire change and create a greener, more sustainable world!

Worried About Living in a Flood Zone? Try a House That Floats.

By Ronda Kayson
The New York Times

Eventually, coastal cities threatened with rising tides and bigger storms could use not just the waterfront, but also the water, as places to build housing.

A yacht shaped like a house in the water with the Miami skyline behind it.
As sea levels rise, developers are eyeing the water as the next frontier, potentially mooring yachts shaped like floating homes in Biscayne Bay in Miami, like in this photo.Credit…Arkup

As sea levels rise and storms worsen, threatening the planet’s fragile coastlines, some architects and developers are looking to the water not as a looming threat, but as a frontier for development.

“We want to change cities worldwide, we want to see how we can push the cities into the water,” said Koen Olthuis, a Dutch architect and the founder of Waterstudio, an architectural firm that specializes in floating buildings. “I hope that in 50 years time, we look back at our cities and say, ‘Well, floating structures, they are just part of this city recipe, they make sense, they add something to it, they bring us space, cheap houses, flexible cities.’”

About 3 billion people, roughly half of the world’s population, lives within 125 miles of a coastline, according to the Population Reference Bureau. Eventually, coastal cities could claim not just the waterfront, but also the water, building in their harbors, bays, canals and rivers.

It’s already happening in the Netherlands. With a third of its land below sea level, the country has floating officesa floating dairy farm and a floating pavilion. Floating buildings are often built atop concrete and foam pontoon foundations, allowing them to sit on the water, and rise and fall with currents.

Proponents of the design argue that these buildings protect the environment. While a 2022 study published in the Journal of Water & Climate Change found that floating structures can have a positive benefit, attracting birds to nest and providing habitat and food for sea life, the study also found that they can impact light, currents, wind patterns and water quality. .

A short ferry ride from central Amsterdam is Schoonschip, a community of 30 floating houses, half of them duplexes, on a canal in a former manufacturing neighborhood. The homes, made of wood, are built atop concrete bases and connected by a jetty.

The first residents arrived in 2019, more than a decade after the neighborhood was first conceived. Maarten Remmers, 43, a film producer, paid 450,000 euros for the three-story, three-bedroom home he lives in with his girlfriend and their two children. The house feels steadier than a boat, but sways with the currents. “If it storms, you really feel it, and you see the land dancing,” he said.

The community of more than 100 people feels like a village, with shared e-bikes and cars, and a floating garden. His children, ages 7 and 9, fish and swim in the canal. “You wake up with birds, and ducks next to your window, or swans,” he said.

While Mr. Remmers looks at his community as a sustainable one — the homes have heat pumps, green roofs and are solar powered — he does not see moving his family onto the water as a solution to rising sea levels, balking at the argument that floating cities are somehow a solution to climate change. “It’s nonsense,” he said. “If the whole city is flooded, then, OK, our house will float, but there’s no reason to keep living there anymore.”

A rendering of brightly colored apartment buildings floating on water.
The Maldives, a country vulnerable to rising seas, is building a floating neighborhood near its capital, with apartments, schools, shops and restaurants, as shown in this rendering.Credit…Dutch Docklands Maldives and Waterstudio

Yet, as sea levels rise, low-lying countries like the Maldives are grappling with an existential threat, and building on the water is a way to create land from the encroaching sea. The government, in partnership with the developer Dutch Docklands, is building an entire floating neighborhood in a lagoon 10 minutes by boat from Malé, the nation’s capital.

Next year, the first phase of the 5,000-modular unit development will open — apartments, schools, shops and restaurants built on a floating landscape of serpentine jetties fitted together like Lego pieces. “That is the future,” said Mr. Olthuis, the Dutch architect, who developed the master plan for the Maldives development.

But there are bureaucratic barriers. City building and zoning codes do not address floating houses and neighborhoods built on concrete and foam foundations. Even Amsterdam, a city of known for its houseboats, was not ready for a waterborne neighborhood like Schoonschip, and it took years to navigate the bureaucracy. “There were lots of times I was totally fed up with all the legislation,” Mr. Remmers, who was involved in the development of the community, said. “It took so long.”

Cities may not be prepared for floating neighborhoods, but they are familiar with yachts. So Nicolas Derouin and Arnaud Luguet, two French engineers, designed a yacht that looked like a condo, with a flat roof and open-concept floor plan. Lower the retractable hydraulic pilings down to the ocean floor, and the boat stabilizes. In a storm, the pilings and jack-up system can lift the boat out of the water, protecting it from a storm surge. In 2019, they built their first model — the Arkup 75 — selling it for over $4 million. (The owner is living on the 75-foot boat offshore from the mansion he is building in Miami, Mr. Derouin said.)

Now Arkup has a dozen orders placed for a smaller version, the Arkup 40, which sells for between $500,000 and $1.2 million, depending on configurations. The boats, with 660 square feet of indoor living space, and more than twice as much outdoor space, are being built in Indiana and will travel to Miami by truck.

Dock one outside a beach house and it acts as the ocean’s answer to a pool house. “It becomes an extension of their waterfront property, like a guesthouse or a family room,” Mr. Derouin said. Moor it far from shore and it is an isolated retreat. Lower the pilings and open the retractable decks of the Arkup 40 alongside another one, and you create a network of vessels far from land where you can walk from one boat to the other. “You create a floating villa,” Mr. Derouin said. “You can really create a floating community.”

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Reflecting on WCFS2023: A Remarkable Success in Tokyo

We want to say a big “thank you” to the people who organized the World Conference on Floating Solutions 2023 (WCFS2023) in Tokyo, Japan. They did an amazing job, and the conference was a great success!

At this special event, our founder, Koen Olthuis, had the privilege of delivering a keynote speech. His presentation delved into our pioneering work on projects such as the Maldives Floating City and the Urban Water Laboratory. The people in the audience were really excited and interested in what we had to say.

WCFS2023 was a fantastic opportunity for us to meet lots of people who care about the same things we do – finding ways to make floating solutions for a better future. We also got to catch up with our friends and partners from around the world who work on similar projects.

When we think about WCFS2023, it makes us even more excited about the future and what we can do with floating solutions. Together, we’re going to keep trying new things and making the world a better place.

We want to say a big “thank you” again to everyone who helped make WCFS2023 such a great event. Your support means a lot to us, and we can’t wait to see what we’ll accomplish together in the future!

Introducing Urban Water Laboratory (UWL) by Waterstudio: 20 Years of Expertise in Urban Water Innovation

Explore our new website:

UWL, the 𝗨𝗿𝗯𝗮𝗻 𝗪𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗟𝗮𝗯𝗼𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆, merges 20 years of hands-on experience in water-related architecture, urbanism and research by using data driven methods and algorithmic processes. We’re reshaping urban landscapes through water-centric designs and smart technologies, propelling sustainable urban development.

Join us in redefining urban living through water’s potential.

Floating Theater Lyon L’ile O wood construction award winner 2023

The floating theater in Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, which is a award winner of 2023, is a structure that combines different technologies and materials to create a captivating artistic space.

The building’s primary technologies include:

Concrete Shell: The hull of the theater is constructed using concrete, which provides stability and durability to the floating structure. The concrete shell was created by a specialist from the Netherlands at the port of Lyon, ensuring the expertise required for such construction.

CLT Wooden Superstructure: CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber) is used for the wooden superstructure of the theater. CLT is an innovative construction material made by layering and bonding timber boards together at right angles. This creates a strong and rigid structure that is also lightweight. The use of wood in the superstructure adds an organic and natural element to the theater’s design.

Waterproofing by Membrane: To protect the theater from water infiltration, a waterproof membrane is applied on five sides of the structure. This ensures that the theater remains watertight and can float safely on the water surface.

Sheet Steel Cladding: The outer cladding of the theater is made of sheet steel, which provides a protective and visually appealing layer. The steel cladding adds a modern and industrial touch to the overall design.

The choice of wood for the interior of the theater was driven by the artists’ desire for additional comfort and inspiration while expressing themselves. Wood is known for its organic character, warm color tones, unique shapes, and distinct scent. These qualities create a welcoming and immersive atmosphere for the artists and the audience, enhancing the overall experience within the wooden room.

By combining these technologies and materials, the floating theater in Lyon achieves a remarkable balance between functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability, creating a remarkable artistic space for performances and events.

Documentary about Floating Cities – Creative Ideas to Combat Climate Change

“Exploring the Future: The Rise of Floating Cities” is a documentary that delves into the emergence of floating cities as a response to rising sea levels caused by climate change. The film highlights the visionary efforts of different experts, including Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio, who is constructing a sustainable floating city in the Maldives, utilizing seawater for cooling purposes. While showcasing the potential of floating cities, the documentary also explores the challenges and complexities involved, such as engineering requirements, socio-economic considerations, and potential impacts on ecosystems. Through captivating visuals and expert analysis, the film provides viewers with a comprehensive understanding of this cutting-edge architectural movement and its potential to reshape urban living in the face of the climate crisis.

The Sale of the first Royal Waterlofts floating houses in Zeewolde has begun

Royal waterlofts floating houses for sale

We are happy to announce the launch of sales for water residences at Blauwe Diamant in Zeewolde. This extraordinary development offers an unparalleled water experience with private moorings and direct access to Wolderwijd and other recreational water routes.

Prepare to be captivated by the remarkable features of these residences, which have earned them the well-deserved title of Royal Waterlofts! With their soaring 3-meter high ceilings and flexible floor plans, these homes redefine the standard of luxury living.

The ground floor’s open layout, adorned with expansive glass facades, invites an abundance of natural light, creating a seamless connection between the interiors and the picturesque surroundings. This distinctive design element truly sets the Royal Waterlofts apart.

Immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of the delightful spacious garden, where you’ll discover ample space for an outdoor kitchen and a cozy, secluded lounge area. Enjoy ultimate privacy and unwind in style in this tranquil oasis.

Moreover, the splendid terrace overlooking the glistening waters of the Blauwe Diamant offers breathtaking views, allowing you to savor every moment of this remarkable location.

With only 10 of these remarkable water residences available, now is the perfect time to secure your place in this exclusive community. Don’t miss the opportunity to embrace the unique water lifestyle.

To learn more about the  water residences, Royal Waterlofts, we invite you to visit the website of Balance d’eau. Discover the epitome of luxury waterfront living at Blauwe Diamant in Zeewolde!

Sales website:

Keynote at Pair Conference PolyU Hong Kong

Achievements of Waterstudio over the past two decades showcased by Koen Olthuis, at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Pair Conference, highlighting the incremental progress made towards maximizing the utilization of urban water resources. Through these small yet significant steps, we are poised to achieve a significant breakthrough in optimizing city spaces.

The Conference is Hong Kong’s premier event for professional knowledge exchange in interdisciplinary research and development within higher education. It allows for the sharing of innovative research and technological advancements by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and other institutions, fostering collaboration among stakeholders from industry, academia, and government to promote growth in science, technology, innovation, and research for Hong Kong and beyond.

Keynote at Buildings Mind Symposium TUDelft

Research conducted by Waterstudio’s Urban Water Laboratory (UWL) was presented by Sridhar Subramani during Delft University of Technology’s Buildings Mind Symposium.

UWL investigates floating solutions to address urban challenges by utilizing algorithms that simulate systems and human behaviors with swarm characteristics. These tools facilitate self-organizing adjustments to develop adaptable and livable cities. UWL also explores the application of machine learning to comprehend urban and human dynamics and develops mobile floating structures to foster resilient urban areas.

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