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A $6 million floating home that can withstand Category 4 hurricanes is now a reality. Take a look inside

By Aria Bendix
Business Insider
Photo credits: Craig Denis

  • After years of development, the housing startup Arkup has debuted a floating home that can withstand rising sea levels and Category 4 hurricanes.
  • The home contains a hydraulic system that lifts it above water and anchors it during heavy winds.
  • Arkup envisions a future where entire communities in Miami and other major cities are designed to float.

Foto: Arkup Arkup’s first floating home debuted in February.

When the housing startup Arkup revealed its plan to build a floating, hurricane-proof yacht in 2017, South Florida had just witnessed the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm that destroyed hundreds of residences.

The company’s models were designed to weather a storm of that magnitude, but it would be another two years before they became a reality.

In February, Arkup debuted its first floating residence at a yacht show in Miami. Climatologists have pointed to the city as one of the areas most vulnerable to climate change.

The price tag for a fully furnished residence is steep – just under $6 million – but Arkup has plans to deliver smaller, more affordable units down the line. The company is accepting offers on its first model, as well as future models that have yet to be built.

For now, the yacht’s solar-powered roofs and hydraulic anchoring system come at a high cost. Its sleek designs also cater to luxury clients who often prefer to live on or near the water.

Take a look inside Arkup’s first floating home.

As a longtime Miami resident, Arkup cofounder Arnaud Luguet noticed that local authorities were struggling to prepare for the effects of climate change.

Foto: The units are just as mobile as a typical yacht.sourceArkup

Luguet saw floating homes as a way to make communities more resilient. He teamed up with Nicolas Derouin, an executive who shared his passion for the ocean and renewable energy, to create Arkup in 2016.

“We wanted to provide the next generation of floating homes or house boats that would be self-sufficient, sustainable, and also mobile,” Derouin told Business Insider.

Arkup’s model was inspired by floating houseboats in the Netherlands, where it’s common to live on the water.

Foto: The interior was designed by the home-furnishing company Artefacto.sourceArkup

Luguet and Derouin partnered with the Netherlands-based architecture firm Waterstudio, which specializes in designing floating homes.

Both Arkup and Waterstudio envision a future in which entireneighborhoods are built on the water in major cities such as New York and Miami.

Arkup’s first-ever model can be built on either land or water.

Foto: Waterstudio sees water as an asset, not a challenge, to new construction.sourceArkup

At 4,350 square feet, the home contains a customizable layout of four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms. It’s also mobile, so it can be driven to new locations.

Hydraulic studs anchor the yacht in place so it can withstand winds of up to 155 mph.

Foto: The residences provide 360-degree views of the water.sourceArkup

The wind speed of a Category 4 hurricane ranges from 130 to 156 mph.

Although the home is designed to bob with the water during a storm, Derouin said the studs help stabilize the structure to prevent motion sickness among residents.

“We wanted [residents] to be as safe and comfortable in the house as they would be on land,” he said.

The yacht’s jack-up system allows the vessel to be lifted up to 20 feet above water.

Foto: Derouin said storm surge poses a greater danger to homes than heavy winds.sourceArkup

Scientists predict the US could see nearly 6 feet of sea-level rise by the end of the century under the most extreme climate conditions. Arkup’s homes would clear these water levels, Derouin told Business Insider.

Residents can disconnect from sewage lines thanks to a system that collects, stores, and purifies rainwater.

Foto: Residents of an Arkup home can live off-grid.sourceArkup

The homes also have zero emissions and are powered by rooftop solar panels.

Derouin said Arkup’s next venture is to build floating communities and resorts.

Foto: Miami could see nearly 6 feet of sea-level rise by 2100.sourceArkup

The company hopes to use modular construction to build multiple units on the water. Derouin said Arkup has been in talks with private-island owners about developing floating communities.

The company is also interested in creating more affordable models, such as a floating complex of student homes. Derouin said Arkup is looking into building a “ranch” of smaller yachts that are each about 1,600 square feet. By building smaller, he said, Arkup can reduce its price tag.

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These floating buildings are made from thousands of plastic bottles that can withstand flooding

By Lenna Garfield
Business Insider
Photo Credits:Waterstudio


Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to flooding, storms, and impact from sea level rise.

In 2016, Bangladesh experienced four cyclones – a record number in the country’s recent history. And by 2050, sea level rise could inundate 17% of its land and displace up to 18 million people in Bangladesh, according to Atiq Rahman, the nation’s leading climate scientist.

Extreme weather events already flood many homes, schools, and commercial buildings every year.

An Amsterdam-based architecture firm called Waterstudio has come up with one possible solution: floating structures that can withstand storms.

Waterstudio will deliver five of these structures, called City Apps, in Dhaka, Bangladesh in late November.

Check out the project below.

Waterstudio will soon premiere five City Apps in Korail, a low-income community in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They are portable and can move to different neighborhoods.

Foto: A City App classroom in Amsterdam, Netherlands. source Waterstudio

City Apps can be customized for several types of uses, including classrooms, water filtration systems, medical clinics, or homes.

During the day, one structure will be a classroom featuring 20 tablet workstations and two teaching screens. In the evening, it will be used as an internet cafe.

Foto: A City App classroom in Amsterdam, Netherlands. source Waterstudio

The other four units will consist of a community kitchen, a facility with a public restroom and shower, and another with a back-up generator for electricity. The units are powered by solar panels located on the roofs.

Foto: A City App classroom in Amsterdam, Netherlands. source Waterstudio

The units will be buoyed to the sea floor, and move up and down as water levels rise, helping them withstand storms. They’re designed to be air-tight to reduce the risk of flooding.

Foto: source Waterstudio

The City Apps, which cost $53,000, were built in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Waterstduio CEO Koen Olthius told Business Insider.

Foto: source Waterstudio

Each foundation is made of wooden pallets, wire, and thousands of recycled plastic bottles, which allow the structures to float.

Foto: source Waterstudio

Founded in 2003, Waterstudio is known for its floating structures. It has constructed more than 200 buildings on water around the world, including these floating villas for a neighborhood called IJburg in Amsterdam, Netherlands:

Foto: source Waterstudio

Olthius hopes the City App project will provide valuable resources to neighborhoods in developing nations, especially ones threatened by climate change.

Foto: source Waterstudio

Waterstudio is working with local developers on the project in case they want to build more units.

“Some people live very close to the water — in vulnerable locations,” he said. “They can use these structures to improve their neighborhoods.”

Foto: source Waterstudio

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Dubai is getting these stunning $23 million floating villas that can withstand flooding

By Leanna Garfield
Business Insider
Photo Credits: Waterstudio

Like a number of coastal areas around the world, the United Arab Emirates is becoming increasingly vulnerable to sea level rise.

According to a 2017 study from the Emirates Wildlife Society and World Wildlife Fund, researchers expect ocean levels to rise around three feet by 2100. If that happens, water would inundate about 8.1% of the Emirate of Ajman, 1.2% of the Emirate of Sharjah, and 5.9% of the Emirate of Umm Al-Quwain. Many UAE residents live in these coastal areas.

A new type of floating home could withstand future rising sea levels. Waterstudio, a Dutch architecture firm that exclusively designs floating structures, is creating 33 private villas on artificial islands off the coast of Dubai. Developer Dutch Docklands will build the first one this month.

The buoyed islands will bob up and down with water levels so they won’t flood, Waterstudio founder Koen Olthuis told Business Insider.

Take a look at the project below.

This year, Dubai is getting its first of 33 floating villas by Waterstudio, which collaborated with French oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau.

There’s no set timeline on when the entire neighborhood, dubbed Amillarah, will be complete.


Foto: source Waterstudio

The islands will also include outdoor patios with trees and a pool.


Foto: source Waterstudio

The homes will not exactly be affordable. Each island will cost between $23 million and $27.5 million.

Foto: source Waterstudio

They went on sale in 2015.

The islands will range in size from 150,000 to 450,000 square feet.

Foto: source Waterstudio

The only way to reach them will be by boat or seaplane. If water levels rise, so will the homes.

Foto: source Waterstudio

The floating, concrete base of the islands are designed to last for 100 years, according to Olthuis.

Foto: source Waterstudio

Waterstudio has exclusively built floating structures for over a decade. In 2008, the team completed this floating neighborhood in Amsterdam.

Foto: source Waterstudio

Waterstudio’s latest luxury villas are part of an even more ambitious project that began in 2003 called “The World,” a 24-square-mile archipelago of over 300 artificial islands. Dubai-based developer wants to start building homes and hotels on them by 2020.

Foto: These islands won’t be around much longer. source Wikimedia Commons

Prior to 2009, “The World” had already racked up $25 billion debt. The financial challenges have only gotten more difficult.

The Amillarah villas could revive the fantastical project. “We will see more floating neighborhoods in the next five to 10 years,” Olthuis said. “Cities will start to see the water as an asset.”

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