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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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