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Waterstudio makes a splash with floating architectural visions

By Rich Haridy
New Atlas

The spectacular Sea Tree concept is designed for flora and fauna where cities have no land left for animals or plants to thrive. The estimated cost is €1 million (US$1.18 million) and the entire structure is tethered to the sea bed by cables(Credit: Waterstudio)

For the last 13 years, Dutch Architect Koen Olthuis has been designing floating structures at his firm Waterstudio. His spectacular visions for reimagining urban environments has resulted in over 200 floating buildings around the world. Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the studio’s work.

Olthuis’ work ranges from hugely speculative concepts like his spectacular Sea Tree, to firmly pragmatic design solutions like the Floating City Apps, which are refitted shipping containers that float on beds of recycled plastic bottles.

One of the more extraordinary recent floating projects to get underway is a series of private artificial islands in the Maldives called Amillarah. These luxury floating islands are designed for the super rich and the first island is set to be built soon, with dozens to quickly follow.

But Waterstudio isn’t just interested in designing islands for the super rich. In fact, Olthuis’ main vision is to create floating developments as an architectural response to rising sea levels and increasing urban density. The City Apps project in particular is a compelling, and adaptive, solution to helping less-advantaged communities in flood prone areas. The first major delivery, including a classroom and a floating solar energy plant, will soon arrive in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


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