UN Round Table Interest
Architecture firm BIG has designed a concept for a floating city of 10,000 people that could help populations threatened by extreme weather events and rising sea levels. BIG founder Bjarke Ingels unveiled the scheme yesterday at a round-table discussion on floating cities at the United Nations's New York headquarters.
Archipelago City to House 10,000
Called Oceanix City, the concept consists of buoyant islands clustered together in groups of six to form villages. These clusters would then be repeated in multiples of six to form a 12-hectare village for 1,650 residents, and then again to form an archipelago home to 10,000 citizens.
"We've based it on this modular idea of a hexagonal island," Ingels said in the roundtable presentation.
"It has the omni-direction of a circle but it has the modularity and rationality of something manmade."
Oceanix – a company that develops innovate ways to build on water – commissioned BIG to develop the concept, working with MIT's Center for Ocean Engineering and Oceanix. The scheme was unveiled at the First UN High-level Roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities, which Oceanix co-convened with MIT, the Explorers Club and UN-Habitat, a UN offshoot mandated to work with city development.
Rising Sea Levels
Oceanix City is intended to provide a habitable, off-shore environment in the event of rising sea levels, which are expected to affect 90 per cent of the world's coastal cities by 2050. Each of the modules would be built on land and then towed to sea, where they would be anchored in place. The miniature islands are also designed to survive a category-five hurricane.
Arrangements would be flexible so that the cities could be moved if water levels became too low.
Warm, Soft Local Materials
BIG intends the buildings atop to be constructed from locally sourced "replenishable" materials such wood and fast-growing bamboo, which also offer " warmth and softness to touch".
Renewable Energy & Farming
A number of renewable energy resources, such as wind and water turbines and solar panels are also incorporated. Food production and farming would be integrated and follow a zero-waste policy.
“Every island has 3,000 square metres of outdoor agriculture that will also be designed so that it can be enjoyed as free space,” said Ingels.
‘Shading’ for 4 to 7 Storey Buildings
Structures populating the modules will be low-level – predicted to rise four to seven stories – in order to keep the centre of gravity. Renderings show that the buildings will taper out towards the top to provide shading and also extra roof space for solar panels.
Adaptable Community Frameworks
Each mini-village will include a community framework for living, including water baths, markets, spiritual and cultural hubs, but BIG intends the Oceanix City to be adaptable to "any culture, any architecture".
And All ‘Affordable”
Another major benefit of the floating city, according to Oceanix co-founder Marc Collins Chen, is that it is an example of an affordable development, which could offer a solution to displaced societies.
"It is our goal to make sure sustainable floating cities are affordable and available to
all coastal areas in need," said Chen. "They should not become a privilege of the rich."
Flood Risk Areas Target
Oceanix City is intended to be developed in sub-tropical and tropical areas that are most at risk of flooding first, but could soon offer a more attractive living environment.
"The idea that we are presenting here is not that we will all be living at sea in the future," said Ingels. "It won't be waterworld."
"This is simply another form of human habitat that can be a seed, that essentially can grow with its success as it turns out to be socially and environmentally desirable to choose this lifestyle," he continued.
Adapted to Climate Change
BIG's unveiling of Oceanix City at the UN marks a major step forward for developing cities adapted to climate change and the resulting threat of rising sea levels and extreme weather events. Amina Mohammed, UN deputy secretary-general, described floating cities as a way of tackling "frontier issues" facing human populations.
"We must build cities for people, not cars," she said. "And we must build cities knowing that they will be on the frontlines of climate‑related risks — from rising sea levels to storms. Floating cities can be part of our new arsenal of tools."
New York Prototype
Chen revealed that the team will move forward with producing a prototype of the scheme, with ambitions to launch it on New York's East River.
Surge of Interest
Oceanix City forms part of a surge of interest in floating cities, developed in response to rising sea levels. Examples of projects include colonies of floating houses along Amsterdam's river IJ and an amphibious house in the UK.
A number of US cities are exploring other ways to bolster their vulnerable shorelines. Boston and Miami are taking steps to address flooding, while San Francisco and the Bay Area unveiled a design competition asking for ways to protect coastal areas from rising sea levels, as well as earthquakes.
Benfield Built It!
Our interest in Design Thinking does not just stop at concepts. We are proud to have been the technical and structural design engineers and manufacturers for BACA architects private client design amphibious house in Marlow – mentioned in this article. Our R&D strives to keep abreast of developments, collaborating with architects and designers to turn concepts into factory built components for on-site assembly. We believe we are at the forefront of making DfMA a reality. It begins with the way we design, specify and incorporate ‘appropriate’ technology into all buildings. It also draws together concepts from over 50 years interest in sustainable development.
DfMA at the forefront
As Off-Site construction matures into Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) it is clearly at the forefront as an enabler for such delivery. New homes will very soon be ‘Smart’ in numerous ways, including full incorporation of energy saving and TIoT (the internet of things) to deliver major components. This is something that ‘Off-Site’. DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) will need to seriously consider as the industry moves forward.
Greater collaborative ‘partnering’ between architects, builders and manufacturers is needed to accomplish this The greater speed, accuracy and quality that can result from manufacturing components in a dry, controlled factory environment, together with the ability tom incorporate (yet to be invented) ‘Smart Ware’ gives home builders perhaps the only way of achieving this, together with improved on-site build quality AND controlling costs.
While resistance to the change to DfMA has been the norm, the wish of most UK Builders to deliver excellent customer service and top notch homes is now driving an increasing number to choose Off-Site for their developments. Also, as ‘OffSite Hub” note, architects and designers are moving toward DfMA, something w have been encouraging for over 20 years. The emergence of LA Developers will only speed up this process.
Easy Timber Frame
To assist them in doing so our “Easy Timber Frame “ now offers standard size modular timber frame elements for them to use as a design base, cutting down on technical design and engineering to produce win-win results.