..IJMEER WATERCITY


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Floating village China















Introduction


In order to formulate a problem statement on the AFTERVINEX studio, I summarized the main issues on VINEX. The review will be interwoven in further research and design. VINEX stands for "Vierde Nota Ruimtelijke Ordening Extra", a notation of the ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in the Netherlands (Ministry of VROM). Large outer city areas were pointed out in this notation for massive new housing development.
Between 1995 and 2005 suburbs popped up all around the cities to accommodate further growth of the Dutch population. Also the urban redevelopment within the inner-city structures, for example the Kop van Zuid or the Lloydkwartier in Rotterdam, is part of the VINEX. In case of the urban redevelopments the notation is quite successful. Reasons for their success seem to be logic; Good and fast connections with the city centre by public transport, cultural heritage that characterizes the site and the benefit of the city’s facilities. For suburban areas, none of the benefits mentioned above count. Space is the only ‘quality’ to be found within the suburbs. The possibility to have a private garden, grow a family and still live close to the city. Only, space is one of the critique points within the current review of most VINEX locations. Indeed the houses with families that actually have space seem to be satisfied with the way they are living, these types of dwelling concerned are mainly semi-detached houses or villas. With a density of 35 houses per hectare, the largest part of dwellings in the suburban areas exists out of Dutch row-houses. Research has pointed out that certain types of dwelling score lower than the same ones on different locations. The differences are on micro level, the level of the singular house and the direct neighbourhood. Apparently, the main issues have to do with density, public ‘green’ space and facilities. A higher density can only be attractive to live within when the amount of facilities on cultural level is rich enough. The demand for public spaces and facilities is always changing, as the place or neighbourhood its function. For example churches or other public buildings from the past are nowadays out of order and problems of emptiness arise. A building sometimes survives as it gets reused, only its public function disappears and no replacement is offered. New religions integrated in our society, so every year new ‘public’ buildings within this context arise… But should they be as permanent as they used to be and become icons within new settlements? Though public spaces create the sense of a community and binds people to their home or neighbourhoods. Can eco-gardens/ -farms / -cathedrals become new binding elements within our society? And if so, could they be arranged in such a way that there is the freedom to moor and re-settle?



Essay


How can we design a settlement structure that is flexible, sustainable and which is responding to its natural environment and inhabitants?

Within the theme of the studio After VINEX, the IJmeer is given as a location to base our research on. Therefore I choose watercity as the main theme to base further investigation onto. What if its flood and Nagele starts to float? Dwellings on water seem to be a pleasant way of living with a feeling of freedom. In a search for reference projects I run into complete self supporting
floating villages in China.

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Floating village China, Erasmus Franciscus Lustgarten 1668


The book ‘Architecture Without Architects’ is published after the exhibition, shown at the Museum of Modern Art from November 9, 1964 to February 7, 1965. It provides a demonstration of the artistic, functional, and cultural richness of vernacular architecture.One of the themes documented in the book is ‘aquatic architecture’. The proximity of a body of water whether a river, a lake or the sea, has always been of great consideration in the choice of a community.

In the Orient, millions of people live much like waterfowl, more or less permanently on the water. The advantages of the site are evident, the waterways never need be torn up for costly repairs, drains suffer no stoppage, a bath is ready at all hours. Besides, the expanse of water functions as a cooling plant during the hot season.

Then there is the more ‘modern’ example
Teatro del Mondo made by Aldo Rossi. It was almost without knowing if a piece of land had been added to Venice islands or detached away from them, that The Theatre of the World did appear. In 1979 Aldo Rossi planned this floating structure as a versatile stage for performing arts. As he explained, “The project for the Teatro del Mondo is marked by three aspects: having a precise usable if not defined space, its positioning as a volume in accordance with Venetian movement, being on the water. Clearly, being on the water is its main characteristic; it is a raft, a boat: the limit or border of construction in Venice”. This ephemeral wonder lasted until 1980, when it last traveled to the Dubrovnik International Festival. After that, the only wreckage surviving until today is the sphere placed at the top, which has been rescued from a warehouse for the Biennale di Venezia. An on-going exhibition re-launching the theatre, mix of the Shakespearean Globe and the will re-float it until July 2010.“One could look out of the windows, and outside see the passing of the vaporetti and ships as though one were aboard another vessel, and these other ships entered into the image of the theatre, constituting its true fixed and mobile stage.”


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Teatro del mondo, Aldo Rossi

One other book based on the topic movement and flexibility of dwellings is: Portable Architecture, written by Pilar Echavarria. A small introduction on the book: “Thousands years of tradition, of mobile lives crossing places and situations in a constant state of change, unpredictable landscapes, natural and urban settings, war-torn lands, fictious and, now, cybernetic-virtual spaces: structures of capable of responding, reacting and protecting without leaving a physical trace. Like architecture in stone, they have survived. Today, they still satisfy the demands of a life in motion.” The most interesting part I find is that once an ideal space of living is realized, these structures are able to be replaced without a trace. The changing climate becomes more volatile and level of the sea is rising. With that fact in mind living on water becomes more and more attractive and brings along many advantages.

"A fourth of The Netherlands exists out of water. That is a big treasure we should cherish, and take the benefits of this fact in a responsible way."


Living on water might seem to be romantic and a free way of living. Unfortunately some realized projects point out that this is not entirely the case, for example the by Marlies Rohmer. Obviously the ambition was to create a structure that is flexible with the freedom for movement. The density does not contribute to the advantage of living freely on the water. One of the problems in this situation is the fact that all of the floating houses are connected to the utility facilities in big scale on the mainland. Instead we might want to achieve that a flexible structure can be provided and the houses can be clustered in a more random way.

“A moving city that appears overnight then vanishes quietly, departing in the mist to a new location; an ephemeral, adaptable resource, with each visit it changes size and make up, adapting organically to the desires of the inhabitants of this fluid settlement. A settlement that is flexible. Individual houses, which could easily be clustered into groups, according to personal needs and benefits one, could take from another. Even they might grow into a community.” Quote from the book SubUrban to SuperRural – by Dominic Stevens.


Considering the changing population in the Netherlands, different needs are to be taken into account. Adjustable homes that can be gathered when there is the need to extend or share facilities. The individual units could change in function and even be replaced in another context, where no traces are left behind. The flexibility of a human being is very much related to the flexibility of a house and its adaptability.
The ideal situation would be to make the floating houses completely self sufficient. The techniques are available and there are some build examples, like the geWoonboot and Anthanea. Although the Anthanea is a project that is flexible to grow into a cluster, the individuality of these boat houses contributes to the free movement. In that way there is the possibility to easily settle in another location. The only fact is that a settlement arranged in this order, does not contribute or provide anything for its environment.

How can we create a settlement structure of floating houses that are dependent from each other to function but maintain their individuality? What could be a binding technique which operates better and more efficient in bigger scale? In a search for this function, I have been reading about water treatment facilities. A well know natural technique of water treatment are the constructed wetlands. They proved to be far more efficient in big scale, rather than the individual small ones.
Deltasync developed the concept for a Floating Utility Unit.

The Floating Utility Unit is not to be regarded as a definitive product. It is rather a toolbox that can be utilized at different locations with specific demands. The consideration of sustainable technology and feasibility is used as a basic principle. A business enterprise or foundation exploits the Utility Units, so that from a user perspective there is hardly any difference with regular public utilities. Other floating utilities could be a theater, church, mosque, library or bank. All of these functions we can find in build examples, shown with some my references.

Contemplative Nagele, the settlement does not seem to be so successful anymore in these days. Because of its closed off urban design there is less flexibility to grow and shrink. Therefore we have to take into account that flexibility is becoming a more and more desired aspect when it comes to future townplanning.

Maybe the need for housing in the ‘Randstad’ will decrease as a cause of growing networks and partial society decides to move to the great open north of The Netherlands again. Sustainability within the topic of footprints, densities and typologies therefore should be flexible and movable, in order to reclaim the water and natural landscape.



Reference projects + techniques


Floating village + Theatro del Mondo + geWoonboot + Waterdwellings + Fluidcity + Floating utility unit + Floating Pavilion + Floating farms + Anthenea




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Floating church Cambodia, Ties Rijcken

Floating village



Siem Reap is a floating village, complete with social facilities: a floating hospital, a police station, floating shops, a tourist restaurant and even a floating church. The floating structures are connected to each other, or to long poles stuck in the mud. The core economic base is formed by the fishermen who need to live close to the sea for their fishing and close to the land to sell their fish. The reason for their habitat is that the shoreline of Siem Reap has excessive fluctuating water levels. Fixed houses would be regularly inundated, but the floating village moves in its entirety with the floods.

"The inhabitants are fishermen who need to be close to the water for their livelyhood. And to sell the fish they need to be close to the land. Because of the fluctuating water levels, the coastline migrates back and forth.The houses should move along with it and a floating substructure."






Teatro del mondo

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Teatro del mondo, Aldo Rossi



In 1979 Aldo Rossi planned this floating structure as a versatile stage for performing arts. As he explained, “The project for the
Teatro del Mondo is marked by three aspects: having a precise usable if not defined space, its positioning as a volume in accordance with Venetian movement, being on the water. Clearly, being on the water is its main characteristic; it is a raft, a boat: the limit or border of construction in Venice”.




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Gewoonboot, foto: Freddy Schinkel

Self sufficient boathouse

The self sufficient boathouse is developed by The Key, Amsterdam. All of the needed energy is obtained on the boat, also water is treated and purified. The boat is the first self sufficient house, not connected to any utility facilities on the main land. On board installations are realized to produce energy and generate heat and filter the water.

Purification of (waste)water
A constructed wetland is connected to the boat and purifies the waste- and rainwater. Constructed wetlands are marshes built to treat contaminated water. They have four key components:
  • Soil and drainage materials (such as pipes and gravel)
  • Water
  • Plants (both above and below the water)
  • Micro-organisms



Constructed wetlands purify the water that flows through them. Compared to conventional treatment methods, they tend to be simple, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly. Constructed wetlands may be used to treat water from many different sources: Sewage; Stormwater; wastewater.
The water needed for consumption usage needs to be heated up to 87°C and is stored in tanks.


Powerplant
The geWoonboot generates own electricity by a combination of solarpanels and a very economical dieselgenerator. The heat of the generator is used for the cv and tap water. When there is a surplus (in summer and spring) the energy is used for heat supply towards white goods.


Heat generation
The heat that is needed on board is provided by three sources: sunenergy, heat of the dieselgenerator and heatpump.

Optimal ventilation and insulation
The facade insulation has got a minimum Rc value of 4,0 m2K/W. Through the air exchanger, the heat of effluent ventilation air is added to the fresh incoming air. In this way the ventilation hardly uses any energy. In summertime the air exchanger works in the opposite way.





Waterdwellings


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Waterdwellings, Marlies Rohmer

Is it a boat or a house? Is it romantic or utilitarian? It’s a hybrid. It’s not what it appears to be.

Building on water is another story altogether….

Water is not like land. If you plan to build on water, you need to do so with respect for the unique nature of water. Water is pioneering, water is adventure, danger, and relaxation, water lets you elude the rules of dry land. Living on water also means views, movement, boat docked at home, romance, jetties, a sense of individuality, wind and clouds, space, contact with the elements, feeding swans from your kitchen, ice skating around your house.

The floating homes are constructed with the basement as a concrete structure, which are positioned half sunken in the water. On top of that a light wooden structure which is covered with glass and plastic facade elements. The concrete basements are moored with scaffold construction to the deck. With a construction package of porches, floating terraces, the house can be extended.





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Fluidcity, Suburban to SuperRural

Fluidcity


Mobile, nimble
A moving city that appears overnight then vanishes
quietly, departing in the mist to a new location; an
ephemeral, adaptable resource, with each visit it changes size and make up, adapting organically to the desires of the inhabitants of this fl uid, linear settlement. Though a large proportion of the new dwellings would be in a fi xed position, the infrastructure of servicing will be mobile. Instead of travelling to the city, the city travels to you. Cinema, bank, shop, nightclub, art gallery, museum—everything you need or enjoy—plies the river, bringing the world to your door. Electrical boats, batteries charged with wind, solar and water turbines, constantly on the move—the circus comes to town.











Floating utility unit

Deltasync developed the concept for a Floating Utility Unit.
The Floating Utility Unit is not to be regarded as a definitive product. It is rather a toolbox that can be utilized at different locations with specific demands. The consideration of sustainable technology and feasibility is used as a basic principle. A business enterprise or foundation exploits the Utility Units, so that from a user perspective there is hardly any difference with regular public utilities.

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Floating Utility Unit, Deltasync

1 Plug’n’play connections.
Connections that enable flexible urban planning.
2 Integrated piping.
Ducts and pipes are integrated in the infrastructure
3 Permeable surfaces.
Surfaces that can be used for rainwater harvesting.
4 Membrane bioreactor.
Treats waste water.
5 Direct Nanofiltration.
Potable water is harvested from surface water.
6 Seasonal storage.

Heat is stored in aquifers to save energy.
7 Submerged water storage.

A flexible bag that serves as a temporary storage facility for purified water.
8 Windturbine mooring pole.

A small wind turbine that is fit for use in residential areas that can easily be combined with necessary mooring facilities.
9 Solar-energy.

PV-panels are an effective source of
energy. Residents can lease their roof area
to the operator and save on energy bills.
10 Helofyte filter.

Vegetation that treats grey waste water.





Floating Pavilion


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Floating Pavilion, Rotterdam Climate Initiative
As the water level rises, the floating pavilion will automatically rise accordingly. This makes the pavilion an example of climate change resilient building, a technology for which demand is growing strongly in Rotterdam. The innovative pavilion responds to the collective objectives of Rotterdam to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 by 50% and to ensure that the city remains climate change resilient also in the future.
With its unique shape, the building will be highly distinctive and a prominent feature in the city. The pavilion will be built using sustainable materials that include a special foil that will be used to clad the domes. Dubbed ETFE, the foil will be about 100 times lighter than glass, which makes it eminently suitable for floating structures.
The pavilion’s heating and air conditioning systems will rely on the use of solar energy and surface water. IT also contains various climatic zones where energy is only used in places where it is required at any specific moment. With the use of renewable energy, the pavilion will largely be self-sufficient.




Floating farms

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Floating farms, Bart van Bueren


Floating Water Agriculture

There is plenty of space and development opportunities for floating on the water. Floating build competition with land use and climate is fully adaptive. Aquaculture and hydroponics are not dependent on their soil and can thus (floating) on the water are grown. The pilot module consists of 6 basins each 1.000m2, a workshop and an eco tourism site. The hexagon structure is a very effective geometry to large ponds with minimal equipment, in addition, in this way the workshop with 6 tanks are connected.



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Anthenea


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Anthenea, Jean-Michel Ducancelle

In The Spy Who Loved Me, James Bond and his sidekick use a luxuriously high tech life capsule to escape a watery grave. This cinematic vision inspired the French navel Architect to desgin a fully fitted, spherical floating island capable of deployment on the high seas. The result is a fantastic saucer- shaped habitat by the name of Anthenea that is brilliantly innovative in it’s multifunctionality. There is now an ‘Anthenea Family with models available in three sizes.




Bibliography



1. Bernard Rudolfsky, Architecture without architects, New York, 1965
A book published after the exhibition Architecture Without Architects, shown at the Museum of Modern Art from November 9, 1964 to February 7, 1965. It provides a demonstration of the artistic, functional, and cultural richness of vernacular architecture.
2. Marina van den Bergen en Piet Vollaard, Hinder en ontklontering, Rotterdam, 2003
The book about van Klingeren, is focused specifically on the theme society, on hindrance and declottering. In his opinion, constructing should contribute to the de-clotting of society. Mixing functions should stimulate hindrance. An ideal situation would be one were is everything possible with 60 percent perfection, 20 percent hindrance and 20 percent meeting. In his opinion, this would encourage contact and stimulated social acceptance. Also, a buildings form should not follow it’s function too much.
3. Mason Andrews, Peter Arnell, Rafael Moneo, Aldo Rossi, Vincent Scully, Aldo Rossi buildings and projects, New York, 1985
The book gives an overview of his work. The part I was specifically interested in is the Teatro del Mondo. A floating theatre realized for biennale in Venice.
4. Shane O’Toole, SubUrban to SuperRural, Ireland, 2006, pp. 106 – 117, 128 – 139
A publication of Ireland at the Venice biennale 10th architecture exhibition. What might an alternative Ireland look like in 2030? Nine architects who will shape that Ireland have prepared a series of projects and scenarios curated by FKL architects, that offer different glimps of what might be. I specifically looked at Fluid city by Dominic Stevens and Tideaways by MacGabhann architects.
5. Pilar Echavarria, Portable architecture: and unpredictable surroundings, Arian Mostaedi, 2008
Mobile explores the ever-growing range of possibilities of portable, demountable, and mobile structures. The book shows the work of the most interesting contemporary designers of dynamic, active structures, whose work ranges from the microenvironment of a house that literally attaches to your body, from the interior of a Boeing jet (the Anthenea aquasphere by Jean-Michel Ducancelle) to an entire mobile community whose living units plug into a framework of flexible communal space. Especially the fact that all these different types of dwelling can move without leaving any trace is on of durable sites I would want to address in my research.
6. Felix Flesche, Water house, Munich: Prestel, 2005
An exploration of built and yet-to-be-realized aquatic habitats shows how water has become architecture’s next frontier. Whether they’re floating on top, hovering over, or submerged beneath the water, each of the more than fifty structures examined here demonstrates an innovative use of water resources.
7. Institute for advanced architecture of Catalonia, Self-sufficient housing, Barcelona, 2006
A book published after the competition on self-sufficient housing, launched by the Institute for advanced architecture of Catalonia. One of the projects published in this book is the Echinite project, a research/ design by Interaction architecture. The design is a mobile floating structure for holidays up to twelve people. Energy is taken from wind, sun, waterstream en biological waste.
8. Oliver Herwig, Featherweights: Light, mobile and Floating architecture, 2003
A book about the exploration of lightness in architecture explains how and why the movement began, and shows where it will take us in the future. Architecture has been moving towards lightness since the beginning of the twentieth century. As new building materials become available, and as land disappears, we have to focus on efficiency, impermanence and flexibility in structures.
9. Robert Kronenburg, Flexible: Architecture that Responds to change, 2007
This book explores the whole genre of flexible architecture buildings that are intended to respond to evolving situations in their form, operation, or location. Crossing the boundaries between architecture, interior design, product design, and furniture design.
10. Hilde Blank, Ontwerpen aan Randstad 2040, Rotterdam, 2009
This book focuses on the application of design to planning in the Randstad con-urbation. In the spring of 2008, a number of urban planners, architects and landscape architects took part in a series of workshops which were headed by Yttje Feddes, Matthijs Bouw, Hilde Blank and Jan Brouwer. Their purpose was to consider spatial options for the western part of the Netherlands in preparation for the Randstad 2040 Structural Vision.
11. Gert Staal, Atelier IJmeer 2030+, Rotterdam : 010 Publishers, 2006
Atelier IJmeer was commissioned by the Cities of Amsterdam and Almere to make a three-year study of Almere’s westward development. This urban design studio sought a course of action that welds together ecological development, environmental defence and Almere’s link-up with Amsterdam and the North Wing of the Randstad conurbation. The book shows several studies on urban scale and ecological development, also on types of dwelling.
12. http://www.dekey.nl/top/projecten/duurzaamheid/gewoonboot/
13. http://www.advancedarchitecturecontest.org

14. http://www.ecoboot.nl/ecoboot_new/?p=338
15. http://waterarchitect.nl/

16. http://www.deltasync.nl/deltasync/
17. http://www.waterwonen.nl/

18. http://www.floatingcommunities.com/floating_communities_architecture.html
19. http://www.rotterdamclimateinitiative.nl/nl/100_klimaatbestendig/projecten/drijvend_paviljoen_in_rotterdam_centrum?portfolio_id=19