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So house boats might be a good idea
by Katy Purviance on 03/31/08 @ 09:58:52 am
Categories: Articles | 453 words | 1142 views

I just read this article in Architect Magazine about the world of the near future.

The water world.

You know, because of green house gases, climate change, melting glaciers, changing coastlines…

As the oceans heat up, they expand—up to eight inches in height already—and melting glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica continue to pump up the volume. The flow of ice into the sea has doubled over the past decade and over the next century could cause a 20-foot rise, making densely populated regions like the Nile Delta uninhabitable. In the U.S., even three more feet would flood every city on the Eastern seaboard. If you remember the aerials in An Inconvenient Truth, you know how this might look: Whole coastlines shrink as water spills inland and redraws the map of the world.

Architecture Research Office of New York has come up with some ideas for how to deal.

Fast-forwarding to 2106, ARO imagines a postdiluvian Big Apple as Big Venice—canals for streets and boats in lieu of cars. To maintain comparable density after the flood, ARO inserts new buildings over the public right-of-way. Spanning curb to curb, these unique structures, called “vanes,” would become reeflike foundations for a new communal habitat. “We have nature all around us—it’s the water,” says ARO’s Adam Yarinsky. “It’s not green space, but it’s natural.” Rediscovering the city’s relationship with the rivers, he feels, can “transform a catastrophe into a revelation.”

A design firm called Field Operations has another idea: Biopolis.

As principal James Corner explains, the first four centuries of the city’s development have been driven by economics—for example, about 3,600 acres of landfill have been added to Manhattan to increase available real estate. But he sees the city shifting from economics to ecology, becoming an integrated habitat of people, fauna, and flora—what he calls “a biological engine” and “an incubator for new life.” Instead of containing landscape within clearly defined boundaries—the Central Park model—vegetation would become the backbone of the community’s development. “Too often development and sustainability are seen as opposed,” says Corner. “But the two should go hand in hand.”

MIT students are finding inspiration from other watery locals.

Stilt villages have thrived forever in the Gulf of Thailand, so why not the Gulf of Mexico? Graduate students at MIT designed the storm-resistant Lift House for just this purpose.

Or what if people lived in billboards?

The Polish design firm Front Architects has designed a modernist twist in its “Single Hauz” concept. An occupied billboard, this simple box perched on a single post works with any terrain.

Or what about recreation in a floating parts like the architectural stylings of Norway’s Jensen & Skodvin?

Read the whole thing.

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Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!

I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.

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