Floating homes: a solution to flooding, crowded cities and unaffordable housing

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Floating homes: a solution to flooding, crowded cities and unaffordable housing
Urban Rigger floating housing / © Urban Rigger

Architects from Amsterdam to Lagos are building on water to try to tackle the twin urban pressures of population density and climate change

It’s a timber-clad house with open-plan living, pale floorboards and large windows giving views across Chichester canal. This building designed by London-based Baca Architects has a unique feature – it floats.

Completed this month, the amphibious house was developed as a prototype by Baca and Floating Homes, a manufacturer specialising in flood-resilient housing, in response to a competition launched last year to find a solution to London’s housing crisis.

The house is intended to be practical, affordable (a two-bed unit will sell for £200,000) and equipped to deal with floods, by rising with the water levels. Ultimately the company wants to unlock redundant waterways by building on “bluespace” sites – manmade docks, canals and marinas – across London.

“Collectively, bluespace has the potential to deliver as many as 7,500 floating homes with minimal disruption to existing communities”, says Richard Coutts, director at Baca Architects.

Floating architecture has real potential to help ease some of London’s housing problems, says Alex De Rijke of dRMM architects, which won a competition to design the UK’s first floating villages in London Docklands. […]

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