The earth and the sea are going Dutch, so to speak, and splitting up Holland. With rising water levels, Holland is slowly becoming submerged – already 20% of the country is under water. City planners and architects are reacting by preparing their country for the possibility of total submersion. Rather than bemoaning their fate, architects at the Dutch company Dura Vermeer are seeing the problem as an opportunity. They have decided to start building a floating country.
One way that Dutch architects are implementing this solution is by building house foundations on the bottom of rivers. Whenever the water level rises, the house above floats upward to match the rising tides, while the low-lying foundation anchors the building in place. Architects are taking it one step further by building floating gardens. They create a concrete slab, add a layer that floats, and then flip it over. The lighter part floats and keeps the garden near the surface, while the concrete slab keeps the garden steady and level.
Some architects even want to take it a step further and create nomadic houses that can be detached, floated upstream, and anchored in a new area that is less likely to experience extreme flooding. Dutch architects envision entire floating villages that can be uprooted and relocated based on weather conditions.
Luckily, inhabitants with floating houses won’t need to surrender the luxuries of modern living. Flexible pipes and stretchy wires enable houses to move several meters before endangering the utilities. These new houses, much like the philosophy of the architects who designed them, will go with the flow and acknowledge climate change rather than struggling to avoid it.