I write for an aquatic architecture blog. As you might expect, I see a lot of floating buildings, underwater tunnels, fountains, pools, and pretty much everything else you could possible dream up that somehow combines water with power tools. So, while I may not be the world’s leading expert on aquatic architecture (for that, you may want to check out Koen), I’m certainly familiar with enough stuff that I can add my two cents without sounding too terribly pretentious.
There’s one trend I’ve discovered in aquatic architecture, a sort of spectrum of feasibility. On one side of the spectrum, you have more functionality and less flare, buildings that are designed first to float on water, and any other decoration is an afterthought. On the other side of the spectrum is fanfare and questionable designs. Buildings that fall on this side of the spectrum don’t seem to really focus all that much on feasible designs or the logistics of floating structures at all. For these, it really seems like the designers are just using the whole water aspect as a way to drum up more support and get people interested in it.
Generally speaking, all aquatic buildings I cover tend to fall somewhere on the spectrum. They’re either functional and simple, or stupidly flashy to the point of absurdity, leaving everybody to wonder if it will even float at all.
While the Dutch design company Waterstudio.nl does have a few buildings that push the flashy envelope, what I like about them most is that they seem to prefer the functional design of realistic buildings. They understand that you don’t have to flaunt the whole floating feature. It’s just a tool, a convenient utilitarian aspect that makes it more versatile. I mean, what designer would flaunt the fact that his building has air conditioning, or modern plumbing by incorporating it into his design? Seems a bit silly, doesn’t it?
Well, the guys at Waterstudio.nl are focused on making buildings that work, even if that means that designs are relatively humble. This new design for an office space, as you can see, looks more like a floating trailer home than the floating home of tomorrow. They did spice it up a bit with a stylish green interior and notched walls, but the whole of the design is really quite uninspired.
But here’s the thing: should we care? Should we be bothered that this humble design is so simple that many passers-by might not even realize it’s floating at all? I mean, when you’ve got one of Waterstudio.nl’s buildings, you can be certain that you’ve got a building that won’t sink to the bottom of the ocean. Is it worth it to surrender flare in the name of functionality?
Considering that the human race is just beginning to get really involved in aquatic architecture, I say yes. If you’ve got to learn to crawl before you can walk, then Waterstudio.nl’s structures are great starting points for floating buildings.