Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Building on Water

The Dutch have a history of "keeping their feet dry" or living with water through years of intense water management.  Traditionally people like the build on dry land, but what happens when that option is gone?

Houseboats aren't a new technology, but they can be found throughout the Netherlands.  There was a large increase in the number of houseboats after World War II with all the leftover barges hanging around.  Today the canals are filled to near capacity.

Houseboats
In Amsterdam, land is scarce (as well as city canal space).  Expansion is being pushed into the waterways.  One example is the Silodam, an apartment building built over the water next to an old dock.  The apartments are no different than those on dry land, and the dock even provides both above ground and below ground car parking.

The Silodam building
Automated car parking machine underneath the dock.
To the east of Amsterdam is the community of Ijburg that is being created from the waterway.  Within the area are buildings similar to the Silodam, but there are also floating neighborhoods.  Unlike the Silodam, these neighborhoods rise and fall with any change in sea level; they are not rigid structures.

A colorful floating community at Ijburg
 Both sites can be viewed as examples of resilient buildings and potential strategies for emergency shelter construction.  If flooding is the hazard, why not build a floating component to a structure?

-Caryssa

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