May 3, 2011
201 Pearl Street
Dura Vermeer Floating City
Dura Vermeer Floating Homes
Weeks after the Japanese disaster, images of devastation, fear and terror still dominate the worldwide media, leaving governments, environmentalists and architects across the world grappling with ideas on how to build more ‘flood-proof’ structures.
But how can the world stop a tidal wave more than 10 metres high and travelling faster than an airplane, destroying whole coastal towns?
New York is not usually inhibited of leading the way and implementing strategies and trends for the rest of the world to follow, and in present-day New York, the focus is on creating flood-proof buildings, with stilts seemingly being the answer.
Since there was a recent change in building regulations in New York, developers of new constructions in flood-risk areas are required to design and build buildings on stilts, so that they stand at least 3ft above maximum flood levels.
Talking about designing buildings which are resistant to flood water, James P Colgate, assistant commissioner at the Department of Buildings says:
“There’s a very small population of buildings where you have to design on stilts. Most of these buildings are designed for still water. When the water comes up to a certain level and when it leaves, that event should happen without an insurance claim and without damage to the building or people.”
201 Pearl Street, a 28-storey residential and retail building in Manhattan has been designed to cope with potential flood water.
Designed by architect Avinash K Malhorta, this huge building features exceptionally thick walls, as well as shields that cover the doors to prevent any water from entering the building.
Although it is not just New York that is leading the way in designing building to resist the forces of nature.
As half of the Netherlands is situated below sea level, architects have long been designing buildings with flooding in mind. Floating homes are making their mark on the construction industry in Holland.
The Dutch construction group Dura Vermeer has already built 50 ‘floating’ homes, which can not only rise up to 5.5 meters in a flood, but will also stay bone-dry inside, ensuring no damage is done and all utilities remain working.
These revolutionary homes are built partly out of concrete and include a polystyrene base that insulates the house against cold water temperatures, whilst hollow concrete bases keep the houses afloat.
The demand for floating houses is on the rise, and Dura Vermeer is working on both national and international projects and is expected to produce hundreds of floating homes in the coming years.