Floating Architecture: A Futuristic Perspective for Cities

Floating Architecture


Global warming and overpopulation are affecting the environment with many hazards, like an increase in water levels, and limited resources. A smart solution to the urgent situation is the floating architecture. The floating architecture can be made of temporary or permanent structures that float on the surface of the water using hydrophobic materials, making the structure buoyant. Archimedes’s law can also be used as a basic principle of floating architecture. The floating system of a ship can also be incorporated into floating structures, which can provide different experiences to the users.

Floating Architecture can be a new way for engineers, architects, and urban planners have adapting to solve the severe problem of overpopulation. Floating Architecture helps to deal with the harm that has been caused to the environment and natural resources by providing additional space and energy resources for people. A futuristic perspective begins with reviewing the need for floating structures and their scope for the development & growth of cities.


The development of floating structures is not a new concept for the world. It dates to antiquity, to the 480BC when King Xeres of Persia led his army across the Hellespont using two rows of floating bridges built on boats. The history of floating architecture is very dense and is widespread across almost all continents. The technique and architecture of these structures had the same influence but evolved all over the world depending on the climatic conditions, the cultural difference, and locally available raw materials. 

The most known history of floating architecture is in Asia, where people migrated from place to place and spent years in their vessels. Later, these developed into boathouses, which are now a tourist attraction in many Asian cultures. In India, these boathouses can be seen in Kerala, Goa, and many other coastal regions.

Few Examples of Floating Architecture 

Watervilla / +31ARCHITECTS

Watervilla is a floating multi-unit housing with an area of 25,000 sqft – 100,000 sqft in the Netherlands, designed and constructed by +31ARCHITECTS, inaugurated in 2015. Waterville was inspired by the design of the modern “Watervilla the Omval”, which was also their creation.

Two basic principles have been used for making Watervilla float. First is the pontoon principle, which is useful for shallow waters with a solid platform that is lighter than the water. The second principle is inspired by the design of a ship with a hollow concrete box that is open on the top and all the air flows in the open box, hence getting the buoyancy to float.

Water Villa Omval

Watervilla Villa Omval is a floating residence with an area of 200sqm in the Netherlands, designed and constructed by +31ARCHITECTS, inaugurated in 2010. Water Villa Omval rigidly designed houseboat, which floats in the Amstel River of Amsterdam. The standard vessel appearance of the present houseboats was dropped and a very contemporary design with an eminent curved line on the façade was used.

Floating Architecture at Drijvend Paviljoen​ (Floating Pavilion)

The Floating Pavilion was designed by the design team Deltasync/PublicDomain Architects designed a 12-meter tall, full option multimedia house and event space. The floating pavilion is a complex floating system consisting of three connected half-spheres. It was constructed by Dura Vermeer is remarkable not only because of the semi-circular spheres floating on the water, but also because of its climate-proof, innovative, sustainable, and flexible qualities. 

The Floating Pavilion’s facade is composed of modular hexagonal forms made from steel and covered with ETFE foil- a material a hundred times lighter than glass, which does not burden the foundation. The Pavilion is a way to symbolize ways to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions as the foil is double-layered and filled with air, acting as insulation in cold and warmer seasons. The pavilion is connected to a floating platform that is joined to the quayside by two bridges, construction method was developed and patented by Dura Vermeer and Unidek. 

Archipelago Cinema 

Archipelago Cinema is a collaboration between Ole Scheeren and the Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Foundation to create a Floating 120-seat Auditorium, Bar, and Sound Stage with an area of 255 m2, Nai Pi Lae Lagoon, Kudu Island, Thailand. Archipelago Cinema is based on the techniques used by fishermen to construct floating lobster farms which are based on the principle of the raft system and are built out of recycled materials as a series of individual modules.

Pavilion of Reflection

The Pavilion of Reflections designed by Studio Tom Emerson, floating on Lake Zürich, is a temporary timber structure equipped with a bar, LED screen, theatre setting, a sundeck, and much more. A floating pavilion of reflections was built by the students of Tom Emerson’s ETH for Manifesta 11. Manifesta 11, the 100-day event marking the 20th year of the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, displays the complex and rapidly changing identity of the city.

The Floating Kayak Club 

The Floating Kayak Club located in Vejle Fjord, Denmark, is a floating Kayak Club designed by a Force4 architectural firm. The Floating Kayak Club form is divided into two volumes, one dedicated to the users for recreational activities like community training, playing as well as social events and the other to the kayaks.

The Floating Kayak Club is connected to the mainland via a pontoon bridge or a floating bridge, which is generally used in shallow-draft boats to support a continuous deck for mostly pedestrian movement. A pontoon bridge is sometimes also used as buoyancy support to the structures.

Salmon Eye

'salmon eye', a floating exhibition center devoted to aquaculture, takes shape in norway

‘Salmon eye’ is a floating exhibition center devoted to aquaculture, about to be built in the city of Norway. The Salmon eye project will blend a pontoon principle and an unconventional elliptical upper structure that can merely be accessible via water. ‘Salmon eye’ building is designed with a shape that resembles a salmon’s eye with the exterior is to be clad in 9,500 high-grade stainless steel that was inspired by the ‘scales’, imitating the appearance and color of salmon skin.

The Exbury Egg 

Space Placemaking and Urban Design to work together with architects PAD Studio to develop a workspace in the Exbury Egg. The Exbury Egg is a home, workplace, and lab that is permanently moored on the Beaulieu River in Hampshire, England. The outer skin is formed from Western Red Cedar, which has been left untreated so that it will be weathered and eroded by nature, a symbol of many years. The Exbury Egg works on the floating mechanism boat rising and falling with the tide of the river.


The Netherlands has had a recent trend of floating homes being eligible as a significant solution to Holland’s modern housing needs. Canals with houseboats are a very common sight in Dutch cities, with occasionally floating hotels, restaurants, or casual cafes. Waterwoningen is a water-based housing development that shares more characteristics with land-based housing.

8th Continent

Lenka Petráková, a senior designer at Zaha Hadid Architects in London, has designed an ingenious floating research station that can clean the ocean’s waters which would help to restore the balance in the marine life. The 8th Continent was awarded the 2020 Grand Prix Award for Architecture and Innovation of the Sea from Foundation Jacques Rougerie.

Oceanix City

Oceanic and BIG’s firm have an idea of creating a living environment on a man-made island floating islands for people to live sustainably on the ocean. Architecture firm BIG has designed a concept of a floating city of 10,000 people that could help with over-population and limited land resources. The idea is to initiate the use of a prototype, the hexagonal floating units, which would be secured about off the coast of major global cities. 

These floating cities would be self, sustainable with regenerative sources of energy like water, solar, and floating agricultural islands that may last for years. BIG’s concept of a floating city includes a water desalination plant on the underside of the individual island unit, which may also act as a source of energy to keep the island afloat.


The global increase in population and the increase in the demand for natural resources have shot up. Floating Architecture serves as an urgent solution to overpopulation and a Design strategy for floating buildings based on sustainable architecture and sea energy resources can not only improve sustainability goals in the areas of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and water but can also increase the attractiveness of floating buildings designs to avoid climate change and global warming. Floating architecture can be an interesting way to combine sea resources and buildings. 

Floating architecture is not only a new way of architectural designing but also encourages the use of sea energy resources and integration into the design. Floating architecture can become a new way of architectural design with sustainable and regenerative architecture to deal with limited natural resources. Floating architecture encourages the construction of floating structures in terms of renewable sea energies and sustainable and environmentally friendly architecture. Utilizing environmentally friendly materials, reducing carbon prints, wastewater treatment methods, and using solar energy can be an added advantage to Floating architecture.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *