位在 Amsterdam Ijburg 的漂浮屋 Watervilla ，實踐了在水上生活的概念。（Waterstudio 提供）「建築師的使命在於改變人們對城市的想像和概念。」 – 荷蘭 Waterstudio 創辦人 Koen Olthuis
荷蘭的 Waterstudio 創辦人 Koen Olthuis 提出「漂浮屋」的概念，利用中空的混凝土基座、填入發泡材料後，再將房子建在該基座上，並利用浮力承載房屋的重量漂浮於水上。除了漂浮的基座外，漂浮屋也能利用纜繩與支柱，將房屋固定於岸邊或水上，隨著水位升降。值得一提的是，漂浮屋全部都是利用現有的建築技術，房屋的內部結構也與一般住宅沒有任何差異。建造漂浮屋不需重新擴地、整地，改變自然的樣貌，也不需要像過去荷蘭開發淤田般，需要24小時不間斷地利用泵浦抽水，耗費大量能源。
而從漂浮屋延伸出去的「city apps」概念，則是 Waterstudio 對氣候變遷及都市化的回應。「我們可以將都市結構想像成一部智能型手機，在硬體上面，隨著不同的需求與功能靈活地加入、或移除各式各樣的軟體與apps。」 Olthuis 解釋。利用與漂浮屋相同的基座，漂浮屋可以擴大建為「漂浮城市」區塊，依不同的需求添加在現有的城市基礎上。可移動的基座、以及能用纜繩固定的結構，提供了能夠隨時組裝與拆卸的靈活性。這些漂浮城市區塊甚至在解決暫時需求後，還能移動至別的城市，延長建築的使用壽命。舉例來說，某城市為了奧運所興建的運動場或選手村，可以在奧運結束後，租借給其他城市使用。回收再利用的概念，使得老舊、廢棄與毀壞重建不再是建築物唯一的命運，都市計畫也從此有了更多的可能性。
目前除了荷蘭境內， Waterstudio 也在世界各地有許多建築案例，例如位於馬爾地夫的「Greenstar」漂浮旅館與會議中心，以及位於阿聯酋的漂浮清真寺。
漂浮屋不僅對人類與自然共生提出了解答，也改變了我們對「建築」既有的想像。正如 Koen Olthuis 所說的，要改變的僅僅是人的觀念。
Floating House and City Apps, the Dutch solution to global climate changes and population growth“The function of architects is to change people’s perception of how a city could be.” – Koen Olthuis, the founder of Waterstudio.
As we all know, the Dutch has built their own land. About one-third of the Netherlands is actually below the sea-level and many Dutch people are living on man-made areas. Getting more lands from the water was the once dominant philosophy of living. However, how do we respond to the constant global population growth and urbanization while the global climate change threatens to take those lands back nowadays? To live with the water with floating houses is the modern answer proposed by the Dutch.
“Floating houses” are normal houses built on a dry dock base formed by concrete and filled with foam, which are carefully calculated so that the houses are able to float on water with buoyancy. The environmental changes and possible disasters are also considered upon building the house. While floating houses are easy to transport, they look and feel exactly the same as normal housing. Although it sounds fancy, floating houses are built by existing technology rather than innovations, yet it solves the issue of limited lands. Another advantage of floating houses lies in its flexibility. Unlike normal houses, floating houses can move.
Developed upon this concept, Waterstudio proposes its “city apps” project. “Imagine a city as a smartphone that a variety of gadgets/apps can be added or removed on the hardware according to different functions,” Koen Olthuis explained. Using the same concrete-and-foam-mixture base, floating houses can be extended to floating city components added to the existing city grids. These components may be built to satisfy specific needs, for example accommodations for Olympic athletes as well as stadiums for the games. As the Olympic Games are an one-off event for a city, many of the buildings lose their functions after the games. The “city apps” concept frees those buildings from being deserted or demolished afterwards as those floating components can be easily shuffled and recycled. For example, they can be rented to other cities that have the same needs. This concept also transforms the buildings and the cities into living organisms, thus creates more possibilities of urban planning. Just as Koen mentioned before, “what’s important is to change people’s perception”.
To understand more of the floating houses and the concept of city apps, you can visit the official website of Waterstudio. It presents a selection of their projects worldwide, including the Greenstar floating hotel and conference center in Maldives and the floating mosque in the United Arab Emirates.
Koen Olthuis @ TED talk
INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Koen Olthuis of WaterStudio.nl Talks Design for a Water World