Much of the Netherlands sits below sea level. Rotterdam is at almost the lowest point in the country, around 20 feet below sea level.
Living in these spots can put homes at risk for storm surge and flooding, especially during hurricanes. European hurricanes are rare, but some climate scientists expect that storms could become more common in Europe if global warming continues to accelerate.
A new type of floating villa could withstand future storms and rising sea levels. Designed by architecture firm Waterstudio, nine villas will be complete later this month in Zeewolde, a town in central Netherlands about 65 miles from Rotterdam.
Waterstudio CEO Koen Olthuis told Business Insider that the homes can withstand winds of up to 156 mph, classified as a Category 4 hurricane. Each home is buoyed so that when water levels rise during a storm, it can bob with the water.
Check out renderings of the villas below.
The nine villas will range in price from $US471,550 to $US530,600, depending on the amenities. Construction began in June.
One home will feature a large floating terrace next to its living room, while the other eight will have roof decks.
Each 1,216-square-foot, two-story villa will feature a living room, kitchen, parking space, and three bedrooms including a master suite with a walk-in closet.
The original design featured a white facade, but the architects later changed it to brown. Pieces of each home were fabricated off-site, and they were assembled on-site.
The villas will be partially powered by solar energy. Four shared solar arrays will sit in the backyards.
Olthuis calls these homes “amphibious,” meaning they touch both the land and the water. Their concrete foundations are buoyed to cables that attach to the ocean floor. If sea levels rise, so do the homes — similar to boats.
Waterstudio is known for its floating structures, which it has exclusively built for over a decade. In November, the firm debuted this design for a solar-powered floating home that will go on sale next summer.
In Dubai, Waterstudio expects to also complete 33 villas on floating islands by the end of 2018, Olthuis said.
Olthuis believes that as cities begin to seriously grapple with the effects of climate change, floating neighbourhoods will become more mainstream.
“It’s not about technology — It’s about re-thinking cities. We should start building for change,” he said. “Most cities, like Miami, Tokyo, and New York City see water is a threat. We see it as an asset.”
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