There are two ways to react to global warming: you can fear it, or you can embrace it. Architect Koen Olthuis of Dutch design firm Waterstudio chooses the latter. His Citadel apartment building, part of a larger water-management development project called New Water in the Netherlands, is the first floating apartment complex in the world.
The Dutch are uniquely accustomed to dealing with fluctuating water levels; much of the Netherlands is below sea level, and vast swaths of land, known as polders, are continually pumped free of the accumulating rainwater that threatens nearby homes and buildings. The Citadel will simply rise and fall with the changing water levels, making it impervious to flooding, tides, and sea waters inching upward as a result of global warming.
Built atop a floating heavy concrete foundation, The Citadel will house 60 luxury apartments, a parking garage, a floating roadway, and boat docks. Each apartment will naturally have waterfront views via a garden terrace, and greenhouses will be interspersed throughout. But the greenest feature of the Citadel is its cooling system: submerged pipes will pump water throughout the structure to cool it, reducing its energy use by 25 percent compared to a conventional building.
So chin up, residents of low-lying cities everywhere. While we can’t seem to figure out how to put the brakes on global warming, at least we know we can embrace the rising water. The Citadel is proof that when the sea threatens our living spaces, we can rise above it.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.