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Published on January 3rd, 2013 | by James Ayre


Solar-Powered Floating Pavilion Prototype Opens For Use In Rotterdam

January 3rd, 2013 by  

With the likelihood of sea levels rising significantly in the coming years, the city of Rotterdam has begun experimenting with possible solutions to the problem, including building some floating structures that could function as a replacement to land.


“The first pilot project is a catalyst for climate change-proof architecture called the Floating Pavilion that consists of three connected hemispheres that look like bubbles anchored within the Dutch city’s old harbor,” Inhabitat‘s Ana Lisa Alperovich writes. “An initiative of Rotterdam Climate Proof (part of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative), the mixed-use pavilion was designed by Deltasync and PublicDomain Architects, and it sets an unprecedented example for innovative, sustainable and climate-proof architecture.”

The current plan is to eventually create a community of these floating structures and homes, with the newly finished ‘Floating Pavilion’ serving as the first prototype. The pavilion is currently being used as a venue for events and exhibitions. It’s nearly self-sufficient, and with its flexible and climate-proof design, it could serve a large variety of functions.

Alperovich goes on: “An initiative of Rotterdam Climate Proof, the bubbles were commissioned to a collaborative and local design team from Deltasync and PublicDomain Architects. Constructed by Dura Vermeer, the floating hemispheres are 40 foot tall and the total floor area is the size of four tennis courts. The translucent shelter is made from a strong, anti-corrosive plastic called ETFE, which is 100 times lighter than glass and therefore ideal for a floating structure.”


The climate control systems in the pavilion use only the self-supplied solar energy and surface water. The structure can also purify all of its own water. It’s planned that the pavilion will remain moored within Rijnhaven until 2015, allowing time for it to be extensively tested in the calm waters of the area before being tested elsewhere.

“Rotterdam has plans to build floating urban districts–for living, shopping, working and recreating on the water–and of the 13,000 climate-proof homes planned by 2040, 1,200 of them will be on water. A realistic innovative approach to prepare for difficult times ahead, we will soon be able to admire real floating sustainable districts in this Dutch futuristic city.”

Source: Inhabitat
Image Credits: Rotterdam Climate Initiative 

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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