Floating with the Tide


Vincent Callebaut Architectures has an innovative and evocative conceptual solution to the problems of climate change and land use! These lilypad like structures inspired by the giant Amazonian lilypad are floating zero emission cities complete with mountains, aqua culture fields, central park, suspended kitchen gardens and rivers.
[Image courtesy http://vincent.callebaut.org/]

5 thoughts on “Floating with the Tide

  1. Christine

    In ‘Sensory Design’ authors Joy Monice Malnar and Frank Vodvarka tell of Humphrey Repton lamenting the decline in the landscape movement after 1815 in England. The landscape profession, in the 21st century, without the availability of grand estates to design and well-funded commissions based on patronage of the (landscape) arts, appears to be suffering from a similar sense of identity loss.[http://www.public.iastate.edu/~isitdead/dead_print.pdf]

    A peculiarly 21st century problem, is the increasing sense of the limited resources available on the planet – and their fragility – whether that be water, air or land (etc). Never has there been a greater need for leadership from a profession as there is today as to how to move forward into the future….

    Although migration between nations still occurs, colonisation, in the forms that have been practised since ancient times, are no longer contemplated as viable solutions to expanding populations, political, religious and civil strife and the wiles of nature (natural or anthroprogenic). For this reason the idea of ocean colonisation has been mooted.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_colonization]

    Despite the evocative nature of the lilypads it is certain that this solution also would pose additional biospheric pressures and introduce new problems around sovereignty and polity.

    Imaginative solutions about our use and occupation of land globally are desparately needed. Landscape architects shouldn’t consider themselves as part of the problem [heritage gardens whether publicly or privately held are a universal boon] rather they have a wealth of liberal arts knowledge,a scientific understanding and an aesthetic sensibility which is greatly needed while we seek solutions to the multiple demands on land, rising lifestyle expectations and the viability of ever increasing population densities.

  2. Tom Turner

    It is true about Repton and there was a similar sense in the architectural profession that all the styles were borrowed from earlier periods, without the nineteenth century having its own style.
    Regarding colonization, I wonder. Indonesia was never colonized by Hindus or Arabs but the cultural influence of India and, later, of Arabs and Europeans was very great, as was the influence of Russia and America on China in the twentieth century.
    Almost by definition, societies never produce very many ‘really outstanding’ projects, but I think the landscape profession has some to its credit from the past century. A few examples come to mind:
    (1) great urban design: http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/san_antonio_riverwalk_paseo_del_río
    (2) a great park: http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/duisburg_nord_landschaftspark
    (3) a great garden [illustrations coming shortly!]: http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/miller_house_garden
    But in general I am very disappointed by the lack of imagination and inventiveness in contemporary landscape architecture

  3. Christine

    There is a sense also in which the architectural profession is confronting a similar dilemma as it progresses within the twentyfirst century.

    There is a danger for designers in either borrowing stylistically from twentieth century modernism (within the Minimialist and Neomodernist movements)or falling victim to the allure of the gymnastics made possible by the computer(seduced by the current fetish for Icons).Within the modern movement the same danger of the over reliance on geometric form to ‘make’ architecture came with the allure of the new construction technologies and structural forms. Technology and image is not a new temptation.

    The difference between stylistic development (based on theoretical concerns) and stylistic referencing (based on visual copying) is a fine one. There is a sense in which many of the themes and occupations of modernism are able to be revisited in a fresh way due to the availability of more advanced construction and structural technology and advances in fabrication methods. And the wealth of critiques as to the failings of modernism! But, this said, there still needs to be a strong idea to ground any Modernist revisiting.

    However the new pathway which needs to be mapped both theoretically and practically is the integration of sustainability within the design professions beyond merely applying technology. When we get it right a radical new aesthetic will emerge, one which is strongly founded on the problems we are seeking solutions to. That is, it will be (socially/economically, culturally/socially and environmentally)context sensitive design.

    Kerry Hill is an Australian architect whose career has developed predominantly in South East Asia. [http://www.kerryhillarchitects.com/pages/KHA_main.htm] Hill has developed an approach to designing within another cultural context which is respectful of the culture and the need to create place within that culture and yet is thoroughly contemporary. His work embodies the ZEN [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enso] approach of a mature architect: strong, elegant and universal.

    If you look at Hill’s early work you can see its evolution…

  4. Tom Turner

    I fully agree with the point you make and am rather of the view that designers make too much effort to innovate. I’d like so see more emphasis on quality before pushing ahead with innovation and hanker for the craft tradition and the days when people accepted what Christopher Alexander calls ‘a timeless way of building’.

  5. christine

    What is it about Dubai? The floating lilypad city is looking a lot more like reality….

    The Hydropolis Underwater Hotel is being created as the first step in marine architecture;

    “We want to create the first ever faulty for marine architecture because I believe the future lies in the sea, including the future of city planning. I am certain that one day a whole city will be built in the sea. Our aim is to lay the first mosaic by colonising the sea.”


    Can you re-imagine landscape architecture in this scenerio?


Leave a Reply

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