Why Architects Need to Be Aware of Rising Sea Levels

Why Architects Need to Be Aware of Rising Sea Levels

According to National Geographic, sea levels are rising about 0.13 inches per year. While it may not seem like an alarmingly high rate, it is enough to cause concern for architects building in areas that are subject to rising sea levels. Below you can see examples of how architects are responding to this climate change.

Floating Projects

image © ArildV -  Wikimedia Commons

image © ArildV - Wikimedia Commons

One way that architects are responding to rising sea levels is by designing on top of a floating platform. In various areas there are already houses using floating platforms and there are provisional plans for a hotel to join this trend. One of the interesting elements with these structures is that they can continuously adjust to the water levels. So while some areas have permanent floating platforms due to the instability of the water, other areas may have houses that fluctuate between floating or being grounded during the dry season.

Underwater Buildings

image © Charly W. Karl -  Flickr

image © Charly W. Karl - Flickr

Instead of houses floating above the water, some architects have explored the plausibility of building underwater. There are already some establishments testing the boundaries for what can be done underwater like the Clear Lounge Cozumel which is the world's fist underwater oxygen bar.  Though currently the underwater explorations are mostly for luxury, there will definitely be more underwater architecture in the future. If you're interested in reading more about the trend in underwater architecture, click here

 Architectural Membrane

image © Azinsanaat Espandana -  Wikimedia Commons

image © Azinsanaat Espandana - Wikimedia Commons

Architectural membranes are highly durable pieces of fabric that are typically stretched over a steel structure to protect an area against harsh climates. Some architects suggest that water damage to buildings can be prevented by wrapping a building with this durable and water resistant material. 

Synthetic Biology

Growing a building may sound far-fetched but could be seen in the future for Venice. Dr. Rachel Armstrong is proposing to use 'living' building matter so that the building can adapt to the current conditions in Venice. Currently Armstrong is creating an artificial limestone reef by releasing oil droplets into the water which are chemically programmed to react with carbon dioxide and create a reef. If the experiment is successful, eventually the material could be used to create a 'living' building that could meet the needs of the changing environment.

Elevated Land-Based Islands

Though traditionally islands are known to be surrounded by water, Japan has been looking for ways to make elevated islands on land that can prevent damage to buildings from tsunamis and earthquakes.   Essentially their plan is for newly built apartment buildings to be elevated and zoned off by walls that can close when there is a threat of a tsunami. The image above shows a drafting of the elevated islands slated to be constructed in Japan. 

Do you know other ways that architecture is changed by rising sea levels? Connect with us on Twitter @CADdetails

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