Monday, April 23, 2012

Floating Amsterdam

The canals of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities are often lined with floating buildings. They are used for industrial purposes, offices, housing and agricultural purposes. (Yes, there are floating grow-ops!)While many look like they are on their last legs, or should I say floats, others are brand new and designed to very high standards. They are generally hooked up to municipal services and therefore non-poluting in a country that is very environmentally aware. While no one knows exactly how many floating buildings there are, we were often told that there were 2500 floating structures in Amsterdam.

While I was fascinated by the large floating barges which line the canals, I was particularly intrigued by two new developments at Ijburg's Waterbuurt, just outside of the city centre on Lake Ijburg. One is essentially a floating multi-family development; the other comprises individually designed homes attached to government developmed floats, where the owners had more design freedom....and it shows! That being said, the standard of design is very high.Over time it is expected that additional new projects will be developed around the city, especially since a manufacturing capability has been developed, and the challenges of the local fire codes have been satisfactorily addressed.

The following are some illustrations of the two projects using a combination of my photos and those provided to me by the City of Amsterdam and found in a publication that bears the same name as this blog posting: Floating Amsterdam.More details on the planning approvals and design parameters for Amsterdam's floating communities will soon be covered in a story on Amsterdam's floating houses that I'm preparing for the Vancouver Sun. Who knows, while we have floating home communities around Metro, including those at Granville Island and Canoe Pass Village in Ladner, maybe I can inspire more floating communities in our region. We have the water....and the space!

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