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Future Architecture for Combating Environmental Changes

12 Dec 2011

Creative architects and designers have been dreaming up futuristic architecture for decades. And although our idea of the future and our definition of futuristic architecture changes with every generation, there are a few similarities; every design seems to help us adapt our surrounding habitats to suit the ever changing environment and climate.

At present, with the effects of global warming and an aging population, future architecture concepts are now looking to provide long term solutions. Forecasts from the GIEC (Intergovernmental group on the evolution of the climate) recently revealed that sea levels are predicted to rise by 50 cm during the 21st Century due to global warming. As a solution to this alarming prediction, architects have begun planning for the future, looking for designs that incorporate this increase as a resource.

Vincent Callebaut, believes that the world’s population will ultimately, desperately seek shelter from the devastations of climate change. He hopes his self sufficient, truly amphibian – half aquatic and half terrestrial cities will serve as luxurious solutions to living on water.



Callebaut, a Belgian architect, came up with this eco-tectural marvel that serves as a luxurious future retreat for up to 50,000 inhabitants, seeking refuge from rising waters.
The Lily pad cities’ innovative design include three marinas and three mountains surrounded by a centrally located artificial lagoon that is totally immersed below the water line, acting as ballast for the city. The Lily Pads can be located close to land or set free to follow the ocean and will offer inhabitants all the attractions and amenities expected of a modern a city.

The marinas and mountains would be dedicated to work, shopping and entertainment – containing the world’s largest shopping mall, a college and a hospital, the suspended gardens and aquaculture farms located below the water line would be used to grow food and biomass.

The Lily pad structure, which is directly inspired by the ribs on the leaves of an Amazonia Victoria Regia, would be constructed from polyester fibers, covered by titanium dioxide (TiO2) and would have the ability to react with ultraviolet rays. It would also integrate a full range of renewable energy technologies, including solar, thermal, wind, tidal, and biomass to help produce more energy than it consumes.





Another concept designed by Malaysian architect Sarly Adre bin Sarkum, that plans to accommodate the rise in sea levels, is the innovatively designed ‘h2O+ Scraper’.
The tower, which if built would ‘float’ almost as tall as the Empire State Building, is a self sustaining, liveable floating unit that sits only two stories above the water. The tower itself, kept upright by a system of ballasts, squid-like tentacles and balancing tanks, carries its own amenities, including, its own small forest, positioned above water, as well as living quarters, positioned below the water.
The squid like bioluminescent tentacles not only provide underwater wildlife a place to live and congregate, but they also provide the floating city with energy through kinetic movement.



The Scraper, similar to Callebaut’s Lily Pad, is completely self-sufficient, generating its own power through successful optimisation of wave, wind, current, solar and biomass energy. It cleverly generates its own food through farming, of both aquaculture and hydroponics nature.



Futuristic architectural designs likes these would require a combination of some of the most innovative and technological advanced materials to help it withstand the pressures of our turbulent oceans. Here at Pilkington we have a busy research and development department that is always looking to the future when developing new glazing solutions – and, as these architectural concepts show, underwater windows might not be that far off!

For today’s buildings however we offer Toughened Glass which is the same thickness as ordinary glass but five times as strong and can be used in applications such as areas with high pedestrian traffic, in doors, shower and bath enclosures, balconies and barriers amongst others.

For a full overview, as well as its benefits please click here.