Architect Designs 'Ark' — Floating Housing Project — For An Uncertain Climate Future (Photos)

The Ark - floating housing project
The Ark – floating housing project (image credit: Alexander Remizov)

Like many contemporary architects, Alexander Remizov designs structures based upon principles of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. But where he parts from many of his fellows is in his futuristic vision of a world impacted by highly uncertain climate change — particularly habitable land loss due to mass flooding events and extreme climate conditions.

Many climatologists predict increased flooding and, in particular, the loss of large areas of coastal land where many of the world’s projected 9 billion people (by 2050) will live and seek their livelihoods.

The Ark, from below
A fish-eye view of the Ark (image credit: Alexander Remizov)

Enter “The Ark,” an aptly name “floating housing” project that, according to Remizov, could be constructed in just a few months “anywhere in the world.”

The futuristic ‘Noah’s Ark’ — which exists only in a design concept at present — seeks to address two primary architectural concerns:

“For architecture two aspects are of higher concern: the first one is maintenance of security and precautions against extreme environmental conditions and climate changes. The second one – protection of natural environment from human activities. The Ark project makes an attempt to answer these challenges of our Time,” explains Remizov.

As conceived, the dome-topped building possess its own independent life-support systems; the design incorporates autonomous heating, cooling and energy-generation features. This autonomous life-support design includes provisions for oxygen (and presumably food, though this is not mentioned in the project description), providing a large area for greenery of many kinds. Vegetation is selected according to principles of compatibility, illumination, and efficiency of oxygen production — as well as aesthetic considerations like comfort and attractiveness.

The Ark, interior
The Ark, interior view (image credit: Alexander Remizov)

The structure as currently conceived would encompass an area of some 14,000 square meters (151,000 square feet) of living and growing space. It is not clear how many people are intended to occupy The Ark but it would seem sufficient to support perhaps a couple of hundred, at least (assuming adequate food and freshwater production).

While this may not compete with the biblical ark’s capacity (i.e., large numbers of animals), its relatively low cost means that multiple arks could be constructed (and join up to share energy production, too). According to Remizov, the cost of building such a structure would be comparable to building a single, energy-efficient house.

Remizov explains some of the key architectural design features:

The form of a dome promotes the formation of turbulences of air, strengthening the work of wind generators. Inside the building, the dome form promotes accumulation of warm air in the top part of a building. This heat will be transformed to other kinds of energy and also collects in thermal accumulators.

These arks could also be constructed on land and are adaptable to different climate zones and even to “seismically dangerous regions,” owing to their inclusion of “stressed structures of arches and ropes” which distribute stress along the entire bulk of the structure.

Design/construction Details of The Ark (image credit: Alexander Remizov)
Design/construction Details of The Ark (image credit: Alexander Remizov)

The Ark, of course, is primarily built to adapt to rising sea levels in the event of a disaster or severe climate change conditions; the structure could be moored, in fair climate conditions, but could be quickly untethered to float freely in a severe, wide-scale flood zone or even open-ocean water.

The Ark Project was designed through the UIA Work Program “Architecture for Disaster Relief” in accordance with the concept of a “bio-climatic house” which  possesses independent life-support systems to ensure “closed-cycle” functioning.

To learn more about The Ark Project and its construction details (and to see more cool architectural drawings!), visit Remistudio.

Some source material for this post came from the blog article “The Ark Floating Housing Project by Alexander Remizov” by Roger Scoble.

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