Going back through my sketchbook where I stick all manner of clippings and notes from magazines and wherever, I found this picture of a floating city which totally intrigues me. I’d wrongly written down the name of the architect as Hans Venhuizen and went on a somewhat adventurous web search to find this picture, which I’m so glad I did because Hans and his team in the Netherlands are working on some amazing art meets architecture projects which he calls Culture-Based Planning (more in a later post on those).
Finally though, I discovered that the architect for Lilypads as they are called is actually Belgian – Vincent Callebaut. His work is out there to say the least – futuristic visions of our planet – well, the bits of it we inhabit at least – rendered as solutions to some of the biggest, and man-made, problems we are facing right now. Lilypads is a solution for the possibility of a rise in sea level, and then there’s Dragonfly, a ‘metabolic farm for urban agriculture’ and Hydrogenase, an ‘algae farm to recycle CO2 for biohydrogen airship’ in Shanghai… En masse, they are a little overwhelming in their futuristic, other planet feel – like something out of a sci-fi fantasy, but Lilypads still intrigues me.
To me, it’s a lot more beautiful than some of the other architectural ideas out there right now – some look like floating fortresses and others like humoungous cruise liners. This reminds me of Tracey Island from the Thunderbirds and has echoes of Howl’s Moving Castle my favourite Studio Ghibli film too.
Is it purely a fantasy though? or will we really need these kinds of urbanisations in the near future? Have we really screwed the planet up that much? Who lives in a house like this?…