A city home to around only 300,000 residents (Sources include: SSB Norway) tucked away into beautiful fjords, the city is known for its innovation in the art of architecture: for pioneering design on water, with its floatable houses and markets.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
-Leonardo Da Vinci
Doing more with less, floating architecture means land is no longer a pre-requisite for construction!
Floating houses can be constructed on boats, hollow pipes and lightweight pads.
In Bergen, floating homes can be broadly classified into two types. There are permanently floating houses, and semi-floating houses.
Let have a look at both, and try to spot the differences! To me, both sound equally cool though!
The former makes use of log floats, solid styrofoam encased in rubber, positive concrete, foam-filled steel pontoons, concrete ferrocement pontoons, combinations of either wood and foam or concrete and foam, polythene shells with a solid polystyrene block at the core, and fibreglass etc. The latter is even cooler! Semi-floating houses get uplifted during floods and descend back to solid ground as the waters recede. Four vertical “guiding poles” close to the four corners of the house, which telescope out of the ground, are attached to a steel frame which holds flotation blocks in place. The blocks are attached to the underside of the house. And voila!
The facade of the houses in Bergen is well suited to the cold Norwegian climate. Mineral wood, glass, fibreglass and different paintings and coatings make the houses practical, as well as give them the classic Scandinavian minimalist look. Most of these materials are locally manufactured, including coatings made using alloys of iron, copper, cobalt, zinc, titanium, nickel, lead, chromium, tungsten, niobium and molybdenum. The only imported materials used are some insulative paints, while others are produced in Norway.
Advantages of floating property include lower raw material costs in comparison to building on land, lower taxes in some places, the availability of alternative renewable energy resources, and mobility.
The development and testing of new sustainable materials and composites with innovations for construction and materials used in floating architecture could be the next big thing!