Thursday, 14 April 2011

Book - Amphibious Housing


Picking up on the recent topic of how urban areas deal with water this new Nai Publisher book 'Amphibious Housing in the Netherlands' offers a very methodological discussion of different approach and strategies for living with water in urbanised areas.

THe authors Ane Loes Nillesen and Jeroen Singelenberg highlight the change in attitude toward the water in a wider planning context and the move away from the defensive approach towards a more integrated practice in te recent decade. This change is to be observed in both a quality sense as for that people discover the beauty of the water and want to have access to it, but on the other had also the pressuring issues of the rising sea levels with increased flooding. The book offers in this context a structured overview of the different typologies and solutions developed in traditional and more recent water housing project and offers an overview of the current state of the art in the Netherlands.

Het Nieuwe Water
Image taken from dein.gs / Het Nieuwe Water by Waterstudio.

In the first part the book discusses in detail the different elements. This methodological is extremely useful and presented with a lot of passion for the topic. The authors discuss the different water types, from sea to rivers to lakes, then the different dwelling typologies, with floating homes, pile dwelling and Dyke Houses. From these elements they move in to the discusion of urban principles and how the different types can be structured. In detail are the solutions for privacy and access presented. The authors put a very strong focus on the organisation within a new water dwelling community, but offer little on how it can be integrated with for example normal land housing in terms of larger urban structures.

The second part of the book is the presentation and discussion of recent water housing project in the Netherlands. The authors have drawn together an extensive and very interesting selection of project to illustrate the more theoretical discussion in part one of the publication. The projects range from the Haven City in Hamburg, to the Acquavista in Almere, to Sausalito Bay in California. It also includes proposed projects such as the Het Nieuwe Water in Westland.

Sausalito, California
Image taken from davidcmc58 on Panoramio / Floating Homes at Shores of Richardson Bay, Sausalito, California.

No only in the Netherlands, but throughout the urban planning discussion water has dramatically risen in importance both from a pleasure as well as a safety perspective. This book offers a very hands on and 'it can be done' discussion of the topics. The practical perspective offers for a lot of reading between the lines and interpretation of cross typologies. definitely something that suits the flexible requirements for planning with the fluid element of water.

Sausalito, California
Image taken from bookplu.fi/ / Amphibious Housing in The Netherlands. Architecture and Urbanism on the Water, book cover.


Nillesen, A.L. & Singelenberg, J., 2010. Amphibious Housing in The Netherlands. Architecture and Urbanism on the Water, RotterdamNAI Publishers.

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