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Waterstudio designs "world’s first true floating island city" in brain coral shape in Maldives

Maldives Architecture News - Jun 28, 2022 - 14:04   1529 views

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Netherlands-based architecture firm Waterstudio is set to build a new "first-of-its-kind floating island city" in Maldives, resembling a local coral, called brain coral. 

A new project, named Maldives Floating City (MFC), is developed by Dutch Docklands Maldives in cooperation with the Government of Maldives, aiming to "mitigate the effects of climate change and rising sea levels" - which is one of the urgent issues of climate change. 

Maldives is known to have the lowest terrain of any country in the world. According to NASA's Earth Observatory, more than 80 percent of the 1,190 coral islands are located less than 1 meter above sea level.

Set to be built over a warm-water 200-hectare lagoon, which is 10 minutes by boat from the Maldivian capital, Male – and Male International Airport, the new floating city is designed as "the first-of-its-kind island city" offering a revolutionary approach to create a modern sustainable living perched against a backdrop of the azure Indian Ocean. 

Waterstudio designs

The brain-shaped development, which is expected to house 20,000 people, is described as "the world’s first true floating island city". The MFC will contain 5,000 low-rise floating units for mixed-use community with residential, hotels, shops and restaurants.

Waterstudio is inspired by traditional Maldivian sea-faring culture to create a city in the form of a brain coral. The city is designed on a smart grid featuring hexagonal-shaped floating units - which are connected to a ring of lush barrier islands. 

The reason of the design of this smart grid is to have ability to respond to dynamic demand, weather and climate change.

The geometric shapes of the units are designed in the shapes of local coral that looks like a brain when viewed from above. As MFC stated in its website, it is planed as "a unique city, both above and underneath the water surface, creating blue habitats projecting and stimulating coral growth."

Artificial coral banks will be attached to the underside of the floating structure, which will also allow coral to grow naturally. "The submerged and protected coral reefs of the lagoon will provide a natural wave (reduction) breaker that, in combination with the interrelated grid of floating structures, provides comfort and safety for the residents," the website said.

Waterstudio designs

The concept is developed in close cooperation with Maldivian authorities, a series of hotels, restaurants, stylish boutiques and a world-class marina will support life of vibrant communities.

"It's a futuristic dreamscape finally poised to become reality," stated in a press release by MFC.

"Maldives Floating City is the first of its kind across the globe — developed to equally embrace sustainability and livability. While attempts at floating cities have been tried before, none have featured MFC’s most compelling selling points: Full-scale technical, logistical and legal expertise." 

"By partnering with the Government of the Maldives, MFC not only offers the most ambitious architectural planning available, but also a world-class ownership structure that is transparent, value-driven and legally-binding," the press release added.

The masterplan is also planned to be constructed with "the most eco-friendly construction possible" since MFC plans to offer "an approachable, scalable, sellable solution for truly sustainable water-front development."

"While MFC floats up top, island barriers around the lagoon will serve as breakers down below," the press statement added. "This ingenious configuration lessens the impact of lagoon waves while stabilizing the structures and complexes on the surface."

The buildings are designed to be low-rise and facing the sea -- with shops, homes and services precisely positioned along tidy palm-lined streets. 

A network of bridges, canals and docks will give MFC an overall sense of cohesiveness and facilitate easy access to its wide-ranging amenities.

Throughout the project, sandy beaches will help stabilize and protect key structures within the lagoon, while outside, massive coral reefs will feature hotels, restaurants and shops.

Waterstudio designs

"This Maldives Floating City does not require any land reclamation, therefore has a minimal impact on the coral reefs," explained Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Maldives from 2008- 2012, Speaker of Parliament and CVF Ambassador of Ambition, "What’s more, giant, new reefs will be grown to act as water breakers." 

"Our adaption to climate change mustn’t destroy nature but work with it, as the Maldives Floating City proposes. In the Maldives we cannot stop the waves, but we can rise with them," Nasheed added. 

Every residential units will have a sea-front, with individual units sized from 100 square meters - with  40-square-metre roof terrace upwards. As Dutch Docklands states the houses' prices will be starting from $250,000. 

Prices are set to be approachable and affordable, to draw the widest-possible range of potential buyers to benefit from the project’s enviable seaside locale.

Much like the Maldives "iconic over-water resorts", MFC residences will offer a seafront lifestyle centered around health, wellness and the outdoors. 

Waterstudio designs

The scheme is now nearing the end of its planning stages and MFC plans to begin construction in 2022 and be completed in phases over the next half decade. 

Once fully realized, a hospital, school and government building will complement the project’s commercial and residential structures. 

While foreigners will certainly call MFC home, perhaps, most crucially, Maldivians will live there as well — local fishing families who, for centuries, have called the area home.

Similar projects include the world’s first prototype sustainable floating City: Oceanix Busan designed by BIG and Samoo, and a floating city in Manoka, Douala-Cameroon. 

Images are courtesy of Waterstudio & Maldives Floating City.

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