The conquest of the sea is the dream of the Filipino firm Dada Design. Such dream is portrayed in its residential project named Currents for Currents, where the architectural studio presents a sustainable solution that provides an answer to the recurring problem of vulnerable homes in the coastal towns of Manila.
The design that is still just a project -because there aren’t any investors yet- is certainly one of the most interesting ideas in the sustainable housing sector. Such is the impact of this idea that, although it’s intended for the coasts of Manila, the most visionaries claim that it could be implemented all over the world.
If you can’t fight them, learn to live with them
The Philippine coasts have always been affected by bad weather. Storms, typhoons, and floods wipe out the modest homes built in a rudimentary fashion by a poor population. On the other hand, global warming, and the increase of floods, which are a great concern of the world’s environmentalists, have recently become important factors in terms of the design and planning of urban centers.
Dada Design has presented a novel proposal on this subject. Inspired by the motto “blue is the new green” the studio is committed to inhabit the waves that now threaten the coasts. The proposal itself is to build a housing complex that will not only occupy the until now virgin maritime space but will also use it to sustain itself and even make a profit for its residents.
The Currents for Currents project is based on a network of modular houses, built on mobile platforms anchored on the seabed. The homes will be connected to each other by bridges and the energy will be supplied by a network of photovoltaic roofs.
Dancing with the tides
Each house would be supported by a spiral cylinder, which would raise and lower the entire system depending on the height of the tide. This would keep houses always above sea level, thus ruling out the dreaded floods.
Besides, each of these cylinders would be surrounded by a marine turbine that would also rotate with the force of water, being another constant source of electrical energy. As a result, although the main structure of the construction would be fixed on the ground, the houses would form a dynamic complex, which would not only go up and down to the rhythm of the sea but also move back and forth. To all that we must add the possibility of restructuring the inside of the homes thanks to their modular nature.
A symbiotic relationship
One of the main attractions of this project is the possibility to offer its inhabitants a source of income, only for the courage to live offshore. Yes, just like that.
The two sources of clean electricity, that is the photovoltaic canvas to obtain solar energy and the underwater turbines to “harvest” hydraulic energy, would provide power to the residential complex and the excess would be collected and concentrated on a plant on land to be sold to the coastal villages.
At the same time, and if necessary, the same plant could supply electricity to houseboats, establishing a symbiotic relationship in which both communities can benefit.
But the ecological and sustainable nature of Currents for Currents doesn’t end there. Each of the houses would have its own hydroponic garden, achieving a small marine garden to support the community and strengthen the coexistence between the neighbors. The whole system would be irrigated, of course, with the grey water discarded by the houses and previously treated in a small treatment plant attached to the complex.
The modular design and plastic structure of most parts means that the implementation of this project is feasible in any coastal area of the world. However, it presents a paradox: although the design is originally developed to meet the needs of disadvantaged communities, the cost of the project wouldn’t be particularly affordable. So, only the future will tell if we’ll be able to conquer the tides.