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Conceptualisation and Design exploration of Living@Sea
Funded by the European Commission’s H2020 programme.

Living@Sea is a concept that builds on the philosophy of Space@Sea, a research consortium consisting of 17 European partners, which aims to provide sustainable and affordable workspace at sea by developing standardised and cost-efficient modular islands with low ecological impact. which aims to develop multi-use platforms at sea for a multitude of activities. The concept proposes that industry or farming at sea will attract people to live at sea too, similar to how people moved to polders in the Netherlands after farms were established.

The demand for living space at sea is already visible for the maintenance crew of offshore renewable energy, as it is too costly to transport the crew for each task separately, creating a need for hotel space at sea. The concept of Living@Sea will start from housing for workers in the near future, but it is expected to expand to include housing for families, larger building complexes, and even cities that can be placed on the blocks.

The development of Living@Sea will require the integration of various technologies, such as renewable energy production, waste management, and water supply systems, to ensure sustainable and efficient living at sea. It will also require the development of infrastructure and transportation systems to connect the floating communities to the mainland and other floating communities.

Overall, Living@Sea is a concept that builds on the idea that multi-use platforms at sea can provide a flexible and sustainable solution for a multitude of activities, including housing, industry, and farming. By developing modular and scalable platforms, Living@Sea aims to create a new way of living that is connected to the sea and its resources, while also contributing to the sustainable development of our oceans.

The initial phase of the exploration focused on designing a modular platform for the North Sea. Equilateral triangular shapes were considered in the first iteration due to their structural properties and flexibility in configuring urban layouts. However, this study found that triangular platforms are not optimal for real estate space and spatial distribution, and thus the second iteration focused on square shapes which provided 20% more building space.

Consequently, a 45 x 45 m square module was chosen for the next phase to target urban layout, function, and architectural design. A parametric model integrating multiple urban functions and densities was established to explore different designs for a floating settlement of 2,000 inhabitants. The study also examined an alternative design of 90 x 90 m platforms due to the location in the North Sea. The investigation concluded that 45 x 45 modules configured as a ‘fortress’ were suitable for the purpose of Living@Sea. A general arrangement and weight analysis were performed, which determined that a height of 10 to 11 m would be required for the platforms, and a preliminary analysis showed that the modules meet intact and damage stability during transit.


Urban Water Laboratory
Generaal Berenschotlaan 211
2283 JM Rijswijk
The Netherlands


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