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Stand Up Architecture (SUA)

Final presentation

Today was the presentation for Stand Up Architecture. I wasn’t quite finished and the main thing to do until the deadline is to finish the research which includes design implications, calculation of the mass for the foundation and where you could place a floating structure.

So now it’s working to finish the research as well as the final essay.  


GC process

Working up to the presentation I put a lot of time into learning GC, in the beginning I thought I would never understand the program but after some intense time going through the help files and every tutorial I could find I’m starting to have a real appreciation for the program.

Until Monday this was my model, although this represents the direction I wanted to go with the model I was not using the GC software like I wanted to. I knew that through the command graphVariables I could use all my input for my model. But until yesterday I was still creating the model by hand.

After my crash course by Axel in graphVariables yesterday I could set my input for the model and finish the model which will give me some insight on what the possibilities can be.

Midterm Presentation

 After the presentation it was very clear that I had to put the remaining time into finishing the GC model so that I could present a scenario with the input that I had presented. I also received a tip to look at Jerry Volksman Blog voor SUA. 


The interpretation of numbers

After last Mondays meeting I started on putting my input for my computational model together.Looking up all the information and making decisions on what I want to accomplish. I can already figure out that making a floating structure for 10.000 people is not a technological possibility at this moment in time. Just to be clear my goal is to create a sustainable (sustainable based on the kind of energy use)  floating structure that would be able to “compete” with a comparable situation on land.In the Netherlands an average household of 2,3 people consumes annually approximately 3400 kWh electricity and about 1650 m3 gas.

So this means for me if a take one solar panel of 145 Wp, this could give me 109 kWh on a yearly basis. Of course there are better solar panels at the market already but I don’t want to work with maximum figures just yet.


Average of 2,3 persons à 3400 kWh10.000 people à 14782608 kWh7.000 people à 10347826 kWh5.000 people à 7391304 kWh  1 solar panel gives: 109 kWhSo I would need 135620 solar panels for 10.000 people, 94934 for 7.000 people and 67810 for 5.000 people.



1 solar panel is 1.51 m2135620 solar panels would need 204786.2 m2, 94934 solar panels would need 143350 m2 and for  67810 solar panels I would need 102393 m2.



The form of the floating structure has not been decided yet, but for now I’m assuming a round base. That would mean for 10.000 people the base for the floating structure would have radius of 255m, for 7.000 people a radius of 213m and for 5.000 people there would be a radius of 180m. So making a model for 5000 people could work taking into account that the biggest ship in the world is 360 m long.  What I’m working on now is to get a model working that combines the use of the solar panels, the size of the structure and give or take 5.000 people. I’ve been putting some time now into learning generative components and hopefully I can post some of my progress in the coming days.


Week 3

Sorry for not posting before,  after my meeting with Axel last Monday I started reading as much as possible as I could find on floating structures.

There was quite a lot of information to be found, but a lot was concentrated on the engineering part of the floating structures this was quite interesting and it was a lot of information to absorb but it was not exactly what I was looking for.  As a main topic I discussed with Axel that I would continue with the research of floating structures. One of the main questions would be if a floating structure could be fully self supporting on its own and if it could be designed in a way that it would be sustainable.    The research on the Dubai renaissance with its rotating foundation can be integrated on the engineering aspect of a floating structure.  An example of a floating structure that I looked at before was the Lilypad project by Vincent Callebout. Of course this project is not feasible at the moment. Anything that massive could not stay afloat with the current technology that we poses now. The concept of this project is that it will be able to house refugee’s from an ecological disaster. Personally I don’t think you need big excuses like the climate change to develop project’s like this. On a much smaller scale I think it could work, and although I really like the renderings’ of the Lilypad project, I don’t think the proposed iconic design is very sensible. The form doesn’t take into account all the forces that would normally work  on a floating structure. The main thing that I’m interested in is the lifestyle it’s offering, the ability to live and work near the ocean. Despite the big economic crisis at the moment  beach property is still very high in demand. A big thing for floating structures is that it’s starting to get a lot of attention for countries that have a very high population density like  Japan, China, Korea, and the Netherlands.   But to get back to the research area. I would like to develop a floating structure  that could be self-supporting and sustainable. Self supporting in a way that it would be able to attain its own energy. A project that’s very interesting is the solar Lily Pad in Glasgow. The plan is that floating solar pads in the river will catch and store the sunrays and  deliver the energy to the electricity grid in Glasgow.  think one main step is to create a working model to work with, at the moment I’m just not sure which program would be the best or how I could include information on new technologies in the calculations of a model. The things I need to find out:How big can a platform for a floating structure be.What would be the correct form considering the loads .Looking at sustainable methods of energy solar, thermal, photovoltaic and wind energy, which program is the most suitable to calculate this.

Research question

After meeting with my instructor I got a very interesting research idea that combines my topics of interest. He suggested that I looked at the Dubai Renaissance by OMA. The project is not going to be build because OMA lost the competition to Zaha Hadid’s Dancing Towers. But the project raised some questions. How can you make a foundation for a building that’s rotating on a small island.

What would be the ideal form in a case like this.


                    Dubai Renaissance (Image courtesy of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, OMA)  Dubai Renaissance (Image courtesy of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, OMA)

Presentation 09-02-2009

Today was the presentation of the main research question. I got a lot of comments and some very good sugestions. I’m going to think it over and try to come up with beter research questions.

In the mean time, here is a link to the presentation I held today.

More research questions

Thinking even more about some possibilities about floating structures some questions came up.

In what kind of situation would you want to build a floating structure and what would be the use of it. Also how can you test it, maybe by making some basic models and testing it in some kind of real life situation. Or maybe it’s possible to make some assumption and test it in a computerprogram.

Exerpt from the book: Very Large Floating Structures by C.M. Wang


Large modular floating structures were first mooted by Armstrong in 1920’s and were based on the US Navy Sea Sled of 1917. These mobile offshore bases acted as “stepping stones” which allowed airplanes to skip over the Atlantic to refuel and rest. Armstrong’s Seadrome of c. 1940 was then amalgamated with existing technology employed in oil wells off Summerland, California and Baku, Russia by McDermott to install platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Technological advancement on the floating concrete caissons developed in the North Sea by oil companies in the late 1970’s and technology borrowed from the shipbuilding industry allowed the development of modular floating steel units that assemble to form a pontoon-type large floating structure. Suzuki defines large floating structures not only as floating structures with large length dimensions, but als as having lengths larger than the characteristic length defined by the ratio of structural stiffness and buoyant spring stiffness. Owing to these structural dimensions, elastic responses in large floating structures are more dominant than their rigid-body motions. 

Floating structures rely on the buoyancy force of the water in order to support themselves. In the broadest sense, soft seabed contact constructions where installations depend on a certain degree of buoyancy in order to reduce the reaction force on their supports are considered floating structures. However floating structures may be generally categorized as either pontoon-type or the semi-submersible type. The former is basically a simple box structure that features high stability with low manufacturing costs and easy maintenance. Pontoons are suitable for use only in calm water as they may roll or pitch being particularly prone to large wave-induced movement of the structure. They are often surrounded by a system of breakwaters to shelter the structure constructed in sea states with large wave heights. Shown in figure 1.3 are the components of a floating pontoon structural system: the floating structure, the superstructure, the access-bridge, breakwater and mooring facility. Floating structures may be moored with various systems depending on the requirements of the structure. For a greater restraint against horizontal movement, either the pier/quay wall method or the dolphin-frameguide mooring system may be adopted.




I read parts of this book and I thought that some parts were very interesting. Although this book was not written for architectural structures but more for the structure on water itself it did give me some research pointers.

1. When designing a floating structure does it have sustain itself or be dependable on resources from outside.2.  Is it possible at all to create a structure/building that can be sustainable just by the use of the water that it’s floating on. I think it could be pretty interesting to design a floating structure as an architectural building that relies on the water as its main energy source.




Topic of interest

A project that has had my interest since it was published is the Floating City. The floating city is a concept for sustainable, innovative urbanization in a densely occupied delta area. In the project a lot of research was put into sustainability and mobility.

After looking up the project on the internet I found out that there planning to build a floating pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.  It does make me wonder how they are going to make the floating structure possible and if the ecological goals of harvesting rain water, natural ventilation and the re-use of water will be completely integrated into the floating pavilion.



For me personally I think it could be really interesting to research the floating structure in combination with the natural ventilation.

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