Floating buildings up to 15 floors can withstand hurricanes

New research shows that it is technically feasible to create floating high-rise buildings of 15 floors at sea, even under hurricane conditions.

This is one of the conclusions of our intern Kelvin Ko, who just completed his Civil Engineering Masters thesis at TU Delft. The research is a big step forward for the BlueRevolution, because it increases the attractiveness of floating urban development for cities such as New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Kelvin Ko: “I researched whether it’s technically feasible to build a floating city in the open sea with huge waves and frequent storms. The answer is yes. And what really surprised me is that you can realise high-rise buildings up to 50 meters high and still being hurricane proof, assumed that the building and floating platform are very rigid connected to each other. Which means: waves of 4 meters high and the wind blowing at 200 kilometers an hour.”

Fascinating fact: inhabitants won’t feel any movement caused by waves… Really?

“Yes, you just have to build the city with several modular floating platforms rigidly connected to each other. This way, the total length and width of the floating city will become larger than the wavelength. This causes the waves to have less effect on the floating city, which will only experience very small displacements, so small that inhabitants won’t feel them. Only under severe wave circumstances the platforms experience large displacements, like during a tsunami.”

“Also, I found out that the larger the water depth gets, the less expensive a floating city becomes compared to land reclamation, simply because for the latter you need more sand for larger water depths.”

Some technical details: from the results and calculations in this thesis, it is reliable to connect up to 4 platforms in a linear formation for the chosen design of the hexagonal platform with sides of 60 m and a construction height of 14 m. This means that a floating community of 16 platforms (in a configuration of 4 by 4 platforms) can be realised and house approximately 4000 inhabitants.

Kelvin Ko’s paper appeared in the Danish journal Urban Island Studies and he will present his research at the conference Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos 2016 in Hong Kong.

Source image: http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/other-shows/videos/mega-engineering-floating-new-orleans/

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