Waterstudio, a Dutch architectural firm, is on a mission to develop The Maldives Floating City, just 10 minutes away from Male. The floating city will be big enough to house 20,000 people.

This expensive structure will be designed in a pattern similar to brain coral. The floating city will consist of 5,000 floating units including houses, restaurants, shops, schools, etc.


According to the reports, the first units of the floating city will be unveiled by the end of June 2022. Residents will start moving to the floating city by early 2024, and the construction of the whole floating city will be completed by 2027.

The floating city will be opening up its first units this month, with prices starting at $150,000 for a studio apartment, and going up to $250,000 for a family home, according to CNN.


A floating city in the Maldives begins to take shape
How floating city looks like from the top / Waterstudio.NL/Dutch Docklands


According to Koen Olthuis, the founder of Waterstudio, the floating city project is a joint venture between the Dutch Docklands, a property developer, and the local government in Male.

The floating city project is not only meant as a futuristic vision. But building the floating city would also offer a practical solution to the threat of rising sea levels. The Maldives is one of the world’s most vulnerable nations to climate change. The majority (about 80%) of its land area is less than 1 meter above sea level, and levels are expected to rise to 1 meter by the end of the century, after that, the entire country could be submerged.

“Floating real estate will provide safety and building space for overcrowded and flood-threatened cities,” said Koen Olthuis. “Floating developments will push real estate beyond the waterfront which will change our cities similar to the introduction of high-rise buildings a century ago.”


Streets of Maldives floating city

“It will be a walkable city with floating streets, utilizing boats for the transport of goods and people within the city, and to the capital city of Male,” Olthuis said.

The living expenses in the floating city would be comparable to local land-based developments in the nation.

“In 2027, we should have 20,000 people living in 5,000 houses,” Olthius said.

The Maldives Floating City will be made up of modular, hexagonal segments connected to an outer ring of barrier islands. The modular units are constructed in a local shipyard, then towed to the floating city. These modular units are attached to large underwater concrete hull stabilizers, which are screwed to the seabed on telescopic steel stilts that let it gently fluctuate with the waves.


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Patrick Verkooijen, the CEO of climate think-tank the Global Center on Adaptation, told CNN, “The cost of not adapting to these flood risks is extraordinary,” Verkooijen told the outlet. “We have a choice to make: we either delay and pay, or we plan and prosper. Floating offices and floating buildings are part of this planning against the climate of the future.”

By building the floating city in the Maldives, this type of structure will be propelled to the next level. It will no longer be “freak architecture” found in luxurious locations commissioned by the super-rich. It’ll be an answer to climate change and urbanization, that’s both practical and affordable, Olthuis said.

“If I, as an architect, want to make a difference, we have to scale up,” he said.


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