In the Rijnhaven in Rotterdam, a new, eye-catching structure has been erected: a complex consisting of three floating half-spheres. The structure is 12 metres tall, with a total floor area the size of four tennis courts, and is fully relocatable.
For the first five years, the futuristic pavilion will be moored in the Rijnhaven, serving as an expertise centre for an innovative and inspiring approach to climate, energy and water.
The floating pavilion is remarkable not only because of the spheres floating on the water, but also because of its climate-proof, innovative, sustainable and flexible qualities. The floating pavilion is a pilot and a catalyst for floating construction in Rotterdam. The pavilion consists of three connected spheres, the largest of which has a radius of 12 meters. The floor area of the pavilion island is over 46 by 24 meters. It will be moored in the Rijnhaven until 2015: after that, it will be shipped off to another part of Stadshavens. The Rijnhaven is a suitable location for the pavilion due to the limited beating of the waves. Furthermore, fewer and fewer inland vessels will use the harbour. Moreover, the Rijnhaven is easily accessible by public transport, also over water. The complex is a design by the design team Deltasync/PublicDomain Architects. It was constructed by Dura Vermeer.
Climate-proof and prominent landmark
As the water level rises, the floating pavilion will automatically rise accordingly. This makes the pavilion an example of a climate-proof building, a technology for which demand will strongly grow in Rotterdam. The innovative pavilion responds to the objectives of Rotterdam to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 by 50% and to ensure that the city remains climate-proof also in the future. With its remarkable shape, the building is a highly distinctive and prominent feature in the city, a landmark that is visible from the Erasmus Bridge. The floating pavilion is the first result of Rotterdam Climate Proof (part of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative) and its ambition to build climate-proof constructions in the areas outside the levees.
Catalyst for floating construction
Rotterdam has plans to build floating urban districts. The Stadshavens district offers space for 1,600 hectares of sustainable area development. Until 2040, thousands of houses will be built. Several hundreds will be floating on the water. In these floating districts, people will live, shop, work and recreate on the water. The pavilion will be a showcase for the possibilities this innovation offers, in close alignment with the Rotterdam Climate Proof ambition to realize a fully climate-proof city. Floating construction is one of the solutions that will be increasingly favoured in the 21st century, and all over the world. Once the industry in Rotterdam has gained expertise in this area, they will be able to market this knowledge in the rest of the world.
Welcome to the floating pavilion!
The pavilion exhibits these ambitions in the fields of climate, energy and water. Come and visit this special pavilion. During the open days, you can see the floating pavilion from the inside and see the special exhibition on the innovative and inspiring approach by Rotterdam to water, climate and energy. There will be an additional programme on some days. Please visit this website frequently for further information about this. There are no entry fees.
The level of sustainability of the pavilion is determined by the materials used, its flexibility, as well as its fittings. For instance, the building’s heating and air conditioning systems rely on solar energy and surface water. It contains various climatic zones; the energy is used only in places where it is required at any specific moment. Where power is concerned, the pavilion will largely be self-sufficient. The pavilion even purifies its own toilet water. Whatever is left, can subsequently be discharged into the surface water. Another special feature is the foil that is used to clad the domes. This so-called ETFE foil is approximately 100 times lighter than glass, so that the floating foundation requires only a limited thickness.
In the Heijsehaven in Rotterdam, a start was made in October 2009 with the construction of two floating islands: the pavilion island and the plaza island. To guarantee the lightweight and unsinkable qualities of these islands, the floating body has been constructed using expanded polystyrene sheets (EPS). Five layers of EPS are placed on top of each other, the thinnest layer measuring 20 centimetres in thickness, and the thickest 75 centimetres. The thickest layer contains a grid of concrete beams, which is fastened to the prefab concrete slabs. These slabs form the hard shell of the island, protecting it against the beating of the waves, for instance. Placed on top of this, a 20 centimetre thick concrete floor, together with the beams, renders the island a rigid unit. The thickness of the island is 2.25 metres. The top of the floor is about 80 centimetres above the water level. In May 2010, the floating pavilion was shipped off to the Rijnhaven through the New Meuse.
Contractor: Dura Vermeer
Architects: Deltasync & PublicDomain Architects
Installation consultant: DWA
Dome construction: Vector Foiltec
Floating foundations: Flexbase
Structural engineer: Advin
The construction of the Floating Pavilion