Floating-Pavilion-RotterdamThere are more people living in urban areas than rural areas than ever before in human history, and is expected to rise to 70% in this century. Much of this growth will occur in low-lying deltas and be vulnerable to climate change and flooding. Scarcity of resources requires cities to become increasingly self-sufficient.

Global spatial data analysis reveals that over 50% of the world’s population lives closer than 3 km to the nearest river or lake. Majority of world’s population still lives on a walking distance from a river or lake, reveals a global analysis.

Responding to a need for sustainable buildings that are flood-proof, DeltaSync is becoming an expert in floating urbanization. With a mission “to design and develop the first self sufficient floating city in the world,” they are working with PublicDomain Architects and the City of Rotterdam to build the Floating Pavilion, which has been constructed by Dura Vermeer and is now The Netherlands’ largest public floating structure. DeltaSync is focusing their efforts on developing solutions to solve problems of water, climate control, and electricity needs with sensitivity to social dynamics and spatial integration.


The Rotterdam Climate Initiative aims to improve the climate to benefit the environment, people, and the economy by collaborating with citizens, government, companies, organizations, and knowledge institutes and reduce CO2 emissions by 50% and become the “World Capital of CO2- free energy.”

To that end, the City of Rotterdam is building floating structures, the first of which is the Floating Pavilion. Currently moored in the Rijnhaven, where it will remain until 2015, it serves as the centerpiece of the Dutch Water Centre, until it is shipped to its new location in another area of Stadshavens.

Appearing as if they are floating spheres, the three connecting structures of the Pavilion are climate-proof and sustainable. The largest sphere has a 12-meter radius, and the entire floor area is over 46 by 24 meters. As water levels rise, the pavilion rises, too.

The Rijnhaven location was chosen for its accessibility by public transport and over water, along with the limited amount of waves beating the structure and few inland vessels using the harbor.

Sustainability is achieved by the use of materials, the flexibility of the structure, and its fittings. Solar energy and surface water are utilized in HVAC systems and climatic zones direct energy where it is needed.

The Pavilion is largely self-sufficient in terms of power and it purifies its toilet water. The ETFE foil that covers the domes is about 100 times lighter than glass.

The floating bodies have been constructed with five layers of expanded polystyrene sheets (EPS), with the thickest later containing a grid of concrete beams that is fastened to prefabricated concrete slabs to form the island’s hard shell that protects is from beating waves. On top of this is placed a 20 cm thick concrete floor, which floats 80 cm above the water.