The World’s Largest Floating Office is Now Open!

And it has a fascinating story to tell.

Oct 15, 2021
The World’s Largest Floating Office is Now Open! | And it has a fascinating story to tell.

How fitting that the UN's Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), an international think tank on climate issues in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, now has a cool new headquarters that demonstrates its values, and so acts as an inspiring “vessel for change.”

This nonprofit that promotes planning, investment and technology to alleviate climate change, has opened its doors since September 6th, Newsweek reports. It now sits, or should we say floats, as a model off-grid and carbon-neutral structure. This three-story marvel is powered by the sun and cooled by the river water. 

As the GCA explains in our video, “The floating office shows what innovative solutions to climate challenges could look like.”

For instance, architect Nanne de Ru, co-founder of Powerhouse Company, told The Mayor newspaper that the location was carefully selected  as in the Rijnhaven, the port on the south bank of the Nieuwe Maas River in which it is located, the tide causes water to rise and fall by two meters (almost seven feet) daily. So a building here needs to show that it is resilient to these climate-related shifts.

Powerhouse Company, the talented local architectural company behind the development, explains its “climate-resilient office” creation as follows:

“Powerhouse Company’s floating office for the Global Center on Adaptation is a building for a new age. Self-sufficient and carbon-neutral, it will float – rather than flood – if water levels rise due to climate change.”

And it’s a place for fun too. It is revitalizing a former industrial port setting, and is now a landmark of the  newly redeveloped harbor, offering public waterside space, a restaurant and even a swimming pool.

And this sustainable, floating office structure checks a long list of green boxes! 

With its own solar energy source and water-based heat exchange system, it is completely self-sufficient, as the structure uses the waters of the Nieuwe Maas River to cool the building.

While the south side of its roof has 900 square metres (9688 square feet) of solar panels, its north side absorbs rainwater and helps filter sewage.

As the building is largely made from wood, it can easily be demounted and re-used, and is “ready for the circular economy” explains Paul Sanders, Project leader and architect at Powerhouse Company.

Using timber as a central construction material also dramatically reduces the building’s carbon footprint. Underwater, the structure is made from concrete pontoons containing pipes so they double as a heat exchanger.

Meanwhile, overhanging floor balconies create permanent shade from the sun and cooling, allowing for large windows that let in plenty of natural sunlight. As Powerhouse Company outlines, these also create “an interesting in-between area that combines shelter from the elements with fresh air and open views.”

With its remarkable green credentials, gentle aesthetic, and cool vibe, the Floating Office represents a milestone in planet-friendly architecture that is sure to be copied around the world.

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Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.