Rising Sea Levels: Floating Architecture

As climate change continues to impact the planet, rising sea levels pose a significant threat to coastal communities worldwide. Instead of fighting against water through traditional measures like seawalls. Some architects are embracing the idea of living with water through floating architecture. This innovative approach is not just a futuristic concept. It’s already becoming a reality in various locations across the globe. It is offering hope for climate-resilient communities.

Living with Water: A Paradigm Shift

Architects have recognized the need to adapt to changing climate realities, and floating architecture presents an alternative solution. Coastal communities experiencing the brunt of rising sea levels. They have seen the devastating effects of flooding, prompting a shift in perspective. Rather than resisting water, architects are designing floating structures that can coexist with water. They are offering sustainable and resilient living spaces.

Makoko Floating School: A Pioneering Project

The Makoko Floating School project in Lagos, Nigeria, serves as a pivotal example of floating architecture’s potential. The triangular A-frame wooden school, built on a base of plastic barrels. It was adapted to the lagoon’s water levels, providing a sheltered and accessible space for residents. Inspired by the project’s success, architect Kunlé Adeyemi developed the Makoko Floating System (MFS), a modular and sustainable timber structure that can be quickly assembled and disassembled. The MFS offers a range of applications, from housing to education, and is intended to benefit vulnerable communities in the face of climate adaptation challenges.

Rotterdam: Embracing a Watery Future

Rotterdam, a city particularly vulnerable to rising waters, is at the forefront of implementing floating architecture. With 90% of the city situated below sea level, floating buildings offer a practical solution. One such project, Nassau haven, features 17 floating homes that rise and fall with daily tides while remaining stable and energy neutral. The city government has recognized the importance of floating architecture, and interest in such projects is growing.

Scaling Up and Looking Ahead

Floating architecture is not just an isolate concept; it has the potential to be scale up and become a viable urban solution. Architects envision entire climate-resilient floating cities, offering sustainable living spaces for thousands of people. The ongoing research and projects, such as Adeyemi’s floating system, aim to explore the possibilities of building and living on water. As climate change continues to impact coastlines worldwide, embracing water rather than fighting it may be the key to a more sustainable and resilient future.


Floating architecture represents a promising solution to the challenges posed by rising sea levels and climate change. By learning to live with water and embracing innovative designs, architects are paving the way for climate-resilient communities. From floating schools to entire floating cities, these projects demonstrate that the future of living on water is not a distant dream—it’s already here. As rising sea levels continue to threaten coastal regions, this creative and adaptable approach may offer hope for a sustainable future.