Land on Water: A Vision for Adaptable, Climate-Resilient Living on Water


Developed by the Danish Maritime Architecture Studio ‘MAST’ with the support of Hubert Rhomberg and venture studio ‘FRAGILE’, ‘Land on Water’ promises a solution for building almost anything on the water: from floating houses in Seattle to floating campsites at the center of Oslo fjord and saunas on Hobart’s riverfront.

A growing acknowledgement of sea level rise and an increased risk of urban flooding has contributed to a sharp increase in interest in building on water. However, current solutions, including polystyrene-filled concrete foundations and plastic pontoons are inflexible, difficult to transport and highly unsustainable. Land on Water promises an entirely new, sustainable and highly flexible solution.

How It Works: Flat-Pack Floating Foundations

The system is based on simple, flat-pack modules made from reinforced recycled plastic that can be easily transported around the globe and assembled in countless configurations, providing a secure floating founda­tion for building housing and infrastructure. The system was inspired by gabion construction, an ancient technology which utilizes mesh cages filled with rub­ble to create extremely sturdy, low-cost foundations. In this case, the concept is inverted and the modular ‘cages’ are filled with locally sourced upcycled flotation, supporting the weight of any structure built on top. This has the unique advantage that floatation can be added or adjusted at any time if weight is added above.

Better for the Environment above and below the Water

Land on water also promises a far better underwater environment than existing solutions. While steel and con­crete foundations are commonly treated with toxic anti-fouling paints, Land on Water provides an ideal habitat for fish and crustaceans and an anchor point for mollusks and seaweed.


A Starting Point for Organic Floating Communities

Land on Water promises a climate resilient and adaptable solution for the construction of new floating buildings but could also lead to an entirely new type of dynamic and organic off-grid floating community and an alternative to the large master-planned floating cities currently under development, which repeat many of the mistakes made by urban planners in the mid-20th century.