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Floating Hotels


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
Photos and illustrations by Filip Kurzewski, Ginaluca Santosuosso
29 Sunday 29th April 2012

This exploration of flotilla accommodation arose when a certain prototype known as Three Spirits started to make the rounds online two weeks ago. Devised by Polish architect Filip Kurzewski, it's a sort of fantasy world floating tourist hub which he projects could be self-sustainable for up to a full month before needing to return to shore. The Three Spirits is principally one fancy hotel that floats, but can also turn into three separate little ships to carry holidaygoers off on scuba diving adventures and whatever else people rich enough to afford one of these trips would want to do.

When combined all three ships create one hotel with a casino, central sea water pool for residents to take daytime dips in, a ballroom and a hall for film screenings and the like. Kurzewski's veering more towards the unnecessarily complex and luxurious end of this spectrum: his hopes are for each of the ships to be able to 'speak' to their occupants and teach them about the ocean "by means of whispers present on the shipboard". Ok, that just sounds terrifying.

On a larger scale, Ginaluca Santosuosso has proposed this MORPHotel (above). Its long, vertebrae-esque line of mini ships and floating hotel rooms is meant to act like one big organism with detachable limbs. His concept grew from a desire to fuse the cruise ship experience (stick with us here) with more long-term city visits.

Instead of breezing past bays and waving to people from the deck, Santosuosso visualises a ship that docks at shore for longer amounts of time and integrates with the city, while residents still have the freedom to sleep in the floating rooms and sail some of them away from the 'body' of the main ship (within pre-determined spaces, of course).

While again this is a fantastical idea and all, it also looks like it would be on the pricey side. On a more utopian note, Dietmar Koering's Floating Permaculture (pictured at top, and below) is meant to represent a long-term alternative to living on the earth's soil. Koering acknowledges that most human interaction with ecosystems is parasitic and takes more than it gives back.

Floating Permaculture, if executed, would be a self-sustaining system in the North Sea based around renewable energy, organic food production and rainwater re-use. There aren't major details out yet on just how this would be possible to maintain forever, but if you got in early we reckon you could make it happen.

Finally, in the late 90s a certain Richie Sowa took the environmentally-focused vision and ran with it pretty well (until his flotilla was smashed up in a hurricane). We're giving an honourable mention to his Spiral Island, which he first built in 1998 atop a quarter million plastic bottles.

It was stable enough to hold a two-storey house, self-composting toilet, solar oven and even a few beaches before being ironically decimated by natural disaster.

Would you be keen enough to board one of these for a holiday in the summer? Or forever, if you decided living on land was so 2011? Let us know.

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