WHAT architecture - London

Amphibian Living

Scale10000 sqm
Design Year2000

The countryside is inhabitable. The false division between rural and urban must - at least this is the premise of the 'handbook' for Amphibious Living that the province of South Holland and Bureau Venhuizen are writing - be eradicated as soon as possible. Because the housing is not to the detriment of the landscape, but is optimally adapted to the existing nature, the new insights also offer points of departure for living in extremely marshy or floodland areas.


Amphibious Living is an appeal for the abandonment of the compulsive control of water, for the acceptance of climactic influences, tides and seasons in the living environment, as well as a plea for a new mentality about living. Controlling natural conditions does not begin with imposing one's own will on the landscape, but through taking full advantage of the qualities of a dynamic relationship between land and water. At the same time, this means that the living conditions cannot be predicted. Amphibious Living therefore also demands an adventurous mentality and a higher level of self-sufficiency than we are accustomed to in the Netherlands, where everything is planned down to the last detail. Living in harmony with nature also entails living in a legal no-man's-land in which matters such as being registered with a particular municipality, right of way, and fixed sewers cannot be taken for granted.


The local natural features are the starting point for the amphibious housing form. Living in very marshy or floodland areas is thus no longer a problem, but simply one of the conditions that can lead to, for example, floating houses or housing in featherweight constructions.