WHAT architecture - London

City on the Roof

architectonic prototype
Scale16 sqm
LocationPuddingfabriek, Viaducstraat 3a, 9725 BG Groningen, The Netherlands
ClientCOAR foundation
Budget€ 800
Design Year2006

Due to the local/global riddle of the historic city centres growing towards its peripheries and in order to avoid demolition or the preserving of “a dead city centre” a main question arises: how to intensify the city in a compact way without destroying its historic identity?


City on a roof, commissioned by the Province of Groningen,is an experimental study searching for new design structures for the 21st century cities. The design of the future that must be “adaptive, interactive, generative, connective, mobile, multifunctional, self learning” is the proposed tool to rewrite cityscapes in order to revitalise its social and programmatic process.


Architecture is an Event.

Having the city airspace - specifically the Fabrik Factory’s roof in Groningen - as the site context, the Floating House is a 'right here-right now' experiencehavingas a conceptual starting point “Le Ballon Rouge”, a film from 1956, written and directed by A.Lamorisse.


The Floating House is transportable, relocatable and can be erected within an hour. Unlike many balloon structures and due to its tethered perimeterit is an architecture in flux conditioned by user prompting and the weather (wind, heat...) 


A lightweight umbrella nylon sheathed pyramidal network of 30 chloroprene balloons with 1m diameter forms a 16m2 '15kg floating house' where visitors can adjust the height of the 30 balloons (green = 1.5m, yellow = 2.5m, blue = 3.5m, red = 4.5m) and thus reshape its form.The Floating House is an architecture without walls, a 'formless', vague, shape shifting space!


The Floating House arrived in a bag in time for the Dutch press opening. Whilst bottles were being uncorked, the Floating House was being erected…