Floating Offices ΓÇô the Future for London?
As London Mayor Boris Johnson announces plans for a floating village on the Thames, could floating office space be next for the capital?
We look at some locations around the world where the floating office is already moving from concept to reality.
Rotterdam ΓÇô tackling rising sea levels
With large areas of land in the Netherlands below sea level, planners and developers looking for the floating offices of the future would do well to look to their example.
In Rotterdam, an innovative plan is already in place to build an integrated urban district on water, providing floating offices, retail space and residential property. The Floating Pavilions project is currently in the pilot phase, in the form of three giant domed structures which bear more than a passing resemblance to the Eden Project.
As well as being architecturally appealing, the domes have been designed with a firm focus on sustainability and the need to address rising sea levels which pose a significant threat to the Netherlands.
The Floating Pavilions will be moored in Rotterdam until 2015, before touring other waterfronts around the Netherlands. If the initial phase is a success, a full-scale development is likely to follow ΓÇô with a projected launch date of 2040.
Compact floating office space in Cardiff
A bit closer to home (and a bit easier to visit if Boris is looking for inspiration), the H2Office in Cardiff is floating office space on a small scale.
The concept was a result of a failed search for suitable office space with a marina view;
ΓÇ£We came up with the idea after we were looking for office space overlooking the marina but struggled to find anything. We also had a look around Penarth Marina but couldnΓÇÖt find anything there ΓÇô so we said why donΓÇÖt we be in the marina and so the floating office was born,ΓÇ¥
Steve Evans, Sales and Marketing Director of Floating Offices told Your Cardiff.
The compact office space can accommodate up to three workspaces, with deck area for taking lunch in the warmer months. As an added benefit, the H2Office can be towed to a different location if workers ever get tired of the view.
Last year, we brought you news of BlueseedΓÇÖs proposed ΓÇ¥Googleplex on the seaΓÇ¥ and it seems that the project is still full steam ahead, with more than 700 startups already expressing interest in setting up ship on the, well, ship.
In addition to all the facilities you would expect from serviced offices, residents of the offshore business centre also hope to benefit from improved investment prospects and an increased talent pool, by avoiding US regulations which some believe are stifling the development of startup tech companies. ItΓÇÖs a concept called ΓÇÿseasteadingΓÇÖ ΓÇô and if BlueseedΓÇÖs business centre proves to be a success we can expect to see similar projects worldwide.
Is there a floating future for London offices?
TheyΓÇÖre portable and can address a wide range of problems from environmental sustainability to lack of space in heavily developed urban centres ΓÇô but will we be seeing floating offices in London next? And what will they look like?
Time will tell ΓÇô but with the Mayor already keen on floating developments as an innovative way to boost economic growth, it could well be on the cards in the near future. As to what they will look like ΓÇô the brief for the new floating village has called for ΓÇ£spectacularΓÇ¥ proposals; the chosen design is likely to set the standard for future developments on the waterways of the capital.
Are floating offices the future for London? Would you consider setting up office on the Thames?
Image via rick ligthelm on Flickr