Floating On The Floodplains

Floating On The Floodplains

Saturday August 25, 2018 Written by Genevieve

Estonia flood ship

In parts of the world that are regularly devastated by natural disasters, there are people who try to resist their environment, and those who try to work with it.

Every year, the rivers of Estonia’s Soomaa forests become flooded, and overcome the surrounding grasslands. The event, while expected, causes major disruptions to local communities, cutting them off from each other and making day-to-day living generally more difficult. The people of the area have adapted by using boats during flooding season, but with the guidance of Finnish architect and artist Sami Rintala, Serbian architect Pavle Stamenovic and Estonian architecture office b210, a group of architecture, design and art students recently came up with another kind of permanent solution: floating living spaces.

Estonia flood ship

Demonstrating a dramatic shift in the thinking around floods, the students created a shelter, a fireplace and a sauna that can each float across the Soomaa’s flooded planes.

At least, the shelter and the fireplace float. Unfortunately, during a test run, the sauna sank like a stone. But in the words of Henry Ford, “the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward”. Or floating.

Estonia flood ship

Whatever the particulars of the project’s outcomes, it’s the spirit of approaching an old problem with a new way of thinking that matters. Namely, thinking that a problem doesn’t have to be a problem at all. 

Estonia flood ship

For more info, check out the project's website.