The Life Aquatic
WaterNest 100 provides a unique habitat for those wishing to live independently and in harmony with the environment. Giancarlo Zema’s design, brought to life by EcoFloLife, is a solar-powered floating residence constructed almost entirely from recycled materials.
Keeping pace with a changing landscape
Our planet’s future landscape is often depicted in science fiction as dramatically different to what we know. Societies based in and around water have featured in literature and cinema for decades. Although such works of imagination may be entertaining, real climate change is a more sobering prospect. Rising sea and river levels will force us to reconsider the ecological sustainability of our lifestyle and habitats. This thought has also crossed the mind of Italian Giancarlo Zema, whose Rome-based design group specializes in aquatic architectural structures, floating habitats and yachts.
One of Zema’s Avant-Garde designs is WaterNest 100—a residence created for EcoFloLife, a London-based firm that also focuses on recyclable, eco-friendly structures. This floating home is designed to be moored on bays, calm seas and lakes, and could also be used as an office, restaurant or event space. Zema says the inspiration for the design came from observing the aquatic nests of water birds that live and raise their young in harmony with nature. Zema explains, “I thought of designing something similar that can help us to embrace life and allow us to live a floating experience in a natural and energy-saving habitat.” Elegance and sustainability WaterNest 100 is a pod-style habitat with a 100 m² living area.
The attractive curved structure has a diameter of 12 m and is 4 m high. The aluminum hull is 100% recyclable and features curved solar panels on the roof which smoothly blend in with the gracious shape of the abode. The design is robust—the hull is impact-resistant and requires no maintenance. The supporting frame is made from laminated wood which has been pressure bonded—a process which removes many defects found in solid wood. The curved cladding and partition walls are also specially treated to be weather resistant.Striving for ecological sustainability, Zema and EcoFloLife’s creation is made from materials that are 98% recyclable and meets its own power demands via the rooftop array of solar panels.
Solar technology on the water
Electricity is generated via a 60 m² section of photovoltaic panels,seamlessly incorporated into the structure. Amorphous panels are used, shaped to follow the curve of the building. The production of these panels involves relatively low energy consumption compared to conventional processes—another win for environmental consciousness. Accompanied by skylights on each side, the solar array has a potential output of 4 kWp, yet WaterNest 100 requires only 1 kWp to function, making it a low-consumption residence.
The pod also includes a temperature control system that keeps energy consumption to a minimum. This automated feature allows inhabitants to monitor the temperature of each area of the house and the amount of energy being used. The domotic (home automation) system can also control the lighting, sound system, blinds and curtains, and is operated by a single keypad or linked to a user’s smartphone. Elsewhere, a micro-ventilation system allows for the flow of fresh air into the pod via floor and ceiling grilles.
Stylish and ecological interior
The interior layout of WaterNest 100 is flexible and can be configured in a variety of ways, according to the needs and tastes of individual owners. Most arrangements would feature a central living area and two bedrooms, and could accommodate a family of four. Large windows provide abundant natural light, and the scent of wood used in the structure adds to the feeling of environmental congruency.
The furniture produced by EcoFloLife is also constructed using recycled and recyclable material. The designs are smooth and elegant—matching the soft, rounded feel of the pod. WaterNest 100 reflects our changing environment and utilizes solar technology for its modest energy needs. The production and placement of the amorphous photovoltaic panels is a beautiful and ecological marriage of form and function, and this aquatic residence provides a glimpse of how future dwellings may, by necessity, be built.
Article from Solar Journal English vol.03 2016 issue