Baca Architects proposes floating settlements to combat overcrowding in cities

The latest instalment of our Dezeen x MINI Living video series explores the "aquatecture" of Baca Architects, which includes plans for floating houses, villages and even a Grand Prix track.

London-based Baca Architects has developed a number of concepts that aim to move growing urban populations into floating communities on docks and canals.

The studio's plans to reinvigorate a water space in London's Royal Docks feature floating homes, shops and community spaces.

The concept is intended to form the head of a future series of settlements that would extend along the docks.

Baca Architects' floating homes

The modular floating Grand Prix circuit is another innovative concept from the studio, designed to be easily reconfigured and transported.

The track would feature a circuit, pits, grandstands and an accompanying eco-leisure resort, all powered by a floating solar farm and wind turbines.

Baca Architects has already installed a boxy floating home on Chichester Canal in southern England to demonstrate how it could deploy homes across London's waterways.

The replicable design was developed as a prototype with British company Floating Homes. It won an ideas competition seeking solutions to London's housing crisis hosted by think-tank New London Architecture.

The home references the design of canal boats. It is structured around principles of space efficiency, with a split-level layout that features a terrace carved into the flat roof.

The studio now hopes to install more prefabricated floating housing on disused spaces along London's rivers and canals, as well as in the city's docklands, marinas and basins.

The architects also previously developed and built the UK’s "first amphibious house" on an island in the River Thames. The house rests on fixed dock-like foundations, but rises up within these when buoyed by an influx of floodwater.

The defence mechanism can cope with up to 2.5 metres of floodwater, and is designed to mitigate the risk of interior flooding when infrastructural defences prove insubstantial.

Baca Architects isn't alone in its vision – rising sea levels and a shortage of development sites have prompted a surge of interest in floating buildings all around the globe.

Other designs include Gensler's conceptual amphibious UK parliament, and the floating school designed by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi.

This movie is part of Dezeen x MINI Living Initiative, a year-long collaboration with MINI exploring how architecture and design can contribute to a brighter urban future through a series of videos and talks.

All images in the video and story are courtesy of Baca Architects.