Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) is a Danish company that is working on creating a floating neighborhood in Gothenburg, Sweden, called Living Tomorrow Sweden. BIG has been building student housing in inner city areas for many years, and for this project hit upon the idea of placing housing on barges in the river that runs through Gothenburg. One of the key factors for this project, explains BIGs Jakob Lange, was to use shipping containers, thus enabling owners to ship these homes easily around the world. The containers can be configured together in groups of nine homes urban riggers boasting internal courtyard views and interconnected communities, right there on the water.
Each rigger can be clustered to create larger communities. As harbors across Europe and elsewhere become abandoned or fall out of favor, new uses for this space are being explored. Residential dwellings have long been seen as a desirable option, and BIG wanted to take the concept further building not just student accommodation, but homes that were zero energy, made from upcycled materials and embraced the opportunities offered by new renewable energy technologies such as solar PV panels.
The riggers produce more energy than they consume. The homes are well insulated and made from upcycled shipping containers a production process that uses one-twentieth of the energy typically required to construct a similar dwelling.
The Gothenburg project will have a green garden route and also allow inhabitants to enjoy the space fully including sailing and swimming in the water, maximizing the views offered by the harbor, and developing an interconnected energy system whereby each urban rigger can feed or draw energy from their neighbours. Shipping of a prototype urban riggers has already begun, Lange said.