Venice’s worst flood in 50 years blamed on climate change

November 14, 2019 by  
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Venice is inundated with floodwaters, with more than 85 percent of the city, including its historic basilica and centuries-old buildings, experiencing floods. Both residents and tourists are forced to navigate streets in waist-high waters, prompting the Venetian mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, to issue a state of emergency for the city. Nearly a third of Venice’s 1,100 raised walkways are now overwhelmed by high water. While exceptionally high tides, called acqua alta , have occurred here every five years or so, this year’s deluge is the worst since 1966. A combination of climate change and a billion-dollar project derailed by political scandal are factors contributing to the damage. “Venice is on its knees,” Brugnaro lamented earlier this week on Twitter. “We need everyone’s help to overcome these days that are putting us to the test.” Heavy rain, strong southerly winds and a full moon worked together, scientists say, in drawing the tidewater higher than usual. Traditionally, Venetians have recognized that whenever water climbs to more than 4.5 feet above the hydrographic station at Punta della Salute, the tide is then deemed an “exceptional” one. Meanwhile, the high tide earlier this week had a high-water mark registering 6 feet 2 inches, which is just a couple of inches below the highest Venetian flood ever recorded back in 1966. Related: Study estimates sea level rise two times worse than worst-case scenario Climate change is exacerbating the situation as melting ice, snow and glaciers around the world are raising sea levels. The sea level rise places Venice at greater risk. But other aspects are at play as well. Venice is sinking due to subsidence from plate tectonic movement underneath, wherein the Adriatic plate is subducting beneath the Apennines Mountains. Similarly, Venice has long been pumping groundwater from beneath the city; as the ground compacts from centuries of building construction, the city is shifting while it settles, causing a subsidence range of 0.04 to 0.20 inches (or 1 to 5 millimeters) per year. Unfortunately, Venice’s planned project for a series of large, movable undersea barriers, called MOSE, is still far from completion, due to soaring cost overruns, delays and corruption scandals. MOSE’s floodgates are designed to be raised above the seabed to shut off the lagoon from rising sea levels. The endeavor is still in a testing phase. Via NPR and BBC Image via Shutterstock

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Venice’s worst flood in 50 years blamed on climate change

Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower

November 14, 2019 by  
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Amsterdam-based design firm Waterstudio is already well-known for its incredible floating architecture, but it continues to break ground in the world of innovative design. Now, the firm, which is led by Koen Olthuis, has unveiled the world’s first floating timber tower. Slated for the waters of Rotterdam, the tower is made out of CLT and will house office space, a public green park and a restaurant with a terrace. Waterstudio’s most recent project is a contemporary take on floating architecture. The 130-foot-tall tower will be made out of cross-laminated timber, making the structure much lighter than concrete builds. Additionally, working with CLT means the building will be made with a renewable resource , providing the city of Rotterdam with a cutting-edge sustainable landmark. The tower will also make use of large expanses of glass to let plenty of natural light into the interior. Abundant vegetation, including pocket gardens planted with vegetables, will be found throughout the tower — inside and out. Related: Waterstudio.nl’s Sea Tree is a protected floating habitat for flora and fauna According to Olthuis, the building’s design is akin to a sheet of paper that has been pushed together until a tower forms in the middle. The base of the tower is located on a flat platform, which will be covered in vegetation. Rising up from the deck, the tower’s facade is marked by a series of V-shaped columns. Inside, a spacious atrium will be flooded with natural light . Although the tower will be mainly used as office space , there are several areas slated for the public. With offices located on the upper floors, the lower floors and main deck will house several publicly accessible spaces, such as a gallery and a coffee bar. Also on the lower deck, a restaurant will feature a beautiful terrace that provides stunning views of the harbor. For additional space, a lush, green courtyard will let workers and visitors enjoy fresh air day or night. This area is designed to be a flexible space for various functions and events happening year-round. + Waterstudio Images via Waterstudio

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Waterstudio unveils the world’s first floating timber tower

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