Life with a rising sea: Dutch architectural studio Waterstudio.NL, with its "Citadel," has developed floating apartment complexes. The structure, between Delft and the Hague, will include 60 condominiums. Waterstudio.NL specializes in water-related architecture in part because about a third of the land mass in the Netherlands lies below sea level.
Just like on the biblical ark, animals are also to find refuge on floating structures. For their "Sea Tree" concept, Dutch architectural film Waterstudio.NL layered habitats for different species on top of each other - from crab to canary. Similar to the idea behind an oil platform, the floating park would be anchored to the seafloor with steel poles.
Holland isn't the only country worried about rising sea levels. This drifting house of God was developed by Dutch architects for the United Arab Emirates. Within, transparent fluted columns not only support the roof, but also let light into the interior.
The Maldives, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is among the world's nations most affected by rising seas - some experts say the islands could disappear under water completely. But tourists shouldn't be worried: they can spend their future vacation on artificially created "Green Stars" - another Dutch creation. They'll even have a floating golf course.
This construction, in the shape of a huge flower, was developed by Waterstudio.NL for the Maldives. It includes a total of 185 floating luxury villas that can be reached via a 20-minute boat ride. The first of these "Five Lagoons" houses are already for sale.
A close-up of "The 5 Lagoons". Residents wouldn't have to leave their floating neighborhood for supplies, as shops, restaurants and hotels are to be built on the artificial island near the Maldives. For Maldivians, such structures could be more necessity than luxury, as researchers believe that nearly 2,000 islands could become inhabitable over the next 100 years.
These ideas aren't all that far-fetched - long before futuristic artificial islands arrived at the drafting table, people were already living on water. "Waterwoning" is a long tradition in the densely populated Netherlands, where real estate was always in short supply. Today, there are around 10,000 houseboats in the country, including 2,500 in the canals of Amsterdam alone.
People have also long lived on water in the world's poorer areas. These 25- to 40-meter-long (80 - 130 feet) houseboats in Kashmir are rented to tourists. An Englishman came up with the idea a hundred years ago, when he was not allowed to purchase land. Such innovations could come in handy in the future, as experts believe that India's coast could also become flooded.
Floating villages have begun to congregate in north Vietnam's Halong Bay. About 1,600 people live on wooden houseboats here, as the small islands in the area are considered uninhabitable. Fishing, pearl diving and tourism are the main sources of income. Electricity comes only from diesel engines.
The Arabian Peninsula also offers life on water - on a large scale. A grouping of islands was created in Dubai with the presumptuous name "The World." The 270 islands form the shape of the five continents, but buying property here means digging deep: each piece costs between $11 and $40 million (8 to 30 million euros).
"The World" has a prominent role model: Palm Islands. A state-owned construction company is behind the grouping of islands near Dubai. Until now, only one "palm" can be visited by car. Environmentalists criticize the project, saying that the lack of water circulation allows excessive algae buildup.
Architects are seeking to make living on water possible, with the help of modern arks. As if out of science fiction films, these structures could soon become necessary as sea levels rise quicker than expected.