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Riiki | Floating on the Pacific Ocean

The name of the Republic of Kiribati may not sound familiar to many. The country consisting of 33 atolls located in the central Pacific Ocean is threatened by complete disappearance owing to the rising sea levels. A call has been announced recently asking architects to share their ideas about the possible future of the islands.

The little islands of Kiribati are located nearly halfway between Australia and Hawaii. Thirty-three idyllic atolls, under the threat of complete loss. It can be seen on the photos of the local elderly how much the ocean has taken up from the territory of the islands in the past almost one decade. But how could a nation accept that they will disappear from Earth without a trace? As it can also be read in the brief of the Kiribati Floating Houses call announced by the Young Architects Competitions (YAC): „Fleeing is not an option. Leaving is not the solution.” Therefore, a way must be found how the residents can stay on the island, even if the island sinks beneath them…

A Polish architect-graphic designer, Marcin Kitala won the first award on the competition. In his proposal Riiki, he imagined a system of pentagonal-shaped platforms, which can be easily connected or disconnected, on 4200 square meters (with each side of the platforms measuring 50 meters).

One platform is planned to accommodate only 1 to 30 inhabitants and 1-5 houses, this is how the designer avoids a high density of buildings in order to preserve the current nature of Kiribati buildings. 

Each house has its own garden providing self-sufficiency: with green house, water treatment system and solar panels. At the same time, the habitants themselves would be able to finish the plans of the houses, this way contributing to preserving the traditional Kiribati style.

The designer, as a further homage to the traditions of Oceania, also created a separate mythology for the proposal, in which he describes how Riiki came into being. The word Riiki means change of weather over many days” in the official Gilbertese language of the island. If we can give credit to forecasts, Kiribati has only 50 years left on the surface. This is why we hope that the idyllic floating platforms will become reality soon.

Marcin Kitala | Behance

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