The cylinder is the strongest viable structural form. A sphere is stronger, but for a house to build height = radius does not make commercial sense. So the cylinder is best as a wall to keep a roof over your head, providing the best ratio of area enclosed to wall length.
ARK is formed of three concentric concrete cylinders - actually 12-sided polygons, but effectively structural cylinders - which make it very strong. The inner two give enough buoyancy in the bottom three metres (the doughnut) to float the entire structure - including normal complements of people, cat, dog, furniture, equipment and stores.
Not only does ARK float, it incorporates ideas from old Imperial Chinese specifications for earthquake-proofing buildings. It can shake, it can tilt, but it cannot collapse. It is strong enough and heavy enough to weather hurricanes, cyclones and tornadoes. ARK makes a roomy, comfortable, sturdy and safe home anywhere from the Antartic to the Amazon to the Sahara!
|TWO ARK TYPES
|Two ARK design variations exist: first is the flood-proof house, which normally stands on a hardened level footing. The ARK ground floor – the doughnut – is watertight except for a door for normal access to ground level outside. In time of flood, you close the door, which makes the doughnut watertight. (Also the first floor.) If the floodwater rises to three metres, the house floats. While the doughnut's door is unusable, access is available from the second floor via French windows leading to a balcony with steps to a pontoon dinghy landing. Anchor lines ensure the house remains above its footing, upon which it is guided to land as the floodwaters recede.||The second variation is a permanently floating house. Its structure is similar to the first ARK except that it has no door in the doughnut, and all access is through the second floor. This ARK is intended for location in lakes, ponds, estuaries – anywhere you can find three metres depth of water in which to float it (although it will do fine sitting in mud). The design of ARK enables it to handle three metre waves with good stability; certainly enough for all inland and estuarine waters. These ARKs are also suitable for marshes where the doughnut can be accommodated by excavating pondage to the needed depth.|
The standard ARK comprises two residential levels above the doughnut, plus a fully useable flat roof area of the same size as the main floors.
Starting from the ground up, the doughnut has a diameter of nine metres and a central hollow core of three metres diameter. The central core runs the full height of the ARK and is key tp its enormous structural strength.
At ground level the core accommodates water storage of 10,000 litres in a removable food-quality plastic tank. ARK is intended to be totally independent of outside supplies of water as well as energy and sewage facilities - a fully self-contained bio-environment.
The doughnut provides storage, laundry, water heating and waste reprocessing unit accommodation. Access to the floor above is via a stairway curved along the inner wall.
The first floor – immediately above the doughnut – comprises bedrooms, study, bathrooms and kitchen, family area - see the proposed layout. Each of the twelve faces of the outer wall are four metres wide, and ARK offers lightweight relocatable internal walling panels to make rooms as desired. These wall units can also incorporate storage units and desks, as well as being soundproof.
The second floor and roof are accessed via spiral staircases in the core. The second floor has generous open-plan space for dining, lounge and other uses - ballroom, perhaps? Large, high French-windows provide access to external balcony areas – full wrap-around is available. In the floating ARK these balconies provide access to floating pontoon piers for access to boat transport etc. In the flood house ARK, the balcony provides access when access through the doughnut door is unavailable in a flood situation.
The flat roof provides an excellent outdoor entertainment or protected play area. Flexible vanes from the core support a full-size shade cloth cover sail, and /or an Ag-Tuf sail for collecting rainwater, both of which sails are easily furled and unfurled.
The Doughnut offers 56 square metres of floor space, each other floor offers 180 - a total of 416 sq m indoors, excluding the core stairwells. Add to this 180 sq m of roof, plus more than 100 sq m undercover at the doughnut level (which is available only when the house is not afloat)!
A future ARK concept is for open sea use - a lightweight ARK made of honeycomb plastic panels and plastic-coated steel beams mounted on a reinforced concrete cylinder 3 metres in diameter with a depth of 30 metres.
This air column provides enough buoyancy to float the ocean ARK, and ballast in the bottom ensures that the column remains vertical.
The proportionately narrow profile of the cylinder offers little surface for waves to move it, and its weight provides inertial damping of wave forces, meaning that the ocean ARK hardly moves even in 5 metre swells. Depending on the seas you expect to experience, the cylinder mounting can be made higher to provide more clearance above waves for ARK.
The ocean ARK needs to be bottom anchored, and offers additional energy generation capacity (compared with other ARKs) through harvesting of wave energy, thermocline and more.
The body of the column provides an enormous space for storage, and access can be either by staircase, ladders or powered light elevator.