About the Proposal:

Based on puffer fish’s morphology, an Iranian architect created a home system that adjusts to increasing sea levels.

Sajjad Navidi’s Puffer Village was inspired by the Ganvie Lake Village in Benin, which suffers from high sea levels, causing its people to create wooden dwellings that float on water. The structures deteriorate and are demolished over time as a result of their poor construction. Smart village, inspired by the biomimetic structure of “Puffer fish”, adapts to changes in sea-level rise and responds to and adapts to its environment.

 A system of smart houses that adapts to rising sea levels proposed by Sajjad Navidi  - Sheet1
Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi

The Puffer Village proposal was chosen as one of the top ten in the area of “innovation connected to sea-level rise” in a 2021 competition organized by the Jacques Rougerie Foundation.

How Does This ‘Puffer Village’ Imitate a Puffer Fish’s Defence System?

One of the major future crises of the world is rising sea levels, which could pose a serious threat to human survival. This threat also impacts coastal cities and villages near the ocean. Ganvie is one of Africa’s largest lake communities, located in the Benin area. The rising water level is one of Ganvie Lake Village’s issues. “Water for water” is the finest response. 

 A system of smart houses that adapts to rising sea levels proposed by Sajjad Navidi  - Sheet2
Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi
 A system of smart houses that adapts to rising sea levels proposed by Sajjad Navidi  - Sheet3
Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi

The Ganvie lake community in Benin, Africa, is tormented by rising sea levels, causing its residents to construct wooden dwellings that float on water. Since these dwellings are improperly built, they wear out and are demolished over time, jeopardizing the lives of the residents. In light of this, Iranian architect Sajjad Navidi has revealed his ‘puffer village’ proposal: a network of smart dwellings that adapt to increasing sea levels. The project, as the name implies, adopts the anatomy of the pufferfish, a creature typically found in Ganvie’s lake nakoué. To frighten or escape predators, pufferfish are known to expand like a balloon, filling up with water or air. Balloon skins that inflate and deflate depending on water conditions

 A system of smart houses that adapts to rising sea levels proposed by Sajjad Navidi  - Sheet4
Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi
 A system of smart houses that adapts to rising sea levels proposed by Sajjad Navidi  - Sheet5
Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi

The Puffer Village is inspired by the morphology of the pufferfish, which is prevalent in Ganvie’s lake Nakoué. To intimidate or escape predators, pufferfish are known to inflate like a balloon, filling up with water or air. The design and geometry of the house layout are inspired by pufferfish sand rings. They create underwater ‘crop circles’ to attract a partner, which also serves as protection for the female’s eggs. When the design is complete, a female will swim towards the centre to indicate acceptance, and the male will bite on her cheek to begin the mating process. This geometric ring, and hence the circular shape, influenced the shape of the dwellings. Navidi proposes a floating system that can inflate and deflate in reaction to sea levels and weather conditions, which is inspired by this protective mechanism.  

 A system of smart houses that adapts to rising sea levels proposed by Sajjad Navidi  - Sheet6
Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi

He advocated equipping each house with two sensors, one for water levels and the other for high waves. On rainy or high tide days, the water level sensor triggers an air blower beneath the floating home, causing a ‘balloon skin’ to fill with air and the body to rise to the surface. During stormy and rough conditions, an ‘impact’ sensor activates the substructure foundation pores, allowing water to fill the skin and increase weight and sturdiness, preventing damage or dwellings from floating away. Finally, once the circumstances are steady, the balloon shell closes, and the structure begins to resemble normal houses with flat roofs.

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Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi

Agriculture Uses Sustainable Energy and Aquaponic Systems in the Project

This construction uses clean energies to power all of its systems, including the air fan system, lights, and so on. The tidal energy system is meant to generate power from ocean waves beneath this building. In addition, flexible photovoltaic panels on the upper half of the balloon skin are meant to generate power from solar radiation. Furthermore, to help the local economy, an aquaponic system is installed in the wooden fences that surround each house, allowing residents to produce and nurture their agricultural goods.

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Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi

Many columns have been built at the upper view of the project site so that the villagers can progressively build their own dwellings on them. This technique may be employed in any coastal region or community where increasing sea levels pose a threat to their survival and future. 

Puffer Village_©Sajjad Navidi

Project Info

Name: Puffer village
Location: Ganvie, Benin, Africa
Typology: Futuristic Architecture, Biomimetic Architecture
Proposal year: 2021
Built area: 25-50 sqm
Principal architect + designer: Sajjad Navidi
Visualization + concept design: Sajjad Navidi 

References:

  1. lea Zeitoun, designboom [Online] Sajjad Navidi proposes a system of smart houses that adapts to rising sea levels. Available at: https://www.designboom.com/
  2. msn [Online] Smart Homes That Float on Water Mimic the Defence Mechanism of A Pufferfish. Available at: https://www.msn.com/
  3. Sajjad Navidi [Online] Smart village to adapt to changes in sea level rise inspired by the biomimetic structure of “Pufferfish”. Available at: https://archello.com/
Author

A recent architecture grad student who believes design and research play a creative role in shaping society while providing advanced solutions. Her curiosity has drawn her passion into understanding the psychology of architecture with human behaviour and art. She relishes reading, discovering, and craves to learn more each day.

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