Jacques Rougerie Database

Ocean nomads Living Between the Water and the Sky


Ocean nomads Living Between the Water and the Sky

  • Year2015
  • LocationOcean

“Ocean Nomads” is a project about a community sets out on a voyage. Through fighting against the ocean, constructing the community on the ocean, to adopting a harmonious way of living on the ocean, the community becomes a nomadic ocean tribe.

In the near future, the housing in the city and the suburban area becomes unaffordable. People begin to occupy the ocean, shipping pre-cast cubic modular housing units to the ocean.

As more and more people are moving to the ocean, the units gather and the roofs of the living units form a continuous plane that provides spaces for social event and public programs. A community is born. Additional structure that sheds the public area is required and built. The result, a triangulated fluctuating roof, which bears the resemblance of ocean waves, and performs as sail to help the community steer into the ocean.

On its journey into the ocean, the community keeps on evolving to better adapt to the ocean and matured to a self-sufficient community. It contains programs like production, trade, healthcare, knowledge, and research. Each program is a small island, wrapped by a glass membrane to prevent seawater leaking into the public space. The relative spatial relationship between program-islands responds to the current condition. The islands can gather or disperse, and even connect with each other when needed.

The community now has long history drifting on the ocean. The living units gather, expand, or break according to personal or family needs. The cubic shape of the living units is dissolved and no longer to be seen. Each living unit or complex is self-sufficient, thus it drifts away from the main agglomerated structure, which is the “mainland” of the nomadic ocean tribe, whereas the living complexes small islands.


Team Members : Dongyue Zhang, Mengcen Shen, Yashen Hu