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Morphocode wants to put studio lofts on top of offshore wind turbines

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July 18, 2013

Morphocode's offshore wind turbine loft concept (Image: Morphocode)

Morphocode's offshore wind turbine loft concept (Image: Morphocode)

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With an idea sure to raise hopes, eyebrows and hackles in roughly equal proportions, architectural outfit Morphocode has cooked up the idea of building loft apartments into offshore wind turbines.

Offshore turbines can be surprisingly large, with Siemens' 75-m B75 blades creating a sweep of 154-m diameter which is plenty big enough to swallow an Airbus A380. Morphocode predicts that offshore turbines will become larger still in the next few years, and points to the European Commission's 2008 Communication on offshore wind energy which said that the contribution made by offshore wind in Europe "can and must" increase "in the order of 30-40 times by 2020 and 100 times by 2030" in installed capacity compared to 2008 figures.

Morphocode's reasoning is not that such turbines will make ideal pads for those looking to away from it all (and then some), but that they will require the permanent presence of maintenance crews to watch over them (if not actually repair them), monitoring their performance to ensure that they're working optimally. Hence its wind turbine loft, an aerodynamically-shaped living space doubling as the rotor hub of the turbine.

Not that Morphocode has entirely divorced the romance of the sea from its concept. "Wind turbine loft is a secluded retreat in the vastness of the sea where time is marked by the rotation of the blades while the horizon line remains the only static element in this ever-changing landscape," it writes.

It's a charming idea, but, one suspects, an extremely improbable one.

Source: Morphocode, via Dvice

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
18 Comments

Talk about a room with a view... But doesnt everyone want to live (not to mention sleep) somewhere permeated with a rhythmic basso profundo whumping sound?

I know I do.... NOT!

Bob Ehresman
18th July, 2013 @ 08:41 am PDT

This sounds like the modern day equivalent of the light-house keeper. It would be great except for a few minor problems. First, if it's off-shore, wouldn't it be kind of hard to entertain guests or even grab a quart of milk when you needed it? Second, the noise from the gears and generator would be horrible. Third, image search Google for "wind turbine fire" and see what happens when things go wrong. Not a pretty picture.

Jeff King
18th July, 2013 @ 08:48 am PDT

It is like the modern version of light house keepers. Some of them were isolated and have a similar problem getting to and from it plus getting supplies.

Perhaps instead of a permament residence, perhaps for emergencies and as a work shop to repair items that need maintanence.

BigWarpGuy
18th July, 2013 @ 09:24 am PDT

Interesting concept. Now take a moment and goto amazon to look at any review for any air conditioner. The first and primary complaint about any of them, the noise level. Now consider richer, pickier people being sold high end apartments with a MW generator strapped to the wall instead of a kw motor.

you'd have to sound isolate the entire structure away from the rest of the pylon. It would be incredibly expensive just with that addition.

mystixa
18th July, 2013 @ 10:26 am PDT

If the noise, safety, and supply factors could be addressed, this could actually be a pretty good idea.

Roma Khudoleyev
18th July, 2013 @ 10:50 am PDT

Just because it might be a grand idea to put a wind turbine on top of a house, does not mean that the reverse is true.

BadBadger
18th July, 2013 @ 12:28 pm PDT

If they used the apartments as the homes for the , co-op mentality, maintenance crew, instead of the uber-rich ..... I think it has promise.

The noise and vibrations would make it useless as a luxury dwelling, but as free housing with infinite free electric for a mildly trained worker(s), it could totally work.

Pipedog42
18th July, 2013 @ 02:00 pm PDT

I love the idea save one concern - how much EMR would the inhabitants be exposed to? Would living only a few meters from an enormous generator also cause problems for cell reception, wifi, etc?

My understanding is many (all?) turbine towers have an elevator for generator room and turbine access. In the event of a fire, I guess one could set up a hasty rappel? BASE jump? Cool escape pod launcher? How about a slide that spirals it's way down around the tower?

Vince Pack
18th July, 2013 @ 02:00 pm PDT

Aerodynamically It is a stupid place for the apartment. The back side of the tower rotating with the wind would work much better.

For people that don't throw a hissyfit every time something annoys them repetitive sounds cease to bother them. Even things like being under an airports takeoff route.

The big thing is that the wind turbines do not need onsite supervision you can monitor their operations from half way around the world if you wanted to. Once the wind farm gets big enough it is a full time job to do routine maintenance single turbines do not require it.

Given the health risks real and imagined it would be better to have the worker live on a boat.

Slowburn
19th July, 2013 @ 02:29 am PDT

"........ It's a charming idea, but ..... an extremely improbable one. "

How is it improbable? Wind farms are on the rise in size and numbers. The size of each turbine unit is increasing, What do you expect or fore see in terms of surveillance and maintenance of equipment?

The crews will have to posted on long term basis, on lines similar to offshore drilling rigs in oil industry. And hence the need for suitable living-working quarters!

If not at turbine height then at sea level. Which ever is feasible and suitable as per the topography of the site in question!

Er. A.K.Mittal
19th July, 2013 @ 05:28 am PDT

Western Governments will eventually tire of these 'toys', the subsidies will be removed and all wind farms will be abandoned and rapidly fall into disrepair. Do you really want to live on a politicians fantasy?

TedF
19th July, 2013 @ 12:57 pm PDT

Amazing, by literally filling the "eye of the cyclone", you would not ear higher sound level than the constant sea wind. But the sound from adjacent windmill is probably going to make your life very miserable, not to mention the noise and vibrations from gearbox and generator. Also, transport is going to be a problem, especially during storm.

brickandfanal
19th July, 2013 @ 02:39 pm PDT

"...living space doubling as the rotor hub of the turbine."

The hub is the bit in the middle to which the blades are attached. It goes round and round. An apartment tumbling like a clothes dryer would not be very livable. ;-)

The image depicts living on top of the generator housing, a considerably different location than the rotor hub.

That line of the article makes as much sense as recent news articles about cats and dogs surviving long trips in car engines. Not engine compartments, the articles stated in the headline and body that the animals were in the engine.

Gregg Eshelman
20th July, 2013 @ 02:32 pm PDT

I think these people need to get a bit more in touch with the real world. I know this is sacrilege for architects, but... maybe talk to engineers a lil bit more?

This project is so out of touch with the real world in so many ways (engineering, safety, practicality, living quality -both in terms of sound pollution and energy interference with the human system-).

Τριαντάφυλλος Καραγιάννης
21st July, 2013 @ 01:17 pm PDT

why put the living quarters on the top, exposed to high winds, rotor noise etc?

Wouldn't it make sense to put the quarters nearer to the base, just high enough to avoid wave/sea damage?

This would also facilitate a 'crew' being able to move from turbine to turbine in good weather and maintain a group of turbines rather than a single one - more cost effective?

JPAR
22nd July, 2013 @ 03:28 am PDT

Just like in the old days when they had lighthouse keepers, in the future society we could have windmill and other energy device caretakers. The caretakers would receive free room and board for their services of maintaining the unit. The Star Trek fans are familar with the Federation's policy of doing productive work for society. The return is a non-pay and money free society. A society were people look out for each other instead of always trying to kill one another. Having a world order that provides for people by meeting all their requirements in return for fullfilling a task that needs to be done sounds much better than the greedy capitalistic system that we have.

ebastro
22nd July, 2013 @ 08:18 am PDT

Might be better to locate the loft underneath with a view of the ocean floor converted into a marine sanctuary.

Gary Richardson
22nd July, 2013 @ 05:00 pm PDT

The structure sways and there is no plumbing, inclusive with that is that there is no market for luxury dwellings at sea, several forts have been offered for conversion but ended up as B&B hotels after decades of being on the market. The sort of people who can afford a luxury million dollar home at sea spend the money on a yacht, rather than an address they cannot take with them. This is lost on architects looking for a concept to capture the publics imagination, but of course its gets publicity and the design studio is in the headlines so everyone is happy - bar the unpaid builders.

L1ma
23rd July, 2013 @ 08:37 am PDT
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