Floating "CityApps" fitted out in DuPont Corian®
An initiative of the Floating City Apps foundation: the "CityApps", mobile multi-functional units adopting interior wall cladding and furnishing solutions made with DuPont™ Corian® high-tech surface; design by Waterstudio.NL; photos by Floating City Apps foundation; all rights reserved on design and photo.

In the shanty towns of the Third World, there is a great need for providing education. The Floating CityApps foundation has developed a revolutionary concept for this: ‘Floating’ or mobile units which can be fixed at a chosen location, but that can also be easily moved about as desired.

Flexible solution

Everyone knows the principle of apps that are installed on smartphones. The Floating CityApps foundation used this same principle when developing their solution for shanty towns. “Imagine that the shanty town is the hardware,” said Koen Olthuis from Waterstudio.NL, an architects’ bureau that is one of the originators of the project, “then you can add functionality to it: the so-called CityApps. Smart units that act as a classroom or a data centre. And fitted out with all the latest high tech facilities such as tablets and the Internet.”

An initiative of the Floating City Apps foundation: the "CityApps", mobile multi-functional units adopting interior wall cladding and furnishing solutions made with DuPont Corian® high-tech surface; design by Waterstudio.NL; photos by Floating City Apps foundation; all rights reserved on design and photo.

Ready-made units

Shanty towns are often located in areas where there is a lot of water. And because there is often very little space available, the foundation has chosen for a mobile solution: ready-made units that are produced in the Netherlands. They fit exactly in a standard shipping container and are then transported to their destination. After installation, they are immediately operational. The course material is presented on tablets that can be programmed remotely.

Maintenance-free and sustainable

The units must satisfy some strict requirements. First of all, they must require minimal or almost zero routine maintenance and be sustainable. In that case, you automatically choose for DuPont Corian®, according to Koen Olthuis, who is responsible for the design. “The material isn’t porous and so is ideal in wetland situations. And a simple rinsing-off is enough to get dirty surfaces clean again.”

Because DuPont Corian® can be seamlessly crafted into virtually any shape, it is also an ideal solution for the interior. The tablets can be safely secured and properly protected in practical panels. Olthuis: “But it also has to look good. The high quality finish of the CityApps shows that we are taking the inhabitants of the shanty towns seriously and they can now join us in the digital world.”

An initiative of the Floating City Apps foundation: the "CityApps", mobile multi-functional units adopting interior wall cladding and furnishing solutions made with DuPont Corian® high-tech surface; design by Waterstudio.NL; photos by Floating City Apps foundation; all rights reserved on design and photo.

An investment that retains its value

The first CityApps made using DuPont Corian® high-tech surface were placed in a wet slum. “What’s nice is that we aren’t offering the inhabitants money, but a concrete project, for as long as it’s needed,” says Olthuis. “A CityApp isn’t going to change a shanty town, but a few hundred could well make a difference. If, after a while, it appears that there is no longer a need for the CityApps, perhaps because the shanty town has been closed, then the floating units can simply be transported to another region. In this way, the investment retains its value.”

Lease construction

Many businesses sponsor the Floating CityApps foundation. For their part, DuPont, which is very socially responsible, makes the DuPontCorian® panel available for free. However, the Floating CityApps foundation remains business focussed. The flexible classrooms are made available to the local organisations that provide education in shanty towns for a very modest fee. “If you give something away for free, then it has no value,” says Olthuis. “So therefore, we act as a leasing company. We enable local organisations to carry out their educational work more effectively.”

Related Uses & Applications

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