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Floating Architecture and conversion of offshore structures: a chronical of Knud E. Hansen designs

Carmelo Cascino & Francesca Arini

Alteration of the physical environment, and the scarcity of land for urban growth in proximity of the coast as well as rising sea levels are endangering the prosperity of entire communities around the world. This, represents some of the major challenges our society will be facing in the near future. However, water can also provide alternative scenarios for human habitability. In this regard, floating structures appear as a realistic solution to adapt to the ongoing transformations. Although, projects on water, from a single building to entire neighborhoods, have increased significantly in the last decade, thanks to technological advancement, visions of water civilizations have been around since approximately 1950, when research in this field was undertaken for military and economic purposes. Therefore, interest in buoyant structures has appeared from time to time. It was during the 80’s that the Danish ship design firm Knud E. Hansen was involved by a visionary entrepreneur in a project of conversion of an offshore platform into a luxury resort. This experience emphasized the multidisciplinary nature of floating structures in a hybrid of naval engineering and civil architecture.

KEYWORDS: Buoyant structures, Naval design· Sustainability, Conversion, Hospitality


Carmelo Cascino, PhD. University of Genoa, Ship Designer. He currently works within the Design Studio Department of Knud E. Hansen in Greece, where he cooperates on various vessel designs and concepts. As and academician, during the last years, he has been involved on researches and projects between Italy, USA, China and Cyprus. In 2013 he achieved his PhD. in ‘Yacht and Sustainable Design’ at the Faculty of Architecture of Genoa University. His research and professional interests cover several topics concerning Environmental Design, land and sea means of transportation, Floating Architecture.


Francesca Arini, Senior Industrial Designer and Project Manager. Francesca graduated in interior design at Polytechnic of Milano and she got her master’s degree in Ship Design. After working in the yacht sector in Italy, she moved to Denmark where she started her collaboration with Knud E. Hansen. She has been involved for the last 15 years on projects such as RoRax vessels, Yachts, Cruise, Explorer and Container vessels both as Designer and Project Manager for interior and exterior design. Francesca took part on the refurbishment and refitting of the DFDS Ropax Berlioz and Rodin in 2015, as interior designer on board. Also, Francesca was involved in the design work for the refurbishment of C-Bed/Wind Solution in 2014, as many other concepts, tender and basic designs of various vessels. Francesca is currently leading the Design Studio department of Knud E. Hansen. 

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