Proposal/ manual for


MICROISLAND interior, computerized 3D model, 2008


MICROISLAND is an autonomous floating Island. It provides a peaceful habitat for persons, animals and plants.
MICROISLAND is a low cost geodesic structure using minimal amount of material to create a maximum of enclosed space. MICROISLAND has got its own climate. Sunshine, wind and rain are supplied inside the climate shell along with an occasional rainbow. It generates energy using solar panels mounted on the outside surface and stores it in a battery bank. The energy is used to control the climate through an automatic system. A customized starry sky and an artificial moon can be seen at night inside the structure.
The landscape inside MICROISLAND can be shaped in numerous ways according to the surrounding climate and specific wishes of the persons building it. It can easily be insulated if the temperature inside is preferred to differ substantially from the outside. Dwelling quarters can be built inside the climate shell using any technique from bamboo huts to brick houses.
MICROISLAND is not planned to be an isolated biological system but is dependent on a constant exchange with the surrounding world.
MICROISLAND can be moored on lakes or rivers as well as at open sea. Sea currents and kites can be used for moving the MICROIS-LAND or it can easily be tugged.
Groups of MICROISLANDS could form MICROISLAND communities.

Most of the surface of our planet is covered by water. Attractive land territories are often overpopulated by humans to the extent that natural habitats for animals and plants are disappearing rapidly. Vast areas are used for food production based on monoculture farming and animals are considered to be pests. Wars over territories are common in many areas of the planet. Global warming will lead to flooding of areas where millions live.
It is a realistic alternative to land based living, to begin colonizing water areas and to find ways to live from the natural resources found here in a sustainable way. Efficient windmills and solar panels could already supply ecologically sound energy for living on the water in this way.
Using intensive farming technologies like hydroponics, vegetables and fruit could be produced using small areas. Floating fish farms could supply substantial amounts of fresh fish. The surface of the construction is highly suitable for collecting freshwater. Compost toilets could help recycling faeces as fertilizer.
MICROISLAND could be one way of forming water based communities, living on the waters of the planet.
The MICROISLAND prototype will be a 5 meters in diameter version realized in collaboration with Public Art Wales on behalf of Cardiff County Council´s Harbour Authority. It will be situated within the Barrage estate. There will be public access to MICROISLAND and it will be visible for bypassers as well. Information about MICROISLAND will be dispensed at information points along the pedestrian walkway.


The main construction is made from 180 steel triangles, 4mm thick, welded together. Its based on a 3 frequency version of the platonic shape Icosahedron. Two sets of different triangles mounted together constitute an approximation to a sphere to provide strength using a minimum of material to enclose a maximum of space. The surface has been sandblasted and covered with 5 layers of epoxy paint for protection against corrosion.
Submerged parts of the structure have been equipped with zinc anodes (sea water conditions, magnesium for fresh water) to protect against galvanic corrosion. Furthermore anti fouling paint has been applied. Three strong points have been applied to the construction for mooring purposes. The mooring consists of three Bruce Anchors and heavy chains to damp the movements of the MICROISLAND in high wave conditions.
Doors and windows in the construction are placed in a window frame shaped as steel tubes and are inserted into the structure to provide sufficient strength and compensate for the weakening of the main structure that occurs when the structure is penetrated. The transparent material is UV light- protected polycarbonate.
In order to create stability, a ballast of concrete is applied to the MICROISLAND. In the centre of this sits a reservoir where condensed water from the steel walls etc is collected and pumped out or used as water for the inside lakes and rain for the climate features of the construction. The soil applied to the island is mixed with a light weight material in order to secure sufficient supply of oxygen to the plant roots. A system of LED diodes forms a sun in daytime and stars and moon at night. Standard greenhouse equipment (sprinklers, fans etc) is used to make rain and wind.
A battery bank is mounted in a space in the concrete along with a control panel and computer for weather regulation. Parts of the outside of the structure are covered in customized solar panels.
The MICROISLAND can easily be scaled up and down according to the specific situation it is constructed for. Up to a point where each triangle can no longer be handled by one person only, lifting equipment is not necessary. This means that one person can build the MICROISLAND practically anywhere.
Because of the outstanding aerodynamics of MICROISLAND the wind resistance is only about half of that of a similar orthogonal construction. This has a positive impact both on the mooring technique and on insulation issues.



As mentioned above, food producing systems, water-collecting systems, sewage handling systems etc could easily be applied. One could also imagine specialized islands dedicated to energy production, food production and so fort. Underwater wings to provide extra stability in rough waters could also be applied.
MICROISLAND can also be designed as a floating house, using all the space inside for dwelling purposes only. This specific version of MICROISLAND is called GEOSHELTER and will be described in detail in a later manual.

Government on MICROISLANDS:

Attention is directed to the logical relation between persons and the rights of persons. Persons should be treated as persons and therefore as having rights. If we deny this assertion it goes wrong: here is a person, but this person should not be treated as a person, or: here is a person, who should be treated as a person, but not as having rights. Therefore we can only talk about persons in a way that makes sense if we know that persons have rights.

Health and safety issues:

Depending on the size of the MICROISLAND, it can only support a specific number of persons at a given time. A controlled capsizing test will be performed, but calculations show that a 5 meter version of MICROISLAND with a 10 tons ballast will allow a minimum of 10 persons to walk around freely without any significant inclination of the island to occur. Capsizing would require an absurd number of persons standing on top of each other.

With the proper mooring MICROISLAND will be able to withstand a

The MICROISLAND is equipped with a bilge pump and an alarm if a leak should occur.

The construction function as a Faradays cage and will protect any visitors from the effects of lightening

Man overboard situations:
Rescue equipment will be available at the entrance of MICROISLAND

Fire hazards:
The amount of flammable material inside the prototype will not lead to a structural breakdown of the structure in case of fire. However, persons inside the room would have to be evacuated in case of fire.
Evacuation can take place through the door or one of the four windows.
Fire extinguishers will be available inside the structure.


Depending on the salinity of the waters and the electrical activity in the MICROISLAND, the anodes will have to be changed from time to time. This is a standard procedure for commercial divers. Alternatively the MICROISLAND can be hauled to a shore, careened and the anodes changed. This method can also be used for maintaining the epoxy paint. Experience shows that a new layer should be applied every 10-20 years.
The garden inside the prototype needs an occasional hand. If this is a problem an artificial garden could be constructed.
However it will be possible to automate most of the systems by using standard greenhouse equipment.
Safety equipment inside the prototype will have to be maintained and controlled by the authorities.

Technical specifications for the 5 meter MICROISLAND:

Radius 2.5 meters:

Assembly diagram:

Basic module:
Steel type: 4mm standard plates DS EN 235 J2 G3, laser or plasma cut.
Diameter: 5 meter
Surface area of Dome: 76 m2
Enclosed space: 65 m3
Main steel construction weight: 2427 kg
Ballast weight 10000 kg ( will be adjusted according to waterline)
Ballast material: Concrete or stones (dredged pebbles placed in a cellular structure), batteries and soil, some of it movable, for adjusting the waterline
Inside area at waterline: 15 m2
Draught: 1.5 meter
Assembly: Welded by certified welder. Can be constructed on site or at a ships wharf
Anti corrosion system: Sandblasting and Epoxy paint. Magnesium anodes, 5 kg distance between them: 2 meters
Mooring requirements:
At a maximum windload of 200 kg pr m2 one specific chain and anchor should hold 2000 kg
Stability:For small angles:

Component list:

Triangle AAB: 60
Triangle BCC: 120
Window frames: 5
Windows: 4
Door: 1
Ladders made from steel tubes and welded onto the surface
Three strong points made from 10 mm steel plate welded to the construction
Steel chain
Three Bruce anchors
Solar panels
LED lights
Bilge Pumps
Leak alarm
Weather computer
Light sensors
Lightweight material used to cultivate soil
Fire extinguishers
Life jackets

By N55/ Ion Sørvin and Øjvind Alexander Slaatto.

Technical assistance: 3D modeling, Peter Balch Berthelsen, Designer
Advice on welding techniques: Peter Madsen
Stability calculations: Christian Ravn, Engineer.

By N55, Ion Sørvin, Øivind Alexander Slaatto

Thanks to I

Dedicated to Ingvil Hareide Aarbakke, Co-founder of N55

WALKING HOUSE has been realized with support from:

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