Experts predict that climate change will cause sea levels to rise 3 ft (0.9m) or more by 2100, putting hundreds of low-lying cities at risk of massive and permanent flooding. More and more frequently architecture is adapting to nature in order to overcome the upcoming climate conditions. Some weeks ago I published an article about amazingly built tree houses and now it’s time to talk about floating houses.
Despite the fact that housing technology has improved in the past years, the majority of floating homes use traditional materials such as wood and basic hydrostatic methods. Sustainability is a big issue, but no different from built houses on the ground. The objective is to leave no footprint in the environment.
These houses have a different approach to their concept but all of them are built. Some of them emphasize the views, others the light, comfort and amount of space. We all agree that they have to be sustainable and that they need to be adaptable. And cheap? Do you think these designs are affordable?
What are the most important things you look for in a house? Would you like living in one of these?
1. Houseboat On The Eilbek Canal
Location: Hamburg (Germany)
Architect: Sprenger Von Der Lippe
Description: This is one of many houses being constructed in the Eilbek Canal. Making use of the natural surroundings, the abode capitalizes on the nearby vegetation to augment the build-out with a degree of privacy and introversion. the floor at the water’s surface contains the private bedrooms, offering privacy with the inherent landforms along with a living room which overlooks the gently rippling water. Read more here.
2. The Island Home
Location: Ontario (Canada)
Description: This project intersects a vernacular house typology with the site-specific conditions of this unique place: an island on Lake Huron. The location on the Great Lakes imposed complexities to the house’s fabrication and construction, as well as its relationship to site. Annual cyclical change related to the change of seasons, compounded with escalating global environmental trends, cause Lake Huron’s water levels to vary drastically from month-to-month, year-to-year. To adapt to this constant, dynamic change, the house floats atop a structure of steel pontoons, allowing it to fluctuate along with the lake. Read more here.
3. The Egg Home
Location: Exbury (England)
Architect: PAD Studio Architects
Description: Working with renowned artist Stephen Turner, PAD identified the unusual site in an exploration up the Beaulieu River one winter February morning. ‘The Egg’ was designed to accommodate the artist’s residency period of up to 12 months. Stephen Turner’s work is concerned with aspects of time and the dialectics of transience and permanence. His work often involves spending long periods in odd, abandoned places, noting changes in the complex relationship between nature and the man-made. Read more here.
4. 75 Floating Houses
Location: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Architect: Architectenbureau Marlies Rohmer
Description: Canals with houseboats are of course a familiar sight in Dutch cities and one may find the occasional floating hotel or restaurant. But these are always individual units and bear more resemblance to boats than to houses. Besides floating homes, they may include amphibious homes and homes that stand free of the water on mounds, dykes or other waterside situations. Read more here.
5. The FLOAT House
Location: New Orleans (USA)
Architect: Morphosis Architects
Description: The FLOAT House is a new kind of house: a house that can sustain its own water and power needs; a house that can survive the floodwaters generated by a storm the size of Hurricane Katrina; and perhaps most importantly, a house that can be manufactured cheaply enough to function as low-income housing. To protect from flooding, the FLOAT House can rise vertically on guide posts, securely floating up to twelve feet as water levels rise. Read more here.
6. The Bamboo Home
Location: Hanoi (Vietnam)
Architect: H&P Architects
Description: From the bamboo module of f8-f10cm & f4-f5cm diameter and 3.3m or 6.6 length, each house is simply assembled with bolting, binding, hanging, placing… This pulled monolithic architecture is strong enough to suffer from phenomena like 1.5m-high flood. Currently, H&P Architects is experimenting the model to suffer 3m-high flood. The space is multifuntional such as House, Educational, Medical and Community Center and can be spreaded if necessary. The users can build the house by themselves in 25 days! Read more here.
7. Makoko Floating School
Location: Lagos (Nigeria)
Architect: NLE Architects
Description: The coastal community of Makoko, a slum neighborhood, off the Lagos Lagoon in Lagos, Nigeria, is receiving an upgrade to its current solution, which is building homes supported on stilts within the lagoon’s waters. NLE Architects, with sponsoring from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Heinrich Boell Foundation from Germany, designed the Makoko Floating School, phase one of a three-phase development that will become a floating community of interlocked and floating residences. Although the homes aren’t built yet, this is the beginning of a new architectural era in Nigeria. Read more here.
8. Water Villa Omval
Location: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Architect: +31 Architects
Description: The design is that of a boat with an open floor plan. This allows the users to enjoy the views to the water and the outdoor space to a maximum. The distinguished curved line of the facade directly derives from this desire and the restriction that the boat couldn’t be more than three meters above the water. Following on from the living area and kitchen the bedroom is located on a split level. The split level introduces an open route to the ground floor of the boat and, at the same time, makes it possible to create a terrace on the south side without exceeding the maximum building height. Read more here.
9. The Manta Resort Underwater Hotel Room
Location: Pemba Island (Tanzania)
Architect: Genberg Underwater Hotels
Description: Pemba Island has been separated from the mainland of Tanzania and Zanzibar for decades, leaving an untouched and pristine island of great beauty and fertility. The floating structure, Swedish engineered, provides three levels, those above the water clad in local hardwood, and each an experience in itself. A ladder leads up to the roof which has a lounging area – for sun worshipping by day and by night you can lie back in the starlight and admire the clarity of the stars all seen without any light pollution. Would you spend a night in this hotel? Read more here.
If you are interested in water and architecture I recommend “Building with Water” by Zoe Ryan.
Some of these are really cozy :)) Any favourite on the list?
The exterior of nr 2 is amazing. But on the inside naah, not so much. I think I like number five most tbh.
Which is your favourite? 🙂
Yes, I agree that the exterior on #2 it’s pretty impressive. However, my favourites are #4 and #5 they are the most realistic, most sustainable and more affordable. I really dislike #9, don’t you?
Thanks for asking 🙂
I agree. I think I would turn into a claustrophobic if I was in a room underwater.
Intriguing ideas and very important ones too. Our homes need to be far more responsive to changing environmental conditions. I like the Dutch homes and the ones built in New Orleans.
I agree with you and can’t believe new houses are still being built out of cardboard, especially in the US. Cheap materials are expensive in the long term.
Dutch homes are probably the most realistic, they have been developing floating homes since a very long time and communities have proven that it works. Very interesting urban ideas already put into practice. And the New Orleans ones are the most innovative in my opinion. They try to keep the distribution and the local materials available, while being adaptable and affordable, which is important too.
If you had to buy a new house, which would be the most important factors to you?
Warmth, energy efficient, easy to clean (usually overlooked!), and with accessible features so that I can grow old in my home.
“Easy to clean” very very important and I would say always overlooked, even from the architect’s point of view.
Thanks for your insight!
I dream about that house!
I love the egg house…super idea
Love that one too! Did you know that artist Stephen Turner spent there up to 1 year creating stuff? I think I could do that, could you? I think many interesting things could come up 🙂
Yes, I could….but it should be a nice place also :-)…. And I think to live in a house like this everybody would be more imaginative.
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Some of them are really amazing ! I love the concept
Hope it gets implemented some time soon 🙂
If you had to live in one of these, which would it be?
I love the ones full of windows, but I’m very sensitive to light when I’m sleeping, so I think it’s safer to go for the egg house ! 🙂
hehe I can only sleep in the dark too and that’s why (among other reasons) why I would like living in the Egg House!
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In the right climate I would like #6. Keep it simple. Thanks for compiling these homes and sharing them, Virginia!
#6 has proven to be easy to build and scalable, which is very convenient. I wouldn’t mind living there either. Thanks for stopping by and being part of the conversation 🙂
Por fin vuelvo a tener tiempo para leer tu blog. 🙂 ¡Muy interesante! Me encanta ver que hay proyectos muy recientes y oye, en ciudades aquí al lado,
Hola Marta, qué bien tenerte de vuelta. Sí, hay unos cuantos en Europa aunque para serte sincera yo no sé si viviría en el agua en ciudades en las que hace tantísimo frío. No debe de aislar mucho y si se congela, los materiales deben sufrir. Si tuvieras que elegir una, ¿En cuál vivirías?
Thanks a lot for sharing!, best wishes, Aquileana 😀
Thanks for stopping by Aquileana. Would you like living in any of these?
wow, some seriously awesome homes!! i love seeing these, thanks for sharing them.
Thanks for your kind words Mara! Any favorites on the list?
Great photos and summary of floating house technology Virginia. I’ve seen a couple of these before, and they’re all interesting ideas. I could definitely live in a floating house, but these days Terri and I are more about small, efficient spaces and clever designs to make every square inch useful. Fit that in a floating house, and I’m on board…literally. And BTW, we live on a small barrier island on the coast of Georgia. Hopefully, the rise in sea level won’t make our condo a floating house. ~James
Glad to hear that you’re into efficiency and smart use of space. Which of these do you think it would fit your needs best? I hope climate change doesn’t go that fast either hehehe
Unique architect ,those pictures are amazing.in the 1980’s beside teaching Arabic ,l worked as a mechanical draftsman in Chicago .l appreciate your wonderful work.Best regards.Jalal
What a great selection of homes by the water! My favorite is the Water Villa Omval — it gives a stark contrast between the metropolis in the background and the organic vibe of the house 🙂 – Lena
Hello Lena, thanks for bringing your insight! I think the Omval Villa is a very bold design given its environment as you say. At night views from this house must be amazing that’s for sure 🙂
Wow . . . but I wonder how they are during bad storms.
Only one house mentions storms, but it does not look sturdy enough to survive the winds, even if it survives the flooding.
I bet they stand bad storms. Wind and storms are just the basics of a house design. Although they look like “floating” they are attached to a solid foundation. The materials and thickness of the walls are given by the wind loads (every country has its own conditions and requirements) so I presume all of these took that into account 😉
Would you like living in any of these?
Looks indeed like amazing homes. I could live in anyone of these. As somebody else said, it’s an intriguing idea.
Hello Otto! I wonder if future houses would look like this or if we would build up the mountains (if sea level continues to rise). If you had to buy a new house, which would be the most important factors to you?
Space and intriguing design. And then it had to be at the sea – with close access to mountains. 🙂
Interesting thoughts, especially the sea and mountain conditions! Thanks for bringing your insight 🙂
These are so amazingly cool
Glad you liked them! Any homes you’d like to live in?
So creative when we have to be! The Netherlands seem to be leading the field in floating houses but if anyone has a vested interest then they do. I’d live in most of those, Virginia 🙂
Jo, glad to see you again 🙂 The Netherlands is so ahead of everyone in terms of floating architecture! I wouldn’t live in the last one for example!
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I’ve been wondering for *years* why American homes built on floodplains or in high-probability storm areas haven’t had strict building codes that required any new builds or reno/repair projects over a certain percentage on existing buildings to be on pontoons, stilts, or other high-raised or flotation designs as preventive or protective measures. So I’m most enamored of the NOLA build here!! 😀
Hello Kathryn! I’ve always wondered the same. It’s sad to see the construction business nowadays. However, it’s changing, in global terms too. Materials are getting cheaper and people are able to construct solid homes. The New Orleans design is just the beginning of a new architectural era 😀 It’s one of the best designs in my opinion! Thanks for stopping by,
Tremendously awesome..!!! 🙂
Would you like living in any of these?
Oh I really would….
All of them are aesthetically beautiful and homely I would say..!! 🙂
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