Life at sea — it sounds far away, like a distant lifestyle reserved for Navy seamen, ocean trawlers and submarine captains. But as shorelines recede, populations grow and property-ownership ideas evolve, designers and architects are prompted to re-think how — and where — we live. Many look to the water.
Shaped like domes and flowers, few of these notions of futuristic dwellings will ever go beyond the design stage. However, this doesn’t mean homes that float, submerge or drift on rivers are the stuff of sci-fi.
“Just because a design vision is not built yet, does not limit its potential impact,” says Maria Lorena Lehman, Founder of Sensing Architecture, an online forum for architectural design, science and new technologies. “In fact, by proposing new ways of living, including on the water, architectural design is advanced, and in turn, human life is improved.”
Here are five examples of how people might be living on the water someday:
This open-sea eco houseboat is the brainchild of industrial designer Orhan Cileli. Most houseboats have flat bottoms so they rock heavily if they hit big waves. Pearl's design would be stable and efficient out at sea. In fact, the houseboat was actually inspired by a fishing bobber.
There's more to the Pearl than cool-looking design, though. The four-story house, which has a deck and greenhouse, would make use of alternative energy technologies, including wave and solar energy, to move it around and provide electricity.
WHY Floating Home
With more than 3,000 square feet of living surface and three levels of decking, the WHY concept yacht is designed for living — and entertaining. In part, what distinguishes the design is its emphasis on sustainability (relative to other yachts.) The vessel relies on thermal energy and recycled organic and inorganic waste, ideally resulting in a low impact on the sea. Luxurious and easy on the eye, the minimalist interiors features walls of glass, modern furnishings, an elaborate curved staircase and a tree growing in the center of the living space.
Hyun Seok-Kim designed this quaint floating retreat. Closed, it looks like an egg. Open, its petal-like panels resemble a lotus flower. The interior of Fioriella includes a convertible sofa-bed for day/night relaxing. There's a deck at water level so residents can lounge and view passing scenery. Best of all, the cabin is designed to provide underwater panoramic views. A jet engine and eight nozzles keep the pretty vessel afloat.
House On Water
Designed by Jedrzej Lewandowski of Le 2 Workshop, this floating house features a lower deck and elevated main house. And while it may look completely futuristic, the floating home actually exists. The vessel was conceived as a vacation rental.
The idea was to allow folks on holiday to have the experience of a yacht without navigation or a bumpy ride. Solar panels on the top of the house are among its eco features. It also includes systems to remove salt from the water and has SMART controls allowing for adjustments via a computer.
This floating apartment complex was designed by Koen Olthuis of the Netherlands. Thanks to the use of water-cooling techniques, the multi-family residence will reduce energy consumption by about 25%.
The design is a response to the the ever-encroaching waters in the Netherlands. Rather than fight this in traditional ways, such as with dykes, Olthuis is embracing the environmental changes and designing to adapt, instead. The apartment building will be built on top of a floating concrete caisson foundation and will include 60 luxury apartments, a parkade, and a floating road to get there. Each unit will have its own garden terrace and of course, water view.