Architecture

Gallery: Making a splash – the best floating homes

Gallery: Making a splash – the...
The Exbury Egg is a floating off-grid workspace and home made in the UK
The Exbury Egg is a floating off-grid workspace and home made in the UK
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Danish architecture firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has designed a  low-cost student housing made from floating shipping containers called Urban Rigger
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Danish architecture firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has designed a  low-cost student housing made from floating shipping containers called Urban Rigger
BIG's Urban Rigger is a sustainable floating housing prototype for Copenhagen students
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BIG's Urban Rigger is a sustainable floating housing prototype for Copenhagen students
The Copenhagen Urban Rigger project comprises nine recycled shipping containers arranged on a floating base in the city's harbor
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The Copenhagen Urban Rigger project comprises nine recycled shipping containers arranged on a floating base in the city's harbor
Inside, Urban Rigger's apartments look spacious, light-filled, and really quite attractive
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Inside, Urban Rigger's apartments look spacious, light-filled, and really quite attractive
Urban Rigger is powered by a roof-based solar array 
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Urban Rigger is powered by a roof-based solar array 
Urban Rigger includes a communal roof terrace and a basement level with 12 storage rooms, laundry room, and technical room
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Urban Rigger includes a communal roof terrace and a basement level with 12 storage rooms, laundry room, and technical room
To address the shipping containers' lack of insulation, BIG lined the Urban Rigger containers with what it says is a highly-insulating aerogel developed by NASA
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To address the shipping containers' lack of insulation, BIG lined the Urban Rigger containers with what it says is a highly-insulating aerogel developed by NASA
Monthly rent at Urban Rigger works out at the equivalent of US$600
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Monthly rent at Urban Rigger works out at the equivalent of US$600
Urban Rigger features a heat exchanger system that uses the seawater the homes float upon to efficiently heat and cool their interiors
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Urban Rigger features a heat exchanger system that uses the seawater the homes float upon to efficiently heat and cool their interiors
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Urban Rigger is that BIG hopes to roll out the idea elsewhere. A unit is planned for Sweden and there's also talk about it being used to house refugees
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Perhaps the most exciting thing about Urban Rigger is that BIG hopes to roll out the idea elsewhere. A unit is planned for Sweden and there's also talk about it being used to house refugees
The Waterlovt is marketed towards ultra-wealthy Dubai playboys and aims to offer a luxury apartment on the water
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The Waterlovt is marketed towards ultra-wealthy Dubai playboys and aims to offer a luxury apartment on the water
The Waterlovt is still in the design stage and not available for purchase
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The Waterlovt is still in the design stage and not available for purchase
The Waterlovt is based on a barge and is towed into position 
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The Waterlovt is based on a barge and is towed into position 
The largest Waterlovt model measures 26.8 x 8.9 m (88 x 29 ft)
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The largest Waterlovt model measures 26.8 x 8.9 m (88 x 29 ft)
The Waterlovt can run off-the-grid. The idea with these kind of models is not so much to live sustainably, but to offer owners true freedom
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The Waterlovt can run off-the-grid. The idea with these kind of models is not so much to live sustainably, but to offer owners true freedom
The Waterlovt features desalination tech to process seawater into drinking water
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The Waterlovt features desalination tech to process seawater into drinking water
The Waterlovt's off-grid tech includes a solar power system with battery packs and a stand-by generator
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The Waterlovt's off-grid tech includes a solar power system with battery packs and a stand-by generator
The largest Waterlovt model has 240 sq m (2,583 sq ft) of floorspace
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The largest Waterlovt model has 240 sq m (2,583 sq ft) of floorspace
This floating home is, appropriately, called Sting Ray, and is designed by Boston, MA-based architecture firm Schopfer Associates
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This floating home is, appropriately, called Sting Ray, and is designed by Boston, MA-based architecture firm Schopfer Associates
The Sting Ray is no minnow and total floorspace comes in at around 9,000 sq ft (836 sq m)
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The Sting Ray is no minnow and total floorspace comes in at around 9,000 sq ft (836 sq m)
The Sting Ray is connected to the land with a long driveway
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The Sting Ray is connected to the land with a long driveway
The Sting Ray has no motor so would be moved to its location by tug
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The Sting Ray has no motor so would be moved to its location by tug
We've no word on the price for the Sting Ray, but it's probably one of those times that if you have to ask, then you can't afford it
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We've no word on the price for the Sting Ray, but it's probably one of those times that if you have to ask, then you can't afford it
The Sting Ray floats on a composite foam concrete base
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The Sting Ray floats on a composite foam concrete base
The Sting Ray features a courtyard and two-car garage, in addition to an infinity pool, hot tub, fire pit, and a dock for speedboats
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The Sting Ray features a courtyard and two-car garage, in addition to an infinity pool, hot tub, fire pit, and a dock for speedboats
The Sting Ray includes a large lounge, kitchen, and dining area, while a winding staircase leads upstairs to three bedrooms
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The Sting Ray includes a large lounge, kitchen, and dining area, while a winding staircase leads upstairs to three bedrooms
The Sting Ray's upstairs is arranged around a rotunda, with bathrooms and dressing rooms flanking the master bedroom's foyer
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The Sting Ray's upstairs is arranged around a rotunda, with bathrooms and dressing rooms flanking the master bedroom's foyer
The Sting Ray gets power from land-based hookups and solar panels
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The Sting Ray gets power from land-based hookups and solar panels
A cabin by the lake is pretty appealing, but how about a cabin on the lake? That's the idea behind Russia's BIO Architects' DD16
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A cabin by the lake is pretty appealing, but how about a cabin on the lake? That's the idea behind Russia's BIO Architects' DD16
The DD16 sits on pontoons which allow it to float and can be helicoptered or craned into position. It can also be installed on dry land
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The DD16 sits on pontoons which allow it to float and can be helicoptered or craned into position. It can also be installed on dry land
Access to the DD16 is currently gained by rowing a small boat across a lake near Moscow
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Access to the DD16 is currently gained by rowing a small boat across a lake near Moscow
The DD16 is currently being used as a rental unit while it undergoes further testing
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The DD16 is currently being used as a rental unit while it undergoes further testing
The DD16's dining area
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The DD16's dining area
The DD16's bedroom
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The DD16's bedroom
UFO sightings could soon become a lot more common if Italian mini-yacht company Jet Capsule gets its way – Unidentified Floating Objects, that is
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UFO sightings could soon become a lot more common if Italian mini-yacht company Jet Capsule gets its way – Unidentified Floating Objects, that is
The UFO 2.0 is essentially a flying saucer-shaped houseboat made from carbon fiber and fiberglass, that allows you to sleep with the fishes, literally, with a bedroom that's submerged underwater
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The UFO 2.0 is essentially a flying saucer-shaped houseboat made from carbon fiber and fiberglass, that allows you to sleep with the fishes, literally, with a bedroom that's submerged underwater
The UFO 2.0 measures 20 m (65 ft) in diameter
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The UFO 2.0 measures 20 m (65 ft) in diameter
The UFO 2.0 has three levels
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The UFO 2.0 has three levels
Jet Capsule envisions the UFO 2.0 being delivered by helicopter when it eventually comes to market (the firm hopes it'll be available sometime in 2018)
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Jet Capsule envisions the UFO 2.0 being delivered by helicopter when it eventually comes to market (the firm hopes it'll be available sometime in 2018)
The UFO 2.0 has twin engines, producing a maximum speed of up to 9 knots ( 16 km/h or 10 mph)
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The UFO 2.0 has twin engines, producing a maximum speed of up to 9 knots ( 16 km/h or 10 mph)
The UFO 2.0 gets electricity from a combination of solar panels, wind power, and the firm said that a water turbine could also be used
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The UFO 2.0 gets electricity from a combination of solar panels, wind power, and the firm said that a water turbine could also be used
The UFO 2.0's energy sources would be connected to a 16 battery array
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The UFO 2.0's energy sources would be connected to a 16 battery array
Aside from luxury homes and hotels, the UFO 2.0 could be used as a gym or floating restaurant
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Aside from luxury homes and hotels, the UFO 2.0 could be used as a gym or floating restaurant
The UFO 2.0 has three levels. The first floor includes kitchen and bathroom, while upstairs lies a hot tub, a desk and seating, and the controls to maneuver it
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The UFO 2.0 has three levels. The first floor includes kitchen and bathroom, while upstairs lies a hot tub, a desk and seating, and the controls to maneuver it
The UFO 2.0's underwater bedroom and bathroom
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The UFO 2.0's underwater bedroom and bathroom
The UFO 2.0's underwater bedroom and bathroom
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The UFO 2.0's underwater bedroom and bathroom
Imagine waking up to a different view every day. That's what Florida-based company Arkup imagines with its off-grid luxury floating house
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Imagine waking up to a different view every day. That's what Florida-based company Arkup imagines with its off-grid luxury floating house
Alas, Arkup's floating house is still very much a concept at present
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Alas, Arkup's floating house is still very much a concept at present
Arkup's floating house has a built-in communications suite with 4G, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi and VHF radio
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Arkup's floating house has a built-in communications suite with 4G, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi and VHF radio
We've no word on expected price for Arkup's floating house, but it's a safe bet that only the ultra-rich will be able to afford it
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We've no word on expected price for Arkup's floating house, but it's a safe bet that only the ultra-rich will be able to afford it
Twin 136-horsepower electric azimuth thrusters rotate Arkup's floating house 360 degrees to maneuver the house/vessel at a sedate 7 knots
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Twin 136-horsepower electric azimuth thrusters rotate Arkup's floating house 360 degrees to maneuver the house/vessel at a sedate 7 knots
Arkup reports that its floating house could withstand a category 4 hurricane
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Arkup reports that its floating house could withstand a category 4 hurricane
It'll be interesting to see if Arkup's floating house makes it to market
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It'll be interesting to see if Arkup's floating house makes it to market
Arkup's floating house has hydraulic legs which are capable of stabilizing it and lifting it out of the water
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Arkup's floating house has hydraulic legs which are capable of stabilizing it and lifting it out of the water
Arkup's floating house gets all its electricity from solar power
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Arkup's floating house gets all its electricity from solar power
Baca Architects has come up with an ingenious solution to flooding. Its "amphibious house," named Formosa, is designed to float if the floodwater rises
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Baca Architects has come up with an ingenious solution to flooding. Its "amphibious house," named Formosa, is designed to float if the floodwater rises
Formosa is located just 10 m (33 ft) from the River Thames in Buckinghamshire, UK
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Formosa is located just 10 m (33 ft) from the River Thames in Buckinghamshire, UK
Formosa was granted planning permission in 2012, and is now complete. The home is designed to rise by up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in the event of a flood
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Formosa was granted planning permission in 2012, and is now complete. The home is designed to rise by up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in the event of a flood
Formosa is set into a wet dock with retaining walls and a base slab. Four vertical posts, or "dolphins," are used to guide the house upwards in a stable manner when the water level rises
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Formosa is set into a wet dock with retaining walls and a base slab. Four vertical posts, or "dolphins," are used to guide the house upwards in a stable manner when the water level rises
The structure itself is designed with a concrete base and enough ballast to further ensure stability of Formosa
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The structure itself is designed with a concrete base and enough ballast to further ensure stability of Formosa
Interestingly, Formosa's facilities use flexible pipes so that everything should remain operational both during and after any flood
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Interestingly, Formosa's facilities use flexible pipes so that everything should remain operational both during and after any flood
"Options for the site included either a floating or an elevated property," explains Formosa's creators. "A floating property would be in the river course, which was not allowed by the Environment Agency at this location."
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"Options for the site included either a floating or an elevated property," explains Formosa's creators. "A floating property would be in the river course, which was not allowed by the Environment Agency at this location."
If Formosa was elevated it could avoid an extreme flood but this was deemed an imperfect solution as it would remove the home from the garden
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If Formosa was elevated it could avoid an extreme flood but this was deemed an imperfect solution as it would remove the home from the garden
In addition to its ability to float, Formosa is highly insulated and incorporates a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery System
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In addition to its ability to float, Formosa is highly insulated and incorporates a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery System
Formosa is designed to rise by up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in the event of a flood
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Formosa is designed to rise by up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in the event of a flood
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has two underwater bedrooms and is priced at AED 12 million (roughly US$3.3 million)
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has two underwater bedrooms and is priced at AED 12 million (roughly US$3.3 million)
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is developed by the Kleindienst Group and designed, engineered and built in the United Arab Emirates
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is developed by the Kleindienst Group and designed, engineered and built in the United Arab Emirates
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has two submerged bedrooms, letting owners check out the marine life
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has two submerged bedrooms, letting owners check out the marine life
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has a floor space of 4,004-sq ft (372-sq m)
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has a floor space of 4,004-sq ft (372-sq m)
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition was conceived especially for groups and families with guests
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition was conceived especially for groups and families with guests
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is spread across three levels – a sea level, an upper deck and a lower, submerged level
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is spread across three levels – a sea level, an upper deck and a lower, submerged level
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has four sleeping areas, which can accommodate up to eight adults and eight children in total, and can be adapted for use as living spaces during the day
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has four sleeping areas, which can accommodate up to eight adults and eight children in total, and can be adapted for use as living spaces during the day
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has an upper bedroom (the "Sky Bedroom") and what Kleindienst calls a Sky Majlis, Majlis being an Arabic term for a place to sit or commune
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition has an upper bedroom (the "Sky Bedroom") and what Kleindienst calls a Sky Majlis, Majlis being an Arabic term for a place to sit or commune
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is priced at AED 12 million (US$3.3 million)
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The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is priced at AED 12 million (US$3.3 million)
UK-based Bluefield Houseboats aims to offer the kind of living experience you'd usually expect from a nice house or apartment, but on the water
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UK-based Bluefield Houseboats aims to offer the kind of living experience you'd usually expect from a nice house or apartment, but on the water
Bluefield Houseboats uses prefabricated construction, energy-efficient design, and home automation technology in its houseboats
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Bluefield Houseboats uses prefabricated construction, energy-efficient design, and home automation technology in its houseboats
The houseboat pictured is Bluefield Houseboats' debut model. It's a single-story home with a total floorspace of 500 sq ft (46.5 sq m)
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The houseboat pictured is Bluefield Houseboats' debut model. It's a single-story home with a total floorspace of 500 sq ft (46.5 sq m)
Bluefield Houseboats' interior looks quite roomy and light filled thanks to the generous glazing, and shared spaces include a lounge, dining room, and a kitchen
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Bluefield Houseboats' interior looks quite roomy and light filled thanks to the generous glazing, and shared spaces include a lounge, dining room, and a kitchen
Elsewhere in the Bluefield Houseboats home lies a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, plus a second bedroom and a bathroom
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Elsewhere in the Bluefield Houseboats home lies a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, plus a second bedroom and a bathroom
 The entire roof of this Bluefield Houseboats home is available for use as terrace space and is accessed by a staircase on the exterior 
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 The entire roof of this Bluefield Houseboats home is available for use as terrace space and is accessed by a staircase on the exterior 
Bluefield Houseboats says that its houseboats are well-insulated and relatively air-tight, which means that they should be energy-efficient to run
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Bluefield Houseboats says that its houseboats are well-insulated and relatively air-tight, which means that they should be energy-efficient to run
The Exbury Egg is a floating off-grid workspace and home made in the UK
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The Exbury Egg is a floating off-grid workspace and home made in the UK
The Exbury Egg was conceived by artist Stephen Turner, and created with the help of both Perring Architecture and Design, and SPUD design studio
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The Exbury Egg was conceived by artist Stephen Turner, and created with the help of both Perring Architecture and Design, and SPUD design studio
The shape of Exbury Egg was inspired by the nesting seabirds local to the Beaulieu River, England
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The shape of Exbury Egg was inspired by the nesting seabirds local to the Beaulieu River, England
The Exbury Egg's interior includes a desk, hammock, and kitchen, with paraffin stove and sink
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The Exbury Egg's interior includes a desk, hammock, and kitchen, with paraffin stove and sink
The Exbury Egg served as artist Stephen Turner's floating home and workplace for an entire year
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The Exbury Egg served as artist Stephen Turner's floating home and workplace for an entire year
The Exbury Egg has no electricity or running water on-board, so the occupant relies on solar chargers and water bottles
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The Exbury Egg has no electricity or running water on-board, so the occupant relies on solar chargers and water bottles
The Exbury Egg's construction was entrusted to local boat-builder Paul Baker, who used reclaimed cedar, and locally-sourced Douglas Fir to produce a buoyant, waterproof structure measuring roughly 6 x 2.8 m (20 x 10 ft)
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The Exbury Egg's construction was entrusted to local boat-builder Paul Baker, who used reclaimed cedar, and locally-sourced Douglas Fir to produce a buoyant, waterproof structure measuring roughly 6 x 2.8 m (20 x 10 ft)

With concerns about rising sea levels and attractive land always in demand, there's something to be said for a house that floats on water. With this in mind, we highlight the best examples of floating homes we've seen so far – from a classic prefabricated houseboat to luxury models for the ultra-rich. And a floating egg.

While there's nothing new about living on the water, some architects reckon the practice should be more widespread. High-profile firm BIG offers floating student housing in Copenhagen with its Urban Rigger project, which is made up of shipping containers arranged on a floating base. More units are planned for Sweden, too.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Urban Rigger is that BIG hopes to roll out the idea elsewhere. A unit is planned for Sweden and there's also talk about it being used to house refugees
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Urban Rigger is that BIG hopes to roll out the idea elsewhere. A unit is planned for Sweden and there's also talk about it being used to house refugees

Another interesting approach comes by way of Baca Architects and its amphibious home, the Formosa. The Formosa is located next to a river on a floodplain in England. Most of the time, it looks and behaves like a standard home, however when the floodwater rises, it floats in place, preventing it from being flooded.

Baca Architects has come up with an ingenious solution to flooding. Its "amphibious house," named Formosa, is designed to float if the floodwater rises
Baca Architects has come up with an ingenious solution to flooding. Its "amphibious house," named Formosa, is designed to float if the floodwater rises

It's when you set aside practical concerns that these homes get really fun though. Those with the means to spend massive amounts of money on a luxury floating house can literally sleep with the fishes in an underwater bedroom, as offered by the Floating Seahorse Signature Edition.

The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is developed by the Kleindienst Group and designed, engineered and built in the United Arab Emirates
The Floating Seahorse Signature Edition is developed by the Kleindienst Group and designed, engineered and built in the United Arab Emirates

Hit the gallery to check out each of these models in full, along with the rest of our pick of the best floating homes – including some interesting concepts – from around the world.

1 comment
Douglas Bennett Rogers
These would also be good for earthquakes because they do not rely on the ground for strength.