Marine

Sustainable houseboat provides luxury digs to both people and fish

Sustainable houseboat provides...
Houseboat H features both a roof-based solar array and a green roof section
Houseboat H features both a roof-based solar array and a green roof section
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After they lost their 100 year-old houseboat to a fire, architect Michelle Lanker of Lanker Design LLC and her husband Bill Bloxom decided to design a sustainable replacement dubbed Houseboat H
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After they lost their 100 year-old houseboat to a fire, architect Michelle Lanker of Lanker Design LLC and her husband Bill Bloxom decided to design a sustainable replacement dubbed Houseboat H
Houseboat H consists of a concrete hull and standing seam metal roof, with cement fiber board cladding and excellent insulation
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Houseboat H consists of a concrete hull and standing seam metal roof, with cement fiber board cladding and excellent insulation
Houseboat H features both a roof-based solar array and a green roof section
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Houseboat H features both a roof-based solar array and a green roof section
Houseboat H is located in Seattle and boasts views of the city's skyline
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Houseboat H is located in Seattle and boasts views of the city's skyline
Houseboat H features underfloor heating
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Houseboat H features underfloor heating
Houseboat H looks surprisingly spacious inside for a houseboat
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Houseboat H looks surprisingly spacious inside for a houseboat
Houseboat H makes use of the original boat's cedar 
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Houseboat H makes use of the original boat's cedar 
Houseboat H's kitchen area
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Houseboat H's kitchen area
Houseboat H's underwater window, offering a view of the fish habitat
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Houseboat H's underwater window, offering a view of the fish habitat

Following the loss of their 100 year-old houseboat to a fire, architect Michelle Lanker and her husband Bill Bloxom decided to design a modern replacement. Named Houseboat H, the high-end floating dwelling features significant environmentally-friendly design, including a burgeoning fish habitat.

Houseboat H is located on Lake Union, Seattle, and comprises a concrete hull, cement fiber board cladding, steel and wood framing, and spray foam insulation. It's topped by a curved roof.

Its most novel feature is hidden from sight under the water. The underside is covered in planters to create a fish habitat. In a neat addition, the basement has a window to allow observation of the water life, too.

"Made from recycled plastic material, the planters allow the roots of native plants to grow through and eventually extend into the water below, creating fish habitats," says a press release. "A large window in the basement float of the house allows observation of the fish inhabiting these islands."

Houseboat H's underwater window, offering a view of the fish habitat
Houseboat H's underwater window, offering a view of the fish habitat

The interior of the home looks relatively spacious. Its living room boasts generous glazing which offers views of the Seattle skyline, with even better views available upstairs in the master bedroom. Elsewhere lies a guest room with Murphy-style bed, a large bathroom, laundry room and a wine cellar.

Although the original houseboat structure was pretty much ruined by the fire, the century-old cedar logs that made it float were preserved. Lanker and Bloxom had them dried out and processed, and the wood now serves as the curved ceiling.

Houseboat H looks surprisingly spacious inside for a houseboat
Houseboat H looks surprisingly spacious inside for a houseboat

Like BIG's Urban Rigger, Houseboat H uses the water it floats on to help efficiently heat and cool it. The system functions similarly to a geothermal system, but uses water instead of the ground as a stable heat source.

"A titanium plate with an 800-ft [243-m] transfer fluid coil loop is attached to the west side of the deck structure and extends into the water to collect heat from the lake," the designers explain. "The lake water temperature stays at a pretty constant 45°F [7.2°C] during the winter at the 8-ft [2.4-m] depth the plate is submerged to. The 30°F [-1°C] minimum temperature of the transfer fluid in the loop is able to absorb this temperature differential to bring back to the heat exchanger in the mechanical room."

Additional energy-efficient tech includes a 5.32kW rooftop solar array, a green roof section and LED lighting. A water heater powered by the solar array provides hot water for household use and also runs the underfloor heating.

Source: Lanker Design

2 comments
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really nice.
JDC1
Since it was designed from the ground up, I think I would have designed a way to isolate that below the water line window, such as a water tight hatch-"just in case." Beautiful set up, well done!