Dutch firm creates sleek, motorized, solar-powered floating homes
Dutch architectural firm +31Architects has designed a series of solar-powered houseboats, with plans to complete the first prototypes by the end of the year in partnership with German manufacturer WSM Die Wohnschiff-Manufaktur. Dubbed Naturecruiser and Waterloft, these innovative motorized floating homes are designed as fully equipped houseboats but with the added benefit of being able to cruise the surrounding lakes or rivers.
According to +31Architects there is a growing market for this type of motorized floating home, which allows its habitants to enjoy the joys of sailing the waters without leaving their living room. The Naturecruiser and Waterloft can therefore be moored at a fixed berth, or the trusses can easily be unloaded, allowing the vessels to travel to nearby ports, marinas or larger lakes.
"It all started with a dream to live on the water and at the same time have the opportunity to move at any moment to discover new places," Jorrit Houwert, architect at +31Architects tells New Atlas. "We wanted to create a modern houseboat that is at the same time a ship that distinguished itself by its natural appearance. We are proud that were able to create a slender monolithic shape, where the hull seamlessly changes into the roof, combined with its big windows and the natural wooden look!"
Stepping away from traditional bulky houseboat designs, the Naturecruiser and Waterloft have adopted similar design features from larger luxury ships. Both concepts include a streamlined facade with rounded curves, wooden carpentry throughout and an aluminum hull to protect and preserve the vessel over time. Solar panels and solar collectors will be fitted on the roofs of the homes, which according to the designers can generate enough energy and warm water to render the houseboats fully self-sufficient when moored.
The houseboats will be initially equipped with a hybrid electric engine, with plans to include a hydrogen engine in future models. The onboard water and sewerage system takes water from the lake or river and is then filtered onboard with a purification system.
"Our models for motorized houseboats are fully equipped within the available customizable length, including a hybrid electric propulsion, solar-panels, battery-pack, a pellet-powered underfloor heating system and ecological water treatment. Our goal is to also use as much as possible low impact (biological isolation) materials," says Houwert"Including solid wood and no EPS/XPS or mineral wools," adds Marcel Neugebauer, founder and CEO at WSM Die Wohnschiff-Manufaktur.
The 15-meter (49-ft) Naturecruiser features a compact floor plan and can host up to eight guests when cruising or 16 guests when moored. The 24-m (79-ft) Waterloft boasts a generous floorplan and includes clever storage space under the deck. Waterloft can host 25 guests when cruising or 50 guests when moored.
The single–level motorized houseboats have a comfortable interior living space ranging between 50 sq m (538 sq ft) and 125 sq m (1,345 sq ft). Depending on the length of the model, the houseboats come with either two or three bedrooms; an open living room and kitchen; bathroom complete with sauna, shower and separate toilet; large roof and deck terraces; and all furnishings and equipment to live year-round on the boat.
The floorplans and design of both homes feature large floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, allowing an abundance of natural light to filter through the home during the day. Guests can enjoy outward water views from almost every room on board or relax outdoors on the sunny roof terrace, semi-shaded front deck or small terrace located on the back deck.
"We believe that living on water could be a next step to combine areas which are under pressure from flooding into retention areas by managing it into liveable living areas without leaving a scar on the natural environment," says Houwert. "We have plans for more next-level designs, coming up with ways to live a sustainable life on water in an ecological way. Stay tuned!"
Starting prices for the Naturecruiser and Waterloft are €535,000 (US$602,663) and €899,000 (US$1,012,700), respectively, and both versions can be modified to suit specific customer requests. There are also plans for a fixed mooring luxury version called Watervilla, which would be a 205-sq m (2,206-sq ft) floating home priced from €899,000 (US$1,012,700).
WSM Die Wohnschiff-Manufaktur will build the first prototypes of the Naturecrusiser and Waterloft in Germany, with completion anticipated for the end of 2019.