10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle

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By Gabrielle Golenda / Published by Dwell
In recent years, there's a been a surge of interest in floating homes for many reasons—mainly because they can be easily adapted for site-specific environments.

Ranging from a water villa with a sunken floor below the water, to a self-sustainable residence that can travel to some of the world's most remote lakes and rivers, these new bobbing homes encourage an unconventional, water-based lifestyle.

Houseboat on the Eilbekkanal

Accessible by a petite footbridge that leads from the bank to the upper deck, this houseboat by martinoff architekten contains an upper and lower floor that are connected by an internal staircase. Inside, the living spaces are oriented towards the canal, while a continuous deck lines the entire length of the living space.

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 1 of 10 - In Hamberg, Germany, Houseboat on the Eilbekkanal is enveloped in sliding timber slats, creating a constant connection between the interior and the exterior. 

In Hamberg, Germany, Houseboat on the Eilbekkanal is enveloped in sliding timber slats, creating a constant connection between the interior and the exterior. 

Floating House on Lake Huron

Floating on a skeleton of steel pontoons, this prefab structure designed by MOS Architects was towed on-site, anchored, and constructed in stages. Cedar envelops the interior, exterior, and an enclosed exterior space. Protected by slatted rain screens, filtered light enters open voids throughout the entire structure—pragmatically reducing exposure to the natural elements. 

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 2 of 10 - Cedar slats mark the facade of the Worple's lakefront vacation home in Ontario.

Cedar slats mark the facade of the Worple's lakefront vacation home in Ontario.

ParkArk in Utrecht

Clad in copper panels and local timber, ParkArk was designed by BYTR Architects for a young family who wanted to live beside a 17-century park in Utrecht. Formerly living in a steel ship, the family desired a houseboat that had the intimacy of their last home, but with a more modern design. 

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 3 of 10 - Anchored beside a wooded parkland, this houseboat in the Netherlands was designed by BYTR Architects.

Anchored beside a wooded parkland, this houseboat in the Netherlands was designed by BYTR Architects.

Floatwing by Friday

This prefabricated floating house can be built to order and shipped to almost anywhere in the world. The made-to-order houseboats are designed to be entirely self-sustainable for up to a week at a time, enabling its occupants the opportunity to take up residence in some of the world's most remote lakes and rivers.

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 4 of 10 - A team from the University of Coimbra in Portugal designed 'Floatwing.'

A team from the University of Coimbra in Portugal designed 'Floatwing.'

A Floating Home in Copenhagen Harbour

Offering picturesque views of the harbor, this 750-square-foot, two-bedroom houseboat was designed by Laust Nørgaard and features a dark-stained wood exterior with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors. The large windows allow residents and visitors to go swimming every morning by simply jumping off from the bedroom door. 

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 5 of 10 - Lisbeth Juul and Laust Nørgaard drew upon their years of experience living on the water to design and build an 860-square-foot floating home in Copenhagen Harbour. The home’s minimal form and furnishings reflect the residents’ desire to downsize following three years on land.

Lisbeth Juul and Laust Nørgaard drew upon their years of experience living on the water to design and build an 860-square-foot floating home in Copenhagen Harbour. The home’s minimal form and furnishings reflect the residents’ desire to downsize following three years on land.

Port X on Vltava River

Currently floating on the banks of Prague’s Vltava River, this design-centric home and event space (also shown in the cover photo) is composed of a single deck floor and a shed roof. Designed to be mobile, added to, reduced, and reproduced, the structure consists of two major modular components: the pontoon and the residential area. The technological design combines wood, laminate, and CNC-cut curves. 

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 6 of 10 - Created as a prototype for a serial production, Port X was designed by architects Jerry Koza and Adam Jirkal, along with engineer Tomáš Kalhaus from Atelier SAD. 

Created as a prototype for a serial production, Port X was designed by architects Jerry Koza and Adam Jirkal, along with engineer Tomáš Kalhaus from Atelier SAD. 

Water Villa Houseboat in Amsterdam

The architects at Framework Studio and Studio Prototype created geometric patterns across the exterior of this houseboat that's moored on a canal in the southwest part of Amsterdam. The timber-clad facade features a window on the top floor that can fold up by a remote-controlled shutter for additional privacy.

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 7 of 10 - "Water Villa" features a sunken floor below the water and an atrium at the center of the house that connects the children's rooms in the basement with the living and dining rooms on the ground floor. 

"Water Villa" features a sunken floor below the water and an atrium at the center of the house that connects the children's rooms in the basement with the living and dining rooms on the ground floor. 

The SayBoat in the Czech Republic

Inspired by Le Corbusier’s construction of minimalist architecture, architect Milan Řídký designed these buoyant living quarters for functionalism, spaciousness, and utility. The two biggest rooms are connected by a staircase with a barrier made of glass, evoking the open atmosphere of a small loft.

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 8 of 10 - This full-fledged floating house was designed with features that are meant to live comfortably year-round.

This full-fledged floating house was designed with features that are meant to live comfortably year-round.

"O" De Squisito Houseboat

Expressed by horizontal slabs and floor-to-ceiling windows that float on structural catamaran beams, this dwelling designed by X-Architects is surrounded by an aquatic mise–en–scène. Inside, an upper deck contains a concealed kitchen, living room, and an informal dining area, while the lower deck houses the bedrooms, bathroom, and steering cabin.  

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 9 of 10 - X-Architects closely collaborated with Leen Vandaele, to construct a terrace with a spiral staircase that can be used as a sun deck.

X-Architects closely collaborated with Leen Vandaele, to construct a terrace with a spiral staircase that can be used as a sun deck.

Mjölk Architekti’s Houseboat in Prague

This two-story, affordable residence by Mjölk Architekti floats in the heart of downtown Prague. It's enveloped in wooden panels around the exterior and throughout the interior. The ground floor contains the kitchen, living areas, and bathroom, while the top floor houses a cozy bedroom nook with a skylight.   

10 Modern Floating Homes That Offer an Aquatic Lifestyle - Photo 10 of 10 - This project was reconstructed from an old houseboat that was anchored in the sailing club in Smichov.

This project was reconstructed from an old houseboat that was anchored in the sailing club in Smichov.