In the up-and-coming district of Smíchov in Prague, there resides an enclave of houseboats and other floating homes just down river from the famous Charles Bridge. One such dwelling started its journey 25 miles north as a prefabricated unit delivered to meet its pontoon counterpart.
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Built in 2018, the one-bedroom home was designed by Czech Republic-based Freedomky, a manufacturer of prefabricated units in several sizes that are designed to interlock as needed. The company was established by architect Marek Jan Stepan, who was inspired to create a solution that is easy on both the wallet and the planet.
With approximately 500 square feet of interior living space, the minimalist tiny home serves as a flexible meeting space, as well as a city retreat for a young professional. After stints traveling around Europe on a motorbike and camping in many natural locations, the homeowner dreamed about finding a unique location within the city limits.
"The client lives outside of Prague and requested a unique solution—a place to host clients for small meetings or use occasionally for overnight stays," says Jiri Klein, CEO at Freedomky. "He knew of our products but not that they could be converted into floating homes as well. A typical houseboat could not meet his needs, so when he heard about our floating village installation in Germany, his mind was made up."
A challenge of any prefabricated home is the installation process. In this case, the complete unit weighed in at 39 tons.
Jiri comments on the unique circumstances: "We first thought about delivering the upper unit and pontoon separately, coupling the two on site. However, in Smichov, the tiny roads are no more than 10 feet wide, making it impossible to access with a truck and mobile crane. Our partner at the shipyard then came up with the idea to just float the home down river."
In Czech, "Freedomky" literally translates to "free houses," a nod to the company's ambition to free people from the burden of expensive living costs. While this home is an ironic manifestation of that intention, it's unlikely to float away anytime soon.
Architect: Atelier Stepan s.r.o.
Builder: FREEDOMKY s.r.o.
Interior Design: František Brychta, Atelier Stepan s.r.o.