Floating House in Warsaw

arch. Mai Bui Ngoc
arch. Rafal Mazur

usable area: 120 sqm
total area: 168 sqm


This project was a unique challenge for us. We needed to change our architectural way of thinking about the context. We usually contextualize the design by keeping in mind the specific location where the house is built, which gives us an inspiration for the design of the new architectural form. In this case, our goal was to make a universal object such as a car or a phone. This object should be more connected to the owner than to the landscape. This artefact should also be neutral to the landscape and it should not be destructive to the surroundings.


The question of the form of the floating house was the starting point of our work on this project. The answer lays between two archetypes: a typical house and a boat. Analysis of the existing floating houses led us to believe that authors of these houses were usually very close to one of these two archetypes. We put a lot of effort to design an object which does not remind a real house nor a yacht design.


The house was designed on 2 levels. The sleeping zone is concentrated on the ground-floor which is corresponding to the yacht design. The living room and open kitchen is located on the first floor. This location allows for a better view for the surroundings and better access to the terraces. One of them is located on the first floor and the second one is on the flat roof. Very important was the location of the large glazing in such a way that the back was opening up the water. The façade of the entrance of the port is a glass at a minimum, to provide residents adequate intimacy.


The floating house was designed to be as light as possible. When designing a house in the initial concept phase, we decided to cut out uniform blocks, which were underpinned by relatively thin beams. We wanted to achieve the same effect of "lightness" as with the paper model of the house. The best solution was to use steel covered by flat paint. The colour should also be light and universal so we decided to paint most of the parts in white.


Living on the water is often connected with the inconveniences associated with the effects of moisture, particularly in the autumn or winter. High airtightness of the building allows to eliminate these inconveniences. Advanced technology and good quality of construction, in this case, allows us to defy nature and provide the conditions in which a resident of this home has an adequate standard for everyday use and comfort. The floating house was designed as energy efficient building. This is a very important aspect, because the house on the water should not be perceived as an extravagant way of life, but it could become an ecological alternative to traditional housing.

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