Aquatecture may just be the next big wave in architecture, as a radical, eco-friendly solution to the rising water dilemmas around the world. Architects are turning their talents towards the sea with new designs emerging all over the world, from minimalistic, rustic dream floats to solar-powered water nests. These buoyant creations take the notion of a house boat to the extreme and prove that eco-conscious design is possible at every level.
Giancarlo Zema Design Group designed an eco-friendly floating housing unit for the British firm EcoFloLife, with spectacular results. The residence, named WaterNest100, is made entirely from recycled material, including timber wood and aluminium hull, and is completely powered by solar energy. The solar power is generated from the 60 square meters of amorphous photovoltaic panels, which are used for the internal needs of the home.
In an interview, architect Giancarlo Zema said the following: “WaterNest is inspired by the nest of aquatic birds. But like all my architecture and design objects of my creation are inspired by the forms of nature and especially to those of the marine world. I think it is important not to imitate but emulate the shapes and functions of nature to Crero a new way of living, more harmonious and sustainable.”
While this water creation is environmentally-friendly and sustainable, it will still cost you a considerable sum: prices start at £358,000, or $443,025 in American dollars. “I think that the growing demand for living spaces and the desire to live in close contact with nature is more and more pushing us to colonize rivers, lakes and sea. An extra advantage is getting away from stressfull city life where pollution is often high,” Zema told Culture Trip.
“The sea is without doubt a resource that should be exploited to the full in the near future but at the same time avoiding to repeat the same errors on water that have been made on land. In the future our homes will increasingly be on water and will allow us to reclaim that primeval contact with nature, through a floating experience,” he says.
On the other side of the Atlantic, tucked away on the Willamette River in ultra-hip Portland Oregon, floats a stunningly singular home designed by architect Robert Harvey Oshatz. The Fennell Residence is a two-floor abode and features an “imaginative use of curved blue lam beams [that] evoke the poetry of the ripples and contours of a river.” This architectural gem contains curvilinear forms that play with light and reflection, which is only enhanced by the river.
The house features a rustic mix of wood: Red Cedar for the exterior shingles, a Douglas Fir decking, and Brazilian cherry floors – all of which balance beautifully with the sweeping curves of glass. The design is “logical, tight, and rectilinear,” says Oshatz. The curvature of the roof and walls resembles a wave frozen in mid-break – a perfect metaphor for a floating habitat.
While these homes are spectacular in their design, they are rather difficult to move once in the water, and fall beyond the price range of most middle-class homebuyers. According to Zema, “the challenges are to find the right combination between the home-architecture and yacht-design approach.” Ultimately, the success of ‘aquatecture’ as a sustainable solution to housing crises is dependent upon the homes’ affordability and accessibility, so let’s hope we see more of them in the near future.
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