Cool Houseboats For Everyone
In a 1958 film called The Houseboat, Cary Grant plays a divorced father of three who takes in a free-spirited artist played by Sophia Loren as a housekeeper on his newly-acquired leaky houseboat. Check out the trailer below.
The film is not remembered as one of Grant’s better efforts, due mostly to what some critics have deemed a lack of chemistry between him and Loren. Perhaps they’re not aware that Grant’s wife Betsy Drake authored the original script and intended to star in the film with her husband until her marriage was broken up by Grant’s affair with Sophia Loren. Hollywood gossip aside, we think the main star of the film is the houseboat itself. Just as Angelo says in the clip above, “Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?” Maybe not, but it made us think of other cool houseboats we have seen and why this particular type of architecture is so adaptable, eco-friendly, low-cost, and just plain fun to look at.
Tafoni Floating Home, San Francisco, California
Let’s start in the future. According to San Francisco based designer Joanna Borek Clement, the Tafoni Floating Home is our best option for creating new residential areas with minimal impact to the environment. Sleek and modern with high ceilings and sculptural walls, the Tafoni is meant to be as adaptable as possible to the needs of the owner. Clement modeled the Tafoni concept on an area near Sausalito where people have been living in houseboats since first coming ashore in the 1960’s. The Tafoni takes its name and form from naturally occurring rock formations in Sonoma County as well as the smooth pebbles that wash up on the beaches after being tossed about by the ocean.
Floating Barn, Latvia
The architects behind this floating barn go by the name NRJA, which stands for “No Rules, Just Architecture.” They really thought outside the box (haha) for this two-story houseboat that’s perfect for those long Latvian summers. The pontoon base of the house features storage tanks for clean water, filtered graywater and fuel.
Schwimmhaus, Oldenburg, Germany
Now we’re heading to northern Germany to check out Schwimmhaus, a houseboat designed by Oldenburg-based architecture collective confused-direction. Does the above picture make the house look a bit twee? That’s because it’s a model. The real thing was constructed out of recycled materials and bears the name Silberfisch Scwhimmhaus. Check out photos below. The modern interiors reflect the simple design of the Schwimmhaus while the high ceilings and tall windows enlarge a small space. Designers Sascha Ackermann and Flo Florian, who live on the boat, have cleverly created a “green” rooftop that insulates the boat and functions as a pleasant terrace for residents. Like Clement, they envision the houseboat as an eco-friendly, economical option for future residential construction. There’s a a YouTube video that shows the Schwimmhaus in action. The commentary is in German, but the boat looks nice. Amstel River Floating House, Amsterdam, Netherlands
This ultra-contemporary houseboat is the work of +31 Architects in the Netherlands. Like its German counterpart, the Amstel River Floating House has been designed to be as eco-friendly as possible. It also boasts a green rooftop that doubles as a terrace, similar to the Schwimmhaus. The interior is open-plan to maximize space and give residents panoramic views of the river from their living room/kitchen area. Apparently the Dutch are very interested in the benefits of living on the water, so expect to see similar houseboats from them in the future. Finally, an image from 1929 that shows the one major downside of owning a houseboat. You don’t need to pay property tax, but there’s always a chance that your home may get washed out to sea one day, like this one. On the upside, at least you know somebody will be along to tow your house back to shore should the worst come to pass.