Top 10 Most Unique Floating Homes from Around the World

It’s difficult to narrow down a list of unique floating homes given that there are so many magnificent examples from all across the globe. This is just a small highlight of the many wonderful shapes and sizes that exist. Some of these structures blur the line between floating home and houseboat, and some aren’t “homes” at all, but each of them are captivating examples of the endless possibilities explored by pioneering designers. Get lost in the stunning architecture and let it inspire you to book your next FLOHOM adventure.

a unique shape of floating house
Image: waterstudio.nl

Our list begins with a structure that isn’t for people to live in, but will instead be home to the arts. Completed just this year, the L’île Ô cultural space sits on the banks of the Rhône river in Lyon, France. At 39 meters long, the floating theater houses two rooms constructed entirely out of wood with a combined occupancy of 322.  Ambient warmth created from the vaulted wooden ceilings produces the perfect atmosphere for absorbing theater. The project was led by the Dutch architecture firm Waterstudio, globally renowned for their floating structures.

a floating house with net
Image: ifitshipitshere.com

Just two miles off the coast of Dubai lies a man-made chain of islands resembling the continents called “The World”, which is home to a smaller island cluster that visually mimics the nations of Europe. Within these islands, named “The Heart of Europe,” are a small fleet of luxury floating villas with unbelievable views of the Arabian gulf. The Floating Seahorse villas are three storeys and partially submerged, with multiple decks and a glass-bottom hot tub. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout provide uninterrupted views, but they’re especially magnificent in the underwater primary suite that practically touches the sea floor. Outside the window, a coral reef with an abundance of marine life can be seen.

a unique curve roof floating house
Image: oshatz.com

At first glance, the Fennell Residence in Portland, Oregon appears as if it might be an art installation, rather than a home. The architect who designed the structure, Robert Oshatz, described it as a poetic representation of the ebbs and flows of the river and the relationship that the sun and moon play on it throughout the year. It’s masterfully accomplished with curving wooden beams that are all constructed using a different variation of the same radius, creating logical and cohesive proportions throughout.

a black floating house
Image: dezeen.com

This angular home in the Netherlands was designed by Dutch firm i29 is a remarkable reflection of the community in which it is moored. Spoonschip is a sustainable floating village in north Amsterdam that is on the cutting edge of eco-friendly, collaborative living. Like every home in Schoonschip, the i29 home utilizes huge windows to reclaim passive solar heat and limit energy consumption. Where that isn’t enough, heat is pulled from the waters in the canal. It is outfitted with solar panels and a ‘green roof’ full of vegetation, and shares a smart jetty with its neighbors that allows units to trade energy efficiently.

a beautiful floating house on sunset
Image: idesignarch.com

This minimalist floating home by Singapore-based architect Dymitr Malcew was designed for those with an appreciation for connecting with the natural world. The wooden interior provides an organic touch, while full-height windows throughout the structure allow for optimal nature watching. An ample terrace with expertly placed overhang for shade surrounds the perimeter of the home, with each interior room opening onto it. The home is more like a houseboat in the sense that it was built with mobility in mind, with solar panels that provide power when it isn’t docked.

floating house on full glass
Image: boatinternational.com

This 23-meter long liveable yacht was dreamt up by Miami-based housing startup Arkup and built by the Dutch studio Waterstudio (who also built number one on this list.) Arkup imagined this mega-houseboat as an alternative solution to climate change, with Miami being subject to housing shortages as sea levels rise. It is built to withstand hurricanes and is fully sustainable, requiring no fuel and producing zero emissions when it’s on the go. The yacht has four 12-meter hydraulic legs that allow it to anchor in shallow waters with complete stability. Arkup plans to build smaller, more affordable versions and envisions Miami as a future hub for floating homes of all kinds.

Blue floating house
Image: airbnb.co.uk

This luxurious sprawling abode is perched in northern Norway. While the home itself is stunning, admittedly a large part of its appeal is its location. Moored right along a fjord, you can’t get closer to the idyllic Norwegian coastline without camping directly on it. But with heated floors throughout the two-storey home and hot tub, it’s a far cry from even the fanciest glamping trip. Huge birch trees surround crystal clear water that laps against the home, creating a harmonious ambiance powered by nature.

a floating house in ocean and mountain background
Image: pv-magazine-australia.com

The Lilypad is another floating villa that we love especially for its commitment to sustainability. This all-inclusive hotel is 100% solar powered, aiming to provide guests with a stay that leaves them with nothing to worry about, including energy consumption. Warm tones emanate throughout the entire home, providing a cozy atmosphere in which to unwind and perhaps explore the on-board wine cellar. Its secluded location and self-sufficient structure allows occupants to reconnect with nature, something we agree brings restoration and peace.

Villa W, Sweden
Image: architectmagazine.com

This beautiful floating chateau is located near Stockholm in Sweden and made from sustainable wood by Kebony. Kebony wood is manufactured through a process by which sustainably sourced softwoods are modified to take on properties that make them more durable, stiff, and stable. “Villa W” was built with the intention of having a footprint-free, harmonious existence with its environment. Still, no comfort was spared, with the home boasting plenty of outdoor lounge space and a rooftop sauna.

a floating house at night
Image: architectmagazine.com

Last on our list is a palatial abode that looks as if it might not be real, and has been dubbed the most beautiful and most photographed home in Idaho. Wooden shingles give the otherwise Gothic home a beachy feel, with plenty of huge windows to take in the picturesque mountain-framed water. Several interesting overhangs and bonus rooms create little sanctuaries that provide a unique touch to this home that was featured in Smithsonian magazine.

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