The idea of floating houses / villas is, of course, not new. A variety of recent projects propose such an approach to sustainable living, especially inshore communities, where the risk of rising level of water due to climate change is very high. A possible way to tackle this problem is to build houses that would rise at the same time with the water.
Today, the 450-ton ship that had little functionality, no insulation and was barely fit for living in four years ago, is a gorgeous, incredibly elegant and welcoming family home for Ingels, his wife and their 2-year-old son. He admits he didn’t anticipate the conversion to be as complicated as it ended up being, but he loved every second of it.
The 126-foot (38.4-meter) boat is now permanently moored in the same place it was back then, and it’s still floating. You can access through either end of the deck, on what is basically a car driveway. Large sliding doors shut the world outside, but allow a generous look at it.
“It has the past, present, and future of Copenhagen all in one glance,” Ingels says of the views. “Look east and you can see the sun rising. Look west and you can see the sun setting over the queen’s palace.”
One of the challenges of the conversion was the boat itself. “It is a boat, so it wants to be symmetrical,” Ingels notes. So he and his partner / wife worked hard to bring that symmetry back, through the addition of extra portholes, stripping away walls and using the boat’s natural curves to create extra spaces.
Ingels doesn’t detail the cost of the conversion (of course he doesn’t) but he explains that it was the most challenging he’s ever done, if only because he and his wife lived on the boat before the project was completed. At one point, this meant going without heating or running water during the winter and “showering” with San Pellegrino before meetings.
“When it’s great, it’s epically great. When it sucks, it sucks so massively,” he says of living and working on a floating house. “Living on a boat is a learning curve. Over time, it becomes clear what the spaces want to be.”
Despite the challenges, Ingels is convinced that, at least for shore communities, floating housing is the way of the future. “It is the most resilient architecture,” he says.