Floating homes of the future

The Pearl eco houseboat. (Photo: Orhan Cileli)

Life at sea — it sounds far away, like a distant lifestyle reserved for Navy seamen, ocean trawlers and submarine captains. But as shorelines recede, populations grow and property-ownership ideas evolve, designers and architects are prompted to re-think how — and where — we live. Many look to the water.

Shaped like domes and flowers, few of these notions of futuristic dwellings will ever go beyond the design stage. However, this doesn’t mean homes that float, submerge or drift on rivers are the stuff of sci-fi. 

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“Just because a design vision is not built yet, does not limit its potential impact,” says Maria Lorena Lehman, Founder of Sensing Architecture, an online forum for architectural design, science and new technologies. “In fact, by proposing new ways of living, including on the water, architectural design is advanced, and in turn, human life is improved.”

Here are five examples of how people might be living on the water someday:


This open-sea eco houseboat is the brainchild of industrial designer Orhan Cileli. Most houseboats have flat bottoms so they rock heavily if they hit big waves. Pearl's design would be stable and efficient out at sea. In fact, the houseboat was actually inspired by a fishing bobber. 

There's more to the Pearl than cool-looking design, though. The four-story house, which has a deck and greenhouse, would make use of alternative energy technologies, including wave and solar energy, to move it around and provide electricity. 

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