How should architects and designers seek to build homes for the future with climate change and rising water levels in mind?
It's a question that was much discussed in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods that hit parts of the UK earlier this year. A huge amount of debate was devoted to how we should plan for the future, with experts citing various housing design solutions that might potentially provide a robust answer to climate change. In particular, a lot of people argued that rather than seeking to defend our homes against water we should shift our way of thinking and instead seek out more harmonious ways of living alongside it.
Building homes on water is not a new idea. The Dutch have been doing it for years, as have communities in other countries including Thailand where villages are built on stilts, but it still remains relatively uncommon in the UK. With riverside and coastal areas under increasing threat from rising water levels however, floating homes look set to become increasingly popular. It's easy to see why. As well as offering an appropriate housing design solution for areas that are prone to flooding, building new homes on water is also an attractive option in overcrowded cities like London where house prices are increasing at an ever alarming rate.
This one bedroom floating home on the River Thames in West London was designed by Hertfordshire based company Ecofloat. Bright, modern and stylish, the home is part of a pre-designed range which aims to provide affordable water based living and is built from sustainable, low maintenance materials.
The owner works in the film and theatre industries and needed a home that offers access to Central London and the West London film studios along with proximity to the motorways for when she is working out on location. The Western Thames was the perfect location to meet these requirements. The home was designed by Ecofloat as an easy to lock up and go one bedroom home. There's a flexible study with a sofa bed for occasional guests, and the hull is like an upside down loft, containing the water tanks but also offering useful storage space.
A waterside deck area offers outdoor living space and there's also the option of adding a roof garden - the roof was designed in such a way that it could be converted into a garden at a later date.
The cushions on the sofa featuring colourful watercolour brush strokes are by Bluebell Grey. The side tables are Content by Conran and the lamp is from John Lewis.
Above the sofa a Jackson Pollack print provides a focal point, but it's the large floor to ceiling windows opening directly onto the riverfront that are the main feature. These give the home a sense of space, openness and connection with nature.
In the dining area a leaf patterned Catherineholm bowl sits on the vintage Eames table. The A shaped stools are by Alex.
Above: The boat wallpaper in the study is by Sandberg of Sweden.
Below: The bedroom - imagine waking up to that view!
As well as designing homes like this one on the Thames, Ecofloat has also completed properties designed to offer ethically built, stylish contemporary living in other locations throughout the UK, including this two bedroomed property in the Cotswolds. Completed in collaboration with architectural salvage and design company Retrouvious, it has a beautifully handcrafted interior, complete with wood burning stove for cosy evenings.
Ecofloat homes, which are designed to be available in a short timeframe and typically arrive complete within just four months, are also ideally suited to holiday accommodation. The company has recently worked with Carl Trenfield architects on a series of waterside hotel suites on beautiful Loch Awe in rural Scotland. The proposed designs offer low impact luxury accommodation that sits within the landscape and also engages with it.
When they open, I'll be first in the queue.
This post written by Design Hunter in collaboration with Ecofloat.