These underwater villas are making waves

The Floating Seahorse, DubaiThe Floating Seahorse villas take the houseboat concept to the next level. For starters, each three-story retreat features an entire floor submerged beneath the sea. Brought to life by Kleindienst real estate and property developers, the villas are part of the Heart of Europe resort opening off the coast of Dubai.

The Floating Seahorse, DubaiOn the outside hull, the architects used three main components: Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP), steel, and acrylic. Connecting the acrylic to the hull was another challenge, as it required a highly flexible, long-lasting sealant that only about three companies in the world make — of those, only one supplier was able to match the project’s technical requirements. 

The Floating Seahorse, DubaiStretching across three levels, Floating Seahorse villas include two underwater bedrooms, an outdoor sun deck, and a rooftop with a glass-bottom Jacuzzi. Around 50 floating abodes will be ready to welcome guests at the end of this year, with a total of 131 villas expected by the end of 2017. 

The Floating Seahorse, DubaiAt just 9.5 centimeters thick, the floor-to-ceiling underwater windows make it seems like there’s nothing between you and the fish. However they’re not made of glass, as that would cause distortion and could not withstand the water pressure. Instead, the team looked to aquariums and submarines and used acrylic for its durability and crystal-clear views. 

The Floating Seahorse, DubaiInspired by the mysteries of the deep, Kleindienst studied underwater projects for decades until he finally had the chance to bring his vision to life in 2008, as part of the “The World” project off the coast of Dubai.

The Floating House Designed by Singapore-based architect Dymitr Malcew, The Floating House aims to make the nomad life as leisurely and luxurious as possible. Each home is fully sustainable, built with its own water purification system and solar panels for electricity.

The Floating House When building The Floating House, one of architect Dymitr Malcew’s main goals was to complement the surroundings. Taking inspiration from nature, the design accentuates the landscape, featuring floor-to-ceiling glass curtain walls and an abundance of wood. Each room has easy-access to a wrap-around terrace, and enormous windows let in lots of natural light.

The Floating House To enable The Floating House to rise and fall with the tides, architect Dymitr Malcew constructed the home on floating steel pontoons. An engine can be installed upon request, enabling owners to travel the world from the comfort of their own home.

Citadel, Westland An ambitious project from Dutch developers ONW/BNG GO, the Citadel is Europe’s first floating apartment building. It’s part of the New Water development project, which will comprise six floating apartment buildings — all designed to adapt to flooding and rising water levels.

Citadel, Westland The Citadel floating apartment building is home to 180 modules, which rest on top of a floating concrete foundation. A floating road connects the complex to the shore, so residents can park their cars on site. Dutch developers ONW/BNG GO designed the complex to be highly efficient, consuming 25 percent less energy than a conventional building of the same size.

Randall T. Fennell Residence, Portland Made with a mix of western red cedar, Douglas Fir and copper, the Randall T. Fennell Residence sits gracefully on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. Curving rooftops mimic the ripples in the water below and create an eye-catching silhouette.

Randall T. Fennell Residence, Portland The residence’s exposed beams add an industrial feel, while curved ceilings and rich wood warm up the vibe. A deck wraps around the home, leading visitors to the open-air patio in the front of the home where they can take in dramatic sunset views.

Randall T. Fennell Residence, Portland Surprisingly spacious inside, the 2,153-square-foot (200sqm) houseboat includes a loft-style master bedroom and an open living space. Drawn up like a sail, a clean white wall draws focus to the piece de resistance: a floor-to-ceiling glass window that looks onto the river.

FloatwingThis floating abode is all about sustainable, mobile living — anywhere in the world. From the designers of Friday SA, a Portuguese design and engineering firm, Floatwing was built to travel and its modular design can be broken down and transported in two or three shipping containers. You can anchor where you wish, or motor around at a speed of up to 3 knots.

FloatwingAs stylish as it is sustainable, Floatwing homes come with a wine cellar, barbecue area and a rooftop terrace. As for sustainability, the designers chose eco-friendly materials such as cork and wood. It’s energy efficient too, thanks to double-glazed panels for insulations and solar panels that cover up to 80 percent of energy consumption throughout the year.

Floating House Lake Huron, OntarioTucked away in the Great Lakes, MOS Architects’ one-bedroom Floating House rests atop steel pontoons, allowing it to rise and fall with water levels. Built off site, the house traveled about 50 miles before reaching its home on the remote island in Lake Huron.

Floating House Lake Huron, Ontario Inspired by the surroundings, MOS Architects designed Floating House Lake Huron with clean lines and a natural palette. Inside, bright white walls and enormous windows open up the ground floor’s 1,000-square-foot space (92 square meters), while cedar rain screens on the facade offer both form and function.

Lake Union Float Home, Seattle A project by Designs Northwest Architects, Lake Union Float Home is part of Seattle’s unique houseboat community. Inspired by the century-old marina warehouses on the docks, the architects created a modern home with historical touches, evident in the industrial form, steel beams, polished concrete and caged spiral staircase.

UFODon’t worry: these are not a figment of your imagination. Made of two fiberglass shells, the UFO (which in this case, stands for unidentified floating object) is essentially what it looks like — a spherical boat, able to reach a top speed of 3-5 knots.

UFOThe shells are made of fiberglass and secured with a hermetic seal, which keep it afloat and stable. The Italian company behind the concept, Jet Capsule, says the sphere is unsinkable, utilizing a special elastic anchor system to maintain stability in rough seas.

UFOThe UFO is completely self-sustaining, incorporating innovative features like a water generator that turns salt water and rain into potable water. The mobile home also has solar panels and optional water turbines to power the battery. 

Watervilla Weesperzijde, AmsterdamStretching across 2,152 square feet, Watervilla Weesperzijde sits on Amsterdam’s Amstel River. Designed by +31ARCHITECTS, it’s all about the river views: luxurious floating abode boasts a glass façade and a terrace that runs the entire length of the villa. Tech-savvy touches, such as automatic sun shades and strategically placed LED lights add a modern touch.

Watervilla de Omval, Amsterdam House boats are nothing new in the Netherlands, where much of the land lies beneath sea level and is susceptible to flooding. Designed and constructed by +31ARCHITECTS, the 2,120-square-foot Watervilla de Omval floats on the Amstel River. It’s a contemporary take on the traditional houseboat, featuring a curvaceous exterior, glass-front façade and a rooftop terrace to make the most of the surrounds.

ParkArk Oog-in-Al, Utrecht You won’t find any portholes aboard The ParkArk Oog-in-Al, but the contemporary houseboat still floods with natural light from enormous windows and skylights. Another custom project from BYTR architects, the copper-clad boat is moored on a leafy green canal in Utrecht right next to a footbridge. Due to its public location, the designers strategically planned the home’s doors and windows to enable park and river views while maintaining a sense of privacy.

Muntboot Utrecht, UtrechtDesigned and built by BYTR architects, Muntboot sits on a quiet canal in Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands that’s known for its medieval waterways. The split-level houseboat could easily double as a piece of artwork, thanks to wooden slants of various widths that give the façade texture and depth.

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