by , 08/27/06

Waterliving, Danish Houseboats, Copenhagen, water architecture

Sea levels may rise and coastlines may fall but one thing will always remain consistent: the Danish are going to get through life in style. These fabulous houseboats from Copenhagen’s Waterliving are but the latest example.

Waterliving houseboat, Swan model

Definitely exhilaratingly modernist in spirit, the Waterliving line incorporates elements from the vernacular of waterfront architecture, mixes in a few nautical tropes, and manages to stay undoubtedly stylish. We love the wood paneling, the funky round windows, contemporary fixtures and all the great outdoor spaces.

The architects at Waterliving aren’t stopping with residential one offs. They have visions of reinvigorating moribund waterfronts with new floating complexes. This can include restaurants, hotels, event spaces … Beyond architecture, the firm can also help navigate political and zoning issues. The exciting thing about Waterliving is that these are not just drawings of houseboats. Some of them are already bobbing around docks and quays in Denmark, Sweden and Britain.

+ Waterliving Denmark

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  1. charleswaldo September 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Can anyone advise on contacting Jonathan Baker regarding this houseboat concept?

  2. harmony80 August 30, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I want to buy one and put it on a lake in Knoxville, TN.

  3. salmanco July 18, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    i am actually very happy to see fantastic design ithink this is better than the american very sofisticated and not qulified for the sea only stable for the rivers and sill or crest water ilike to send me some designs or photoes i have ability to have one in the arabian gulf thanks a lot eng. omer alamri /doha

  4. Jonathan Baker June 24, 2008 at 6:07 am

    As far as finding a sustainable houseboat architect, I’m afraid you will be hard pressed to find one in the U.S. — let alone any other country. This type of houseboat is, in itself, a very new concept; therefore, it is not easy to find many companies that have devoted the energy or resources to actually realize a model at 1:1 (not to mention push the concept forward). Your solution is inspired and indicative of what usually happens when someone really wants to live in this way.
    I’m actually now in the process of divorcing myself from Waterliving, due to the fact that it is basically turning into a pure production firm, and I feel that it is losing it inspiration and driving ideals and goals. I am thinking about starting my own architecture / consulting business (and I am originally from Santa Barbara), so who knows….
    Jonathan Baker, aquatect

  5. Emily Bloom March 9, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    I currently reside in Los Angeles, and have been searching to find a sustainable houseboat architect in the United States. My research has not led to much success. I’ve alternatively researched converting a regular diesel engine to bio diesel engine in a used houseboat and then installing a solar panel system to supply energy to the boat. However, I would like to renovate the interiors and exteriors of the boat with sustainable wood and insulation as well, I’ve contacted eco prefab manufactures to not much avail.
    Does anyone have any suggestions about what the best approach would be in terms of either renovating a houseboat to new green standards or finding a builder interested in the floating green venture?
    I appreciate your time and Thank you in advance!
    -Emily Bloom
    -Artist for the Environment
    -f19 productions

  6. Steve Smith March 25, 2007 at 6:45 am

    I think these are wonderful solutions which work well in a civilised social democratic country like yours. But Britain is a neo-liberal/ neo-conservative, highly unequal and Americanised society, with a lot of crime, fear and loathing. Do you find British planning authorities resistant to your ideas?

    Our local authority seems very conservative and self-satisfied (ignoring the intense housing crisis facing young people and low income groups). We are mostly seeing dull pretend-traditional architecture here in the suburbs and there seems to be a view that houseboats spoil rivers and waterways (rather than make them more interesting places). The average price of a house around us here in Surrey is £750,000. You really need a household income of £200,000 per year, which is silly. So I guess my question is about how to change the political agenda to enable alternative housing solutions to happen….?

  7. James Geddes October 18, 2006 at 7:03 am

    It would be a great idea to make these cheaply available in Bangladesh.

  8. Jonathan Baker September 28, 2006 at 1:52 pm

    Sorry, just one more thing (i forgot to address the “Green” aspect of our work). We are constantly working to develop sustainable solutions and work them into our designs. By its nature, a houseboat should be as selfsufficient as possible; therefore, we are begining to incorporate solar energy, thermal heating (but from water instead of the earth), and other systems into our houseboats. We are also using prefabricated steel elements and enviornmentally friendly materials. :)
    – Jonathan (chief architect, Waterliving)

  9. Jonathan Baker September 28, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    The bathrooms are dealt with in the same manner as in regular residential housing. The “house” part of the houseboat is built after the (very strict) Danish Small House regulations, and all of the utilities work just like they would in a regular house (gravity drainage for example). The only difference is that there is a “collecting tank” (call it a small septic tank if you like) in the hull with is connected directly to the public sewage system. Depending on the location, the waste is either pumped or suctioned out of the houseboats and into the sewers.
    And thank you for your comment. We are continually working to develop this very new and very exciting field. I feel that our designs are always improving, and we now have a little of something for most tastes. Check out our website for the latest.

  10. Sue S. August 30, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    Just curious…how do you handle the bathrooms? Do you use composting toilets? Any set-up for water recycling?
    The houseboats are VERY appealing!

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