New York City-based architecture firm Rekstur is tackling the city’s 578 miles of coastal real estate with a floating container home off Rockaway peninsula in Jamaica Bay. The two-story structure is made from a combination of shipping container materials and sapele wood, and its boat-like design rises and falls with the natural changes in sea level.

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couple standing at entry of wood and steel floating home

The area, which is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy almost 10 years later, was in need of innovative reconstruction, according to the designers. As such, the project is meant to showcase that “affordable, sustainable, and resilient living is within reach.” The home will become the primary residence for the founder and principal architect of Rekstur and his family.

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small living room with white bench and wood walls
person sitting at built-in desk in a floating home

The main building is comprised of two 40-inch-tall shipping containers. The repurposed containers were cut in half diagonally and stacked on top of each other to create two separate stories. The construction involved welding two steel sectional barges to create a single platform for the house, which is docked at a local marina. The resulting home has a spacious interior with a contemporary touch, highlighting natural light and colorful accents. The name, Kairu, is a variation of the Japanese word for frog, an homage to the home’s water-based setting.

kitchen with black cabinets, black dining table and turquoise tile backsplash
On left, small bed in room with wood walls. On the right, large white bathroom.

“The goal of the project was to build a resilient, sustainable residence that responded to the needs of the environment but didn’t sacrifice the comforts of modern living,” said principal architect Adam Wiesehan. “Building and living on water has been an incredible experience. Architecture on water has a more immediate need to be in tune with natural surroundings, and I’m grateful that this project has put me in closer touch with the local environment.”

soft yellow chairs on balcony
person resting in hammock on balcony

At 470 square feet, the home has a bedroom, bathroom and living space on the first floor. The second floor includes a kitchen, dining room and two deck spaces overlooking the bay. Awning windows are made of repurposed doors; the staircase and framed front door are custom-made from steel. Some of the more interesting accents include a stone bathroom sink, black granite on the kitchen counters and a kitchen backsplash crafted from handmade turquoise tiles.


Photography by Ty Cole via REKSTUR