For some architects, building on land just isn’t enough of a hurdle anymore, so they’ve taken their design abilities to the water. Many of the designs involve sustainable components including solar panels and locally-sourced or biodegradable substances. But beyond their environmental advantages, these cases of floating architecture give a single way to experience their environments, whether it’s a canal in Amsterdam or a river in South Korea.
We’ve rounded up 8 incredible examples of floating architecture that are making waves in the design world.
Arctia Headquarters by K2S Architects
Arctia Headquarters, the new principal office of a Finnish shipping company that owns and manages a fleet of icebreakers, is situated on the shore of Helsinki. Devised by K2S Architects, the building has a black steel façade that mimics the hulls of the firm’s ships and lacquered wood interiors that pay tribute to nautical traditions.
Floating House by MOS Architects
Plaited away in the Great Lakes, MOS Architects‘ one-bedroom Floating House, holds atop steel pontoons, enabling it to rise and fall with water levels. Built on site, the house moved about 50 miles before arriving its home on the isolated island in Lake Huron. The home is reached by a walkway on the second level of the home and is complete with floating pontoons that let it fall and rise with the tide.
Drijf in Lelystad by Attika Architekten
This residential community was commissioned by a group of water-loving families in the Netherlands. Drijf in Lelystad, which translates to “Float in Lelystad,” was designed by the Amsterdam-based firm Attika Architekten. Building took place approximately 25 miles farther of the city, and the built structures, constructed on concrete caissons, were pulled over water to their destination.
Floating Pavilion by DeltaSync and Public Domain Architecten
The Floating Pavilion, located on Rotterdam’s Nieuwe Mass River, is a movable exhibition and conference space designed by DeltaSync and Public Domain Architecten. The construction is made from steel beams and translucent ETFE film and even lights up at night.
Exbury Egg by PAD Studio and Stephen Turner
The Exbury Egg is a house, workplace and a lab that is lastingly moored on the Beaulieu River in Hampshire, England. The cedar and fiberglass composition was the brainchild of PAD Studio and Stephen Turner. It works as a data collection site for the artist who lives in it.
Archipelago Cinema by Ole Scheeren
Designed by Ole Scheeren, the Archipelago Cinema is an open-air cinema surrounded by the crystal-clear water and striking rock formations of Thailand’s Kudu Island. The architect designed the structure in collaboration with the annual Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Festival, which is curated by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul and British actress Tilda Swinton. Scheeren shaped the structure after the area’s floating lobster farms, using a set of modular platforms to form the main seating section.
Floating Island by H Architecture and Haeahn Architecture
Established in Seoul, South Korea, Floating Island was conceived as part of the Han River Renaissance—a municipal campaign to revitalize an often overlooked area of the city. The complex consists of three structures, symbolizing the three stages of a blooming flower: seed, bud, and blossom.
Waterwoningen by Marlies Rohmer Architects and Planners
The Waterwoningen headquarters complex is composed of 75 individual houses. Designed by Marlies Rohmer Architects and Planners, the Amsterdam community can be approached by land or by a canal. Below the water, every home has a concrete base, providing a lower center of gravity for increased stability. By reeling the houses along the docks, the firm was capable of keeping the water a central focal point and present appealing views from every habitation.