Approximately 60 m2 with comfortable furnishings, a living room with a panoramic window overlooking the harbour, and a wooden terrace-deck under the open sky. Many inhabitants of Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France, and Germany opt for a life on water. How do houses on water look like in Bydgoszcz, Wrocław, or Mielno?
There are many advantages of houses on water. First of all, they are a very interesting alternative to living in a block of flats. Furthermore, not only do they save you the trouble of buying a plot of land, but also mooring fees are very low. They guarantee independence and mobility, as well as closeness to nature with green promenades, river birds and the river itself. Finally, they allow you to ecologically mange energy.
A house befitting our times
As a matter of fact, houses on water are nothing new – floating fisherman houses on the Mekong river are just one of many examples. However, connecting traditional construction with modern, urban-architectural concept may be a solution for today’s problems of the West. According to professor Alex De Rijke (whose architectural studio DRMM won the “Royal Docks” competition by presenting England’s first “floating village”
located in London Docklands), houses on water are a solution for overcrowded cities. Wide and hospitable banks of the calmed urban rivers may offer what the crowded and expensive streets already cannot. River houses are built quickly and are economically affordable (especially when compared with prices for a square meter in the city centre of London, Berlin or even Warszawa).
IJburg, built on six artificial Islands on the IJ lake, is a residential complex in the eastern part of Amsterdam, designed by Marlies Rohmer. It was created as a solution to the problem of overpopulation of the capital city of the Netherlands (30% of houses are planned to be social houses for the less wealthy residents).IJburg is still under construction. However, it is planned that, when completed, it will consist of 10 islands and 18,000 houses on water for 45000 residents.
In turn, the harbour located in the heart of Copenhagen, has turned out to be a perfect place for… Dutch students. The “Urban Rigger” project, created by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), involves transformation of containers previously used in transport into floating dormitories. Interestingly, the prototype of reinforced concrete pontoon for the containers was manufactured in Szczecin Industrial Park by Erbud, a Polish construction company.
Bydgoszcz, Wrocław, Warszawa
There have been many investment plans for houses on water in Poland. The first house of this kind (useable through the entire year) was built in Wrocław. Its designer and owner – Kamil Zaręba – needed 6 years to complete it. Finally, the house was finished in 2012 and paved the way for future projects. Another house built on the Oder was designed by Alejandro Capdevila and Wojciech Bartosiewicz, owners of Isola System – the first Polish company specializing in building houses of this kind. Their prototype, consisting of adjustable modules tailored to one’s own needs, was created within 4 months.
Other modern houses on the water are being built in Warsaw, where Czerniakowski Port is being modernized, or in Bydgoszcz, where futuristic looking round cubist block of 80m2 was designed by DFD.studio. In Mielno, located near Jamno lake, you can rent “Houseboats” that belong to Polish brand Livaqua – since they are equipped with engines, nothing stops you from using their mobility to its fullest, unmooring and sailing to the nearest lake. Despite the fact that only recently have Polish people begun to explore the potential of urban boulevards, rivers, canals, and lakes, today we have a multitude of projects worthy of boasting about on the international scene.