Open Houseboat: New Sea-Shell-Shaped Lake & River Home


Like the shelled home of some ancient and giant sea creature, the organic curves and fractal-like semi-spirals that wrap this fascinating structure are not just for looks. In fact, these unique and creative structural choices form a rigid three-dimensional framing foundation to protect this floating home from wind, waves and extreme weather on quiet shores and high seas alike.

Moreover, instead of interior walls and columns, the curved and perforated structural elements allow for an open interior layout. The resulting free-flowing floor plan is thus only partly separated but largely continuous. With only semi-obstructed lines of site, a visitor has views through the house from the kitchen in the front, through the central living room and sun room spaces and into the bedroom, bathroom and closet areas in back.

A combination of rounded and flat window panels allow residents to likewise look out on all sides as well as up toward the sky and down to the water below. The ellipsoidal trusses have curved cuts in them as well that reinforce the open planning concept without compromising structural integrity. In short: though the shell-like effect seems designed to reinforce a nautical aesthetic it is also critical to the core design concepts of this floating building by architect and designer Joanna Borek Clement.

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