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On the surface, it is just another modest minimalist houseboat with a sleek modern profile, floor-to-ceiling windows and a simple box-like form. But that is only half of its story (or rather, the top of two stories). While the living, dining and kitchen areas hover above the waterline, the bedroom, bathroom and other more private spaces are submerged below.

The solution is really quite elegant and functional. On the exterior portion of the lot: leave the lawn flat and trimmed on one side to match the open expanse of water on the other. Within the building space: create three levels – the bottom as a retreat, the middle as a welcoming main floor and the top a relatively bare rooftop deck for enjoying the outdoors. An elemental modernist material palette of wood, white and black helps tie it all together.

Designed (unsurprisingly) by a Dutch firm, WaterStudio, this represents another potential direction for architecture in an area of the world long subjected to changing water levels. Instead of forcing inhabitants to enjoy only surface benefits of such an arrangement, they have created a simple method for layering the experience of living on the water … while taking advantage of the natural privacy that exists in the murky depths below.