Living in a houseboat sounds awesome until you consider what happens during a bad storm. After all, crashing waves, battering winds, and potential floods all have the potential to damage your home and make you queasy all at once. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just jack the vessel up on sturdy stilts so it could safely ride out the storm and bring it back down when the weather was calm again?
Danish architecture firm Waterstudio.NL made this dream a reality with “Arkup,” a new avant-garde floating home. Designed to combine the best qualities of yachts, houseboats, and modern residences, this double-decker creation stands on retractible hydraulic pilings that can raise it 20 feet into the air when needed, making it as stable as any conventional house. It’s also rated to withstand Category 4 hurricane winds of up to 155 miles per hour.
It doesn’t spare any details when it comes to feeling like a real home, either. There’s nothing cramped about it. Measuring an impressive 4,350 square feet, the Arkup is even more spacious than a lot of urban residences, and it has all the bells and whistles you’d expect to find in a high-end townhouse. In fact, everything about it looks more like a house than a boat.
When you’re ready to move, all you have to do is pull up anchor and start the engines: a pair of 100 kW (134 hp) electric azimuth thrusters, to be precise, which allow the 75-foot-long houseboat to reach speeds of 7 knots. Dock at a metropolitan marina for access to city amenities, or take a cruise down to a quieter and more scenic setting. The prototype is currently docked at Vice City Marina in Miami, Florida.
The Arkup is self-sufficient, producing its own power via a 36 kW solar panel array and a 1,000 kWh battery bank. Rainwater is collected from the roof and purified to make it safe for drinking, though it’s unclear how waste is dealt with. A smart communications system includes satellite TV and Wi-Fi antennas to keep it connected at all times, and all technical elements are stored within its modular hull. All the houseboat’s glazing ensures spectacular views of the water wherever you’re docked. A boat lift at the stern makes it easy to dock a jet ski, and the sun deck can be immersed and turned into a sea pool.
The Waterstudio team explains that “you can lie at anchor in a marina or a bay. You can cruise silently in waterways, bays, or open sea. You are free to move your home as you want. Enjoy the freedom and the variety of scenery. Live in comfort and luxury in total independence and make your life between the sea, the sky, and the city. No matter the weather conditions and high winds, surge and floods are no longer an issue thanks to this self-lifting system, making you feel 100-percent safe and protected. The four spuds allow your livable yacht to be completely stabilized and even lifted out of the water, avoiding any sea-sickness.”
“There’s just something about living on the water and coming home to the light shimmering on the surface after a long day in the city. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. Live ecologically while being self-sufficient with water and electricity. Enjoy living off-the-grid and feel the satisfaction of minimizing your carbon footprint.”
The firm adds that it plans to produce more Arkups for sale to private owners, 1/4-shared “fractional” ownership similar to a time share, and as hotels. If you go the fractional ownership route, Arkup maintains management services, taking care of details like insurance, dockage, maintenance, and even concierge services. They suggest generating revenue by chartering the vessel when you’re not using it, renting it out for four days per quarter at $2,500 per day to offset the expense of recurring operating costs.
As you might suspect, all of this still comes at a significant cost. The total cost to own an Arkup is $5.5 million USD, and fractional ownership sells for $1,375,000. But the company intends to make an “affordable version” too, whatever that means.