Life Afloat: 8 Ingenious Offshore Structures
It’s safe to say humans do their share of attempting the impossible, right? I mean, we’ve landed on the Moon, built underground cities, and for some time now, we’ve been fascinated with building stuff on the water. Let’s take a look at some of these masterpieces, shall we?
You might think people developed the technology to build things on the water only recently. But travel all the way to the Bay of Kotor in the country of Montenegro, and you’ll see that it’s far from true. This beautiful human-made island is said to have begun with fishers throwing rocks in the middle of the lake, always in the same spot. This gave constructors enough leverage when they finally decided to raise a building in the middle of the bay.
Also known as “Lady of the Rocks,” this stone structure is one of Montenegro’s prized jewels. Tourists visit this place all year round, and getting there is only half the fun. Visitors need to hop on a fast ferry, where they’ll enjoy the wondrous view of the bay and mainland Montenegro. Do stop by if you’re ever in the region.
Now, if we look for monuments built on the water, then it won’t probably get much prettier than the Jal Mahal building in Jaipur, India. The structure translates as “Water Palace.” Its magnificent terracotta sandstone façade is reflected in Man Sagar Lake, in which the palace was built. The construction is five stories high. It was originally built in 1699 by an Indian maharaja, aka, an Indian prince.
It was quite an ambitious project considering the time when it was created! The palace is said to have a beautiful terrace. Once upon a time, it had arched passages on it. The building has four domes in each of its corners, the architectural symbol of the period when it was built. Unfortunately, the palace isn’t open to visitors today, but you can still enjoy the view of the monument from the shore of the lake.
And speaking of ambitions, this solution is quite surreal if you ask me. The so-called Freedom Cove, located in British Columbia, Canada, is a human-made island that will stun you. A couple once decided to move closer to nature. They gathered all their belongings and started building an island. Today, you’ll find the couple’s home, a huge garden where they grow their own food, a dance floor, and even an art gallery there.
All this was mainly made out of reclaimed material, including the floaters on which they built the entire island. Those were donated by local fishers. According to Wayne, who built the island himself, these floaters are better than using wood. Wood tends to rot when in contact with water and often needs replacing. If you are curious and want to visit, you can always swing by the couple’s art gallery and take a look at some of their art. It will surely make for a nice afternoon.
You might have heard of Amsterdam’s perks. I mean yummy fries and stroopwafels, of course. But also living in floating homes. When it comes to mastering this technology, there are few better than the Dutch. The Netherlands is located below sea level. So people had to adapt to these circumstances by using water in their favor.
A new project known as Schoonschip is a neighborhood of 30 floating houses. Instead of being connected by streets and alleyways, they are linked by streams and harbored in different areas of the canal. The houses were built on land and brought there by boat. According to the architects involved in the project, the weight of the houses is the most important thing to consider. If they’re too heavy, they’ll sink a little, and water will invade the building.
But once you’ve got everything right, the result is amazing! The bright side of living on the water, according to one of the homeowners, is being in sync with nature. You might not think of it at first, but living on top of the water brings a lot of natural light into a home — since the water reflects light into the living spaces. Hmm, I’d like to be invited for tea at one of those homes, please!
Building on the water can get really luxurious. Some of such projects spare no expense. It was the case with Burj Al Arab, one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. It’s located in Dubai. The hotel stands on an artificial island off the coast of Jumeirah Beach. You can get there by an impressive bridge over 900 ft long. The fact that the hotel is built on the water makes its pictures all the more beautiful.
But the architects thought of something even more ingenious when they were building this masterpiece. If you look attentively, the shape of the building imitates the sail of a ship. The construction of this unique hotel took over 5 years, and it was led by a multi-disciplinary international team. In case you’re wondering, this 56-story building cost over $2 billion to make. To spend your vacation there, you’ll pay around $2,000 a night.
Some say building on the water is a way of life. For instance, for Marc Even, a Portland native that owns a floating home construction company, this has been a reality since 1988. To him, building on the water is not only sustainable but also practical — depending on your lifestyle. Marc himself was born a surfer, and having water as your own backyard is almost too good to be true.
Marc’s company, Even Constructions, gets calls from all over the US. People want to have their custom-made floating abodes. But the logistics don’t work this way, Marc says. So only lucky Portland dwellers get to order homes from him. It makes sense when you think of the complexity of moving a two-story floating house across the country. Doing it by water is too risky, and by air — too expensive. But take a look at these beauts!
Now, if for some people this way of living is a lifestyle, for others, it might be a necessity. This is the case with the Danish enterprise known as Urban Rigger. Constantly rising prices of student housing made it almost impossible for students to live near the city center.
The solution was rather unexpected. Why not expand the city, then? Into the water! The enterprise consists of a new micro floating district — with fresh air, sea views, and modern comforts. The project had to be sustainable and still affordable; that’s why the neighborhood is filled with young people and vibrant life.
The project was designed in 2018 by world-renowned architects. To make it cheaper, they used containers to build houses. Urban Riggers is made up of 9 container units set together in a circle. There’s a centralized courtyard for social events. All standing on a floating platform. The structure is buoyant and based on the same principles as a boat. Its creators say it’s easy enough to replicate it in other parts of the city and even in other cities of the world.
Now, one of the perks of living on the water is the possibility to also live under it. Let me present the floating seahorse. You’ve probably heard of houseboats. But add some luxury to it, and you’ll get a water-bound house as amazing as this one! This seaborne abode is part of a fleet of 130 similar homes constructed off the coast of Dubai.
The best part? The bedroom is on the lowest floor, which means you sleep beneath the waves! And yes, these houses come equipped with huge windows overlooking coral reefs. This isn’t your normal backyard view, I’d say. And that’s not the only incredible feature of the place.
The upper level boasts its own mini-bar and hot tub. But if you are interested in acquiring one of these homes, you’ll have to wait till 2025. But it sure will be worth the wait. Can you imagine throwing a party onboard one of these things?