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Rock The Houseboat

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Photos courtesy of Sanitov Studio

You've never seen a houseboat like this. Frederik Weissenborn, founding partner of Sanitov Studio, discusses "Inachus" [named after the Greek river god] the think tank's prototype home for a new way of living on the river. 

DB: What inspired your concept for floating residential communities?

Frederik Weissenborn: Our floating homes were initially inspired by the river Thames in London. As Danish ex-pats, we were excited by living in a city with a real river, but also flabbergasted at how empty and underused this resource was. Our aspiration was to find a way of reintegrating the river into the urban fabric. Reintegrating the Thames could be a solution to some of the deeper problems faced by a city like London, where there is an estimated increase in population of 100,000 people per year— that puts pressure on the housing market.

DB: What kinds of solutions do these communities pose to the problems of urban living?

FW: Our floating homes come with state-of-the-art design solutions that maximize the efficiency of energy consumption and minimize carbon footprint. The concrete hull on our floating home features a glycol heating system that capitalizes on heat differentials between the hull and the river to generate heating for the floating home. We are always looking for ways to push the limits of what is possible in terms of creating solutions for sustainable urban living. 

DB: Tell us about the process of designing and building Inachus.

FW: A lot of people live on the water- ways in London, mostly on refurbished barges. We wanted to reimagine what waterway living could be about and how it could contribute to the urban good life, so we needed to design a floating home that would integrate cutting-edge design and technology to improve sustainability. We have been working closely with shipbuilders down in the historic Chatham docks.

DB: Living on the water is typically associated with a luxury lifestyle. How do floating homes address the issue of affordability in urban living?

FW: The Inachus prototype is a premium product, let there be no doubt about it. That being said, we are very much aware of the issue of affordability and we would certainly like to explore different floating home types to accommodate different markets. I guess the vision is to have all sorts of people living on the urban waterways in all sorts of vessels: couples on barges, small families in smaller units, and bigger families on something like Inachus. Our vision is not monochromatic. 

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