The Netherlands has always been an inspiration for living on water. This time, Utrecht’s Kanaalweg joined in the architectural effort of inspire people to live where they most feel comfortable. In the case of Hieke and Sietze, their home is a floating houseboat designed by BYTR architecten. Named The ParkArk, this steel ship acting as a cozy residence displays a seductive blend of modern solutions and functional design. In order to mix the indoor and the outdoor, architects designed the external staircase leading up to the roof terrace with white stucco on the interior, thus “creating the atmosphere of an outdoor room”. From photographs taken by StijnStijl, we can see the sedum roof cladding blending the floating houseboat into its context – next to a busy cycling route through one of the city’s parks. Hidden drainpipes at every corner make the home stand its ground under rainwater, while the “do it yourself mentality” of the owners helped keep a balance between functionality and aesthetics. With a facade that reveals the home in its dance with the park’s natural vibe, the floating houseboat boasts copper sheets that “kiss” the water, making it reflect their simple geometry.
According to the architects, the clients “wanted to have the full experience of living and floating on the water” but on a private level – “a boat where no one can look in” but they could enjoy a full view of the park. So, the floor-plan was developed: “As a visitor, one first approaches the boat over a footbridge, to find a door that barely gives away anything of the interior. Inside, however, a large skylight offers you a view of the treetops, and directly in front of you the park is visible. Opposite the front door is an access to the roof terrace and the mooring for the fishing punt. On either sides are the living and dining room, accessible from the open hall, which is raised one step to give extra ceiling height in the shower.” The owners’ words should pretty much describe their elation: “Every day we enjoy our new houseboat: the invading sun, overlooking the water and the monumental bridge, the ornamental grasses from the windows. What a nice home, we are so happy with the result!”