How One Lady Pulled Anchor and Set Sail in a Solar-Powered Tiny Residence – Dwell


To the say the least, the pandemic shook up our notions of home, and a few took the chance to drift some new concepts. After being approached by a consumer in Berlin to refurbish a houseboat right into a tiny home, Beijing-based structure studio Crossboundaries got down to discover the restrictions of life on the go.

“Envisioning people living in a nomadic fashion is no longer an abstract image—it is achievable,” says Binke Lenhardt, one of many agency’s cofounders. “Simultaneously, we are debating our notions of public versus private and temporary versus permanent.”

After shopping for a ship, Marianne, who break up her time between Beijing and Berlin, needed to create a floating home that bridged Eastern and Western ideas of design. So she approached long-time buddy Binke Lenhardt, an architect and cofounder of design agency Crossboundaries. In maintaining with this method, the boat is called Fàng Sōng—which suggests “Relax!”—representing a hyperlink to Marianne’s life and experiences in China.

The agency’s consumer, Marianne, is German born, however has led a comparatively unmoored way of life, notably over the previous decade whereas residing and dealing between Beijing and Berlin. More just lately she spent a brief interval residing aboard a ship earlier than becoming a member of a rowing membership within the latter metropolis. These experiences gave her a powerful want to spend extra time close to and on the water, culminating with the acquisition of the houseboat in 2020.

The boat is moored in Stößensee on the western outskirts of Berlin, some distance from Marianne’s permanent home in the eastern part of the city. It enables her to explore nature at a slow pace. While it’s unable to take on oceans, the houseboat is able to travel through inland waterways, lakes, and rivers, where weather conditions are less extreme.

The boat is moored in Stößensee on the western outskirts of Berlin, a long way from Marianne’s everlasting home within the jap a part of town. It permits her to discover nature at a sluggish tempo. While it’s unable to tackle oceans, the houseboat is ready to journey by inland waterways, lakes, and rivers, the place climate situations are much less excessive.

Crossboundaries treated the project as an opportunity to explore historic examples of mobile residences. In particular, they were fascinated by the more experimental work of avant-garde architectural group Archigram, which was known for creating concepts of lightweight, movable structures and modular technology.

Crossboundaries handled the undertaking as a possibility to discover historic examples of cellular residences. In specific, they have been fascinated by the extra experimental work of avant-garde architectural group Archigram, which was identified for creating ideas of light-weight, movable constructions and modular know-how.

“Material quality and durability were key from the very beginning,” says architect Binke Lenhardt. “So, we found ourselves looking into a material library that was rather unconventional, almost in an engineering way.” The rubber flooring is from Noraplan and the adaptable furnishings components are made out of two sorts of plywood—light-weight poplar plywood and a stronger multiplex birch, each coated with high-pressure laminate.

Her concept was to create a self-sufficient refuge that allowed her to handle each quick and lengthy journeys by Germany and Europe, thereby difficult the notion of home as a hard and fast location. Following that request, Crossboundaries took measure of the boat’s weight, structural integrity, and format earlier than performing an intensive renovation.

A control panel in front of a large window houses all the technical equipment needed to operate the boat.

A management panel in entrance of a giant window homes all of the technical gear wanted to function the boat.

Unlike a traditional home—or most properties—the Fàng Sōng houseboat, because it’s now identified, has entrances on all sides, which supplies flexibility when docking. The bow of the boat steps all the way down to a kitchen space—geared up with sink, oven, and fridge—that leads right into a cockpit with an expansive window and management panel.

Here, a intelligent “flip-over” mattress doubles the performance of the house, and likewise conceals the technical look of the cockpit to create a extra home environment. Nearby, a eating desk may also be connected in varied configurations as wanted, and is hid behind a sliding wall panel when not in use.

The management panel could be nearly solely hid by a mattress that may flip all the way down to float above the technical devices. “Marianne is extremely happy with this transformable approach, achieving a calmer sense of home by hiding the more technical elements of the boat,” says Lenhardt.

Color played an important role in the design, with red laminated plywood furniture and a vibrant yellow floor that conceals ample storage.

Color performed an essential position within the design, with purple laminated plywood furnishings and a vibrant yellow ground that conceals ample storage.

Much of the inside—together with the fold-away work desk—is characterised by the daring purple and yellow shade palette. “Marianne is not at all afraid of bold colors and suggested we try red,” explains Lenhardt.

“Since the boat only has 645 square feet of space, we needed to find storage solutions within furniture so as not to block any windows around the outer walls,” explains Lenhardt. The residing space options further adaptable furnishings, together with a beneficiant mattress that transforms into a settee, a fold-away desk hid throughout the wardrobe, and a sliding shelf that may accommodate footwear and different small objects.

The sofa in the living room features bright yellow Kvadrat upholstery and patterned cushions made from textiles collected by Marianne. It is part of a unit that functions to divide the space,  conceal the fold-away bed, and provide extra storage.

The couch in the lounge options vivid yellow Kvadrat upholstery and patterned cushions made out of textiles collected by Marianne. It is a part of a unit that capabilities to divide the house,  conceal the fold-away mattress, and supply further storage.

One particularly challenging part of the design was finding storage solutions for the beds and mattresses when not in use, as Marianne opposed the idea of foldable mattresses due to comfort concerns. In addition, everything moveable had to be able to be stored and fixed while the boat was moving, in case of extreme weather.

One notably difficult a part of the design was discovering storage options for the beds and mattresses when not in use, as Marianne opposed the thought of foldable mattresses because of consolation considerations. In addition, the whole lot moveable had to have the ability to be saved and glued whereas the boat was shifting, in case of utmost climate.

The inside of the boat is organized in accordance with “permeability,” with rooms across the perimeter open to a circulation house that embraces exterior views and entry to recent air.

Even the ground conceals substantial storage—together with house for a motorbike. “Many technical details had to be considered since working on a boat is a special challenge by itself,” explains Marianne. 

Throughout, Eastern and Western design conventions come collectively in a celebration of sample and shade. Red and yellow—the Chinese imperial colours—have been chosen to evoke Marianne’s time residing in Beijing, whereas richly contrasting floral and geometric patterned textiles mirror the duality of pure components towards synthetic craftsmanship present in conventional Chinese gardens.

The pellet stove in the living area was a key element of the original brief, and the arrangement of the furniture in this space is a response to its placement. The interior lounge extends directly to an outside deck with a comfortable seating arrangement.

The pellet range within the residing space was a key factor of the unique transient, and the association of the furnishings on this house is a response to its placement. The inside lounge extends on to an outdoor deck with a snug seating association.

Marianne likes to experiment with fabrics and patterns and, over the years, has collected textile samples from around the world. She used these fabrics in many of the furniture pieces—including the lounge on the outdoor deck—combining unusual colors and textures to create a unique aesthetic that celebrates her life experiences.

Marianne likes to experiment with materials and patterns and, through the years, has collected textile samples from around the globe. She used these materials in lots of the furnishings items—together with the lounge on the out of doors deck—combining uncommon colours and textures to create a singular aesthetic that celebrates her life experiences.

The vibrant yellow bathroom features sliding floor-to-ceiling windows that open directly to the water. The pattern on the glass echos the upholstery of the sofa and offers privacy for the shower.

The vibrant yellow lavatory options sliding floor-to-ceiling home windows that open on to the water. The sample on the glass echos the upholstery of the couch and provides privateness for the bathe.

At the guts of the design is a give attention to sustainability and a want to supply “near-zero energy building solutions”—one thing that Crossboundaries believes is the responsibility of all architects.

To obtain these ends, the agency included a set of solar panels to power the boat’s engine and home equipment. On sunny days fall by spring, it’s energy self-reliant, and might journey roughly 30 miles per day at round 4 miles per hour. An app-controllable pellet range supplies warmth within the winter, and ultimately, Marianne hopes to put in a water purification system and a organic sewage therapy unit.

The original houseboat was already solar powered, however Crossboundaries added additional features—including additional solar panels—to create a future-proof prototype for living on the water.

The unique houseboat was already solar powered, nevertheless Crossboundaries added further options—together with further solar panels—to create a future-proof prototype for residing on the water.


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