Living close to nature in a 17th-century park

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:50

Around the world, homeowners with radiant heaters installed in their floors are warming the water beneath them to heat their home, but one family in the Netherlands is putting a whole lot more water under their feet. The houseboat designed by BYTR Architects, dubbed the ParkArk, may use a corner fireplace instead of radiant heat, but the impact it has on the environment around it is a joy for the family that commissioned it.

The owners previously lived in a steel houseboat, but wanted something more spacious and modern that still gave them the privacy they desired, according to Dezeen. Inspiration for the ParkArk was the setting where the family wanted it moored - a 17th-century park in Utrecht. Many of the features for the houseboat revolve around experiencing the beauty of the nature around it firsthand without being interrupted by the bustle of people using the park.

Surrounded by nature on the water

The ParkArk is made with timber and copper panels for a subtle and natural look. The copper lines the bottom exterior of the boat to play off of the reflections of the water for an effect that makes the boat look like it blends in with the water's surface, reported Inhabitat.

Right in the center of the boat's ceiling is a large skylight that's unnoticeable to bystanders in the park, but to anyone inside the houseboat, it provides a remarkable view of the towering treetops all around. A staircase outside of the house, but still facing the water away from the public's eye, leads up to the roof and a small deck. From there, residents will notice the garden surrounding the skylight on the roof with sedum and grass, stated Dezeen.

This deck area provides an amazing view of not just the water, but the park as well thanks to the ParkArk's positioning. The family can enjoy this historic green space almost as if it was meant specifically for them.

Maintaining a balance with nature

BYTR Architects designed the houseboat first using 3-D-modeling techniques to ensure the proportions of weight for the structure were balanced correctly, according to Inhabitat. The garden above the boat helps in absorbing the rainwater that would normally collect on it, but a series of drainpipes were incorporated into the corners of the boat to alleviate the weight from water so it doesn't tip the boat during a storm.

Not only does the garden provide a nice aesthetic touch with water collection attributes, it replaces the destruction of land the house would have caused if it would have been built on solid earth, that is. Since the houseboat sits on the water, it actually has a positive footprint compared to traditional buildings, doing more good than harm. The natural light let in from the skylight also means not much electricity is needed to illuminate the interior, further reducing the property's energy consumption.

The ParkArk manages to find a harmony with the old park around it as it blends in with its natural surroundings. The family living in it gets to enjoy a do-it-yourself mindset given to them by the rustic appeal of living on water without having to sacrifice the style found in modern homes, reported Dezeen.