All Aboard! 15 Modern Houseboats, Boatels & More Floating Architecture

Often designed with potential climate-change-induced flooding in mind, these houseboats, floating hotels and other water-based structures prove you don’t need land to live a life of luxury. The projects include a boat acting as a camera obscura, a structure that turns seasonal flooding into an opportunity for fun, an apartment complex on the waters of Amsterdam and an update on Dubai’s seemingly fantastical Seahorse Villa vacation homes.

Guntû Floating Hotel in the Seto Island Sea

With its gabled roof and wooden construction, Guntû by architect Yasushi Horibe could easily be built somewhere on land almost exactly as it is. The luxury floating hotel features gorgeous passenger suites looking out onto the water along with a range of high-end amenities. You won’t find any of the typical ugly plastic cruise ship surfaces here; everything is lined with timber for the feeling of home.

Atelier LAVIT’s Floating Hotel in France

Ten timber structures float on the surface of a lake in southeastern France, near the city of Avignon. The Narcissus project by Atelier LAVIT is an eco-hotel with a structure that aims to “evoke primitive buildings on the shore of the lake; floating on the water like rafts or on pilotis like palafittes [stilt houses].”

2BOATS: Floating Photographic Platforms Travel Europe

One is a charming wooden shack, made of scraps, looking like something a fisherman would build. The other, the Obscurabus, is almost invisible in the water. Together they form ‘2BOATS,’ floating photo studios meandering their way through Europe’s rivers and canals to see the continent from a unique perspective. The wooden one, by Claudius Schulze, hosts workshops and discussions, while Maciej Markowicz’s creation is an oversized camera obscura.

3 Nautilus Hausbootes

A company called Nautilus makes a series of ‘hausbootes’ in various sizes, including the Nautino Mini, the Nautino Maxi, the Nautino Adventure, the Vagabund, the EI-Home and the Nautilus. Pictured here are the latter three. Each one boasts an eye-catching design and multiple terraces; check out the screened roof hatch on top of the Nautilus, which can host up to 8 adults and 2 children. The Vagabund is more compact, suited for smaller families or for use as a floating office, while the EI-Home is a more robust residence.