Airbnb float a fully functioning house down the River Thames

Interesting Engineering


[Image Source: Airbnb]

Airbnb are taking the term floating house to the extreme as they have created a house that floats up and down the River Thames in London and they are taking in guests. The house boat is called the Floating House at Number 1 and a stay for the night was offered by Airbnb in a promotional contest.


[Image Source: Airbnb]

The Floating House offers a living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom and even comes with its own garden, wisteria growing up the wall and a kennel for the dog. The floating house is the design of two brothers, Nick and Steve Tidball from TBWA advertising agency. The agency was asked to come up with an idea for a creation that allowed guests of London to see the city in a totally different way. The house was the result and it offers views of London out from the Thames. Along with this the house was designed along the lines of the townhouses in the city.


[Image Source: Airbnb]

Influence was taken from the houses standing on Primrose Hill along with Hampstead, with some influences being taken from the film Up. The house looks as though it has two floors from the outside, it really only has one floor.

The Floating House was designed from six steel shipping containers which were clad with wood and built onto a bas that floats. The uni-float pontoon was chosen as the base instead of steel that is used in the construction of a conventional barge. This made it easier when it came to accommodating the building and its garden.

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[Image Source: Airbnb]

The wall and garden of the house sit below the waterline and this helps it to mask the base that the house floats on. The floor is 1.5 metres higher than the floor would be in the typical house on land, allowing for the base to be contained and hidden in the structure.


[Image Source: Airbnb]

The designers had to apply some clever touches so that all the facilities needed for guests could be fitted. Water tanks for instance are needed so that guests can shower. Outlet pipes were routed and hidden by the dog kennel and the roof holds the generator which provides the power.


[Image Source: Airbnb]

The Floating House was made off-site and then assembled on the River Thames via floating cranes and a pontoon. Due to the Port of London Authority requirements the house isn't self-propelled. It has a mechanism hidden away and it is towed by a tug boat. To make it look as though it is floating on its own down the river it is kept at a distance of 30 meters.

Airbnb said that this is the first time such a structure has been allowed to float down the River Thames.

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