carl turner architects floats buoyant residential proposal for paperhouses
all images courtesy of carl turner architects / paperhouses




london-based practice carl turner architects is the latest high-profile name to contribute a design for open source platform paperhouses. founded by architect joana pacheco, the scheme makes contemporary residential architecture freely and readily available, while simultaneously stimulating debate between designers and clients.


carl turner’s proposal, which is part house and part boat, seeks to build on the condensed eco-system that a boat at sea naturally creates. consequently, space and resources are treated as scarce commodities. ‘we are developing the idea of a compact floating house in response to both the underuse of urban waterways, and as a response to the increasing problems of flooding in the UK and globally’, explain the architects.

carl turner architects floating house paperhouses designboom
the design seeks to build on the condensed eco-system that a boat at sea naturally creates




the dwelling is formed of a series of components that can be transported to site by lorry or barge, then lifted into position. the house itself, an insulated rubber coated timber box, sits on floating tray measuring 20 by 7 meters. two side panels then create an outer skin for the structure, as well as a winter garden at the rear of the design. these blinkers will also support photovoltaic panels capable of generating both electricity and hot water.

carl turner architects floating house paperhouses designboom
minimal furnishings within the three-level design




we see the house as a jaunty, boat-like home with long narrow spaces opening onto stepped decks, continue the team. ‘the house will have its own garden areas built into the base and located on the roof, so your garden always goes with you. if the houses are arranged in groups, floating gardens can be scattered between them and a series of pontoons and walkways can connect them.’


its simple construction ensures that the house could also be built on dry land, without its base. materials, colors and sizes could also be altered if the houses were deployed en-masse to create a similar but variable aesthetic.

carl turner architects floating house paperhouses designboom
different materials, colors and sizes can be varied to create a contrasting visual aesthetic




other architecture practices participating in paperhouses include: christ christ associated architects, christian pottgiesser (architecturespossibles), dekleva gregoric arhitekti, dellekamp arquitectos, EMBT (enric miralles + benedetta tagliabue), florian busch architects, jun igarashi, panorama arquitectos, SPBR (angelo bucci), spora architects and tatiana bilbao S.C.


see here for designboom’s previous coverage of the ambitious initiative.