According to the Economist's industry predictions for 2009, aquatecture (the design of floating structures atop platforms) will be the trend to watch in building and construction this year. The magazine cites the Netherlands as a particularly "water-saavy" nation, but we found an interesting example of aquatecture a little closer to home. The Floating House, designed by MOS Architecture, rides the waves of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada...
The lake's water levels rise and fall from year to year, requiring a design that floats on top of a steel pontoon raft that automatically adjusts to changing water levels. The house and platform were constructed from prefab parts, assembled on land, then towed to the site and anchored in the water.
The advantages of a floating house include the ability to harness natural heating and cooling from the lake site due to water's vast capacity for absorbing energy. Aquatecture in general also has the potential to be less expensive (no high land payments), more portable, and presents a possible solution to rising sea levels caused by global warming. Drawbacks of aquatecture include practical problems such as sway induced by high waves, the fact that water homes don't have yards or gardens, and unanswered questions about the possibility of damaging environmental side affects.
More information about the Lake Huron Floating House and Aquatecture in general:
• MOS Architects
• Floating House / MOS on Arch Daily
• Beautiful Lake Huron Floating House by MOS on Inhabitat
• The World in 2009 from the Economist