General

This sustainable floating home is built using cork and timber

This sustainable floating home is built using cork and timber

Based in Rotterdam, architecture firm Studio RAP designed a sustainable floating home, quite appropriately named ‘The Float’. Built primarily from cork and timber, the interiors feature a soft and zen atmosphere owing to the use of exposed wood, while the solid cork exteriors allow the home to effortlessly merge with its surroundings.

Designer: Studio RAP

‘Our client asked us to design an innovative and sustainable floating home along the picturesque canals in the historical city of Leiden (NL). Our design for the main mass is based on the idea that the house could be a series of atmospheres representing functions of living that at the same time avoid a single floating container appearance,’ said Studio RAP.

The home basically consists of a series of small modules with extra panels placed in between them and then folded to build 3D corrugated walls. The mesmerizing floating home is inspired by the art of Origami, and folded structures. The entire structure has been built using Cross-Laminated-Timber (CLT) – a bio-based timber that was utilized as an interior finish. The walls and roof of the home were so intricately folded, that it lead to a reduction of almost 4,400 pounds of timber.


The interiors of the home are marked by timber, but the exterior is clad only in cork. A low-density cork insulation layer is connected to a high-density cork outer layer with the help of a cork mortar layer. This unique combination allows the walls to breathe and ensures that the interiors are comfy and well-regulated. The cork used is purely plant-based, imparting the home with an impressively low carbon footprint.


Studio RAP greatly employed digital techniques for designing and constructing The Float. All structural calculations were done digitally as well, creating a cohesive digital workflow, which eliminates any problems that could arise in the later stages. Hence they could experiment with, and test various designs plans, and scenarios, and verify their feasibility.