I’m anxiously awaiting the day when technology and our worldwide green infrastructure advances enough to the point that we can all go shopping for our next floating home. Of course, that’s more of a theoretical excitement that I’m feeling rather than any genuine giddiness, as the world could make the transition to aquatic living tomorrow and I still wouldn’t be able to make the down payment on a floating house. Hopefully, the future will include floating apartments for folks like me.
The closest thing I’ve ever seen to a family-sized floating housing unit is the Trilobis 65 design, created by Giancarlo Zema. Basically, Trilobis is an enormous transparent dome big enough to host a family of six, but wrapped in a boat-like oval so that it’s more than just a giant floating hamster wheel.
To maximize space efficiency, there are 4 levels within this 20-meter-long boat, giving each inhabitant comfortable (albeit cozy) living conditions. A spiral staircase links all of the floors together through the center.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the floating domicile is the basement level, which consists of a tranquil, underwater viewing area. While I do adore the idea of an underwater living space, I think that the way Zema designed that particular floor is atrocious. With back-to-back chairs facing the outside ocean, having a conversation with your fellow nautical roommates would be awkward. In my personal opinion, I think it would have been much smarter to place the chairs along the rim and face the center of the vessel so that inhabitants could chat with each other while enjoying the aquatic background.
When the Trilobis inhabitants become inevitably starved for human contact, they can dock in these barges that perfectly lock into the U-shape on the back of the boathouse. These barges would act as a kind of community center for Trilobis fleets. It was clever of Zema to address this subtle but pressing issue facing aquatic living. It is essentially impossible to find meaningful human contact and entertainment beyond what you’ve brought with you on your boat, so if you don’t like your mates then you’re in for a rough trip.
When designing aquatic living spaces like the Trilobis 65, it is essential to incorporate elements that facilitate and encourage community interaction with other seafarers. For all of our efforts to go green and utilize this aquatic real estate, this hypothetical exodus to the ocean will fail if it does not account for our basic human drives and needs. As it stands, the Trilobis 65 can be nothing more than an elaborate vacation home. Until we get to the point that aquatic communities can thrive just as easily as terrestrial communities, I’m afraid that we’re going to be stuck with dirt and grass for the rest of our species’ existence.