Aquatic architecture can be pretty splashy. It’s big, it’s noisy, and it’s there to get attention. That’s not very surprising considering just how much humans love looking at water. It’s only natural that we would use this much-loved liquid as the centerpiece for spectacles like the Bellagio Fountains, Rio’s waterfall skyscraper, or Fallingwater.
Of course, that’s just one side of a two-sided coin. The other side is less about making waves and more about harmonious equilibrium. Of course, I’m talking about environmentalism. Aquatic architecture is inherently tied to the green movement. It’s not that environmentalists love working with water or anything, it’s just that water is part of the environment and you have to work with it rather than against it if you want to build an eco-friendly home.
This tiny houseboat in Olympia, Washington is the perfect example of green living – both figuratively and literally. Called “Sweet Pea,” this structure stands as a shining (and very tiny) example for the green movement, from its hull-shaped basement to its space-efficient layout.
This cozy living space is designed to hold one or two people. It may not be the mansion you’ve always dreamed of, but its tiny footprint is attracting a new breed of consumer – the type that cares more about being responsible than being pampered. At the very least you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck because this house makes the most out of each and every square foot.
One entire wall of house features glass walls and glass doors in order to pull in as much natural light as possible. On the other side of the house you’ve got one of the most beautiful backyards on Earth: any coastal region that you want. This probably isn’t big or flashy enough to make your neighbors jealous, but with the Sweet Pea you can always haul anchor and look for new neighbors.
The house received a three-out-of-five rating from Built Green, an organization that judges eco-friendly buildings. So, despite its tiny quarters and its Energy Star appliances, the Sweet Pea still has a long way to go.
The most striking feature of the Sweet Pea, I think, is that it stands as a symbol of things to come. More and more environmentally-friendly houses are popping up all over the world. It’s hard to guess where the future of aquatic architecture lies, but I personally see these as our baby steps (or should I say “our first swimming lessons?”) into aquatic living. The crawl will transform into a walk and then a run – but whether we are running towards more responsible and sustainable living or running away from climate change and rising water levels is still anybody’s guess.