Beijing architects turn houseboat into solar-powered floating home

Crossboundaries/Johanna Link/Cover Images

Beijing architecture studio Crossboundaries have turned a client's houseboat into a tiny floating solar-powered house named Fàng Sōng.

The 60-square-metre home is moored in Berlin and features a series of interlinked, adaptable spaces.

The owner Marianne Friese purchased the boat in 2020, with the aim of turning it into a personal sanctuary. When not living in the boat in Berlin, she uses it to travel across lakes and rivers around Europe, often relying only on solar panels to power the trips.

From March to November and on sunny days in winter, the houseboat is fully self-reliant on its solar panels covering the entire roof as well as one additional panel on each side.

This allows it to travel approximately 50 km per day at an average speed of 7 km/h on sunny days. It is also equipped with large battery storage in order to deliver the energy for the engines as well as the home appliances and technical needs of the boat.

As March to November are usually the months with sufficient power generation, the power supply is complemented with electric landlines during the winter months. A pellet stove was installed to satisfy the heating demand.

In the future, Marianne plans further ecological improvements such as a water purification system that reduces the reliance on fresh water supply from land as it filters the water the boat is floating on into drinking water quality.

A biological sewage treatment unit is also to be added to upgrade the ecological standard of the boat, and will convert used water into drinking water, which will make the boat even more self-reliant, especially when taking off on long journeys.

The designers and owner hope the architectural concept will show people how this ecologically sound "tiny home on the water" can help them "free themselves from too many possessions and embrace denser-but-quality spaces and thus achieve more flexible ways of life".