When Archie made his recent trip to Hong Kong to see the Lions he was invited for drinks onboard a houseboat belonging to friends, Fiona and Tom, who live their year round with their two kids, bobbing around on the water with the skyscrapers in the background, a shiny reminder of the city’s beating commercial heart.
Archie was completely bowled over by their chic, ergonomic home – which of course has buckets of swashbuckling cred – and by their brilliant solution to life of one of the world’s most densely populated cities where the average home measures only 450 sq feet and outdoor space is more dream than reality.
Houseboat – Hong Kong
Suddenly stepping onboard you escaped all that. What a weird and wonderful way to live, he thought.
Which got us to thinking about other weird and wonderful places people choose to live and the weird and wonderful buildings they choose to live in. So we made a wee list of some of the world’s oddest homes.
They’re all truly amazing, but can you imagine living in any of them? If you had to choose one, which would it be? We’d certainly love to hang out in the rainforest treehouses of Peru, but how do you get your shopping home?
Shipping Container – El Tiemblo, Spain
Homes made of shipping containers have been around for a while but we tend to see them singly, plopped into environments where space it as at a premium. This is a genius bit of upcylcing in a rural setting, conjoured by architects James & Mau Arquitectura from 4 containers in a mulit-level design that successfully mixes indoor and outdoors, and does nothing to disguise the humble origins of the building material.
Floating House – Amazon, Brazil
The floating houses of Brazil and Peru prove that creative solutions to housing problems aren’t simply a modernist pursuit.
You’ll find them all along the Amazon basin, built to rise and fall with the flood, in urban settings and rural. Some even have gardens which also float. If you’re quick you’ll catch Monty Don’s Around the World in 80 Gardens on i-player visiting a wonderful Amazonian floating garden.
Icelandic Turf House – Iceland
And if you thought that living roofs were a trendy new eco-thing then think again, in Iceland they’ve been around for a while, the last 1,000+ years. In a country that suffers extreme temperatures and a shortage of building materials turf offers superior insulation to wood or stone and conserves both. Burstabaer houses like these are made from stone foundations, wood frame and turf walls and roof. Hobbity, furry and cosy.
Treehouses – Finca Bellavista, Peurto Rica
OK, who hasn’t dreamed of living in a treehouse? Where is your heart? Your soul? Were you never a child? Did every single bit of you really grow up – surely there’s a little bit of adventure tucked away under the pressures of being an adult?
This is Finca Bellavista a real life treehouse village in Peurto Rica, instead of streets people travel around the village by zipwire high up in the rain forest canopy, waving to monkeys as you whizz by. You can drop in for a short stay or buy a lot and set up home, full-time or just for happy high life holidays. At first it all seems a little well-heeled hippie but I think I could endure a little eco-indoctrination in exchange for time spent hanging with the sloths and bathing in waterfalls.
Glass House – Casa Arco, Chile
We all know glass is a fragile material – as the old saying goes that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. It may seem odd then that when their home in Concepcion was destroyed by an earthquake in 2010, this is exactly the material a couple of Chilean artists chose for their new home.
Made of powder coated steel, concrete and glass it was designed by architects, Pezo von Ellrichshausen to withstand future quakes. Engineering excellence.
If you know of any more weird and wonderful places to live please share your pics on our Facebook page. And, as ever, please share this post with anyone you think will enjoy it.